Captivating and unexpected, Railhead is SciFi for hard core fans of the genre and for those who wouldn’t touch SciFi with a ten foot pole. It is a five star read that I devoured in a few hours.
The Great Network is an ancient web of routes and gates, where sentient trains can take you anywhere in the galaxy in the blink of an eye. Zen Starling is a nobody. A petty thief from the filthy streets of Thunder City who aimlessly rides the rails of the Network. So when the mysterious stranger Raven offers Zen a chance to escape the squalor of the city and live the rest of his days in luxury, Zen can’t believe his luck. All he has to do is steal one small box from the Emperor’s train with the help of Nova, an android girl. But the Great Network is a hazardous mess of twists and turns, and that little box just might bring everything in this galaxy — and the next — to the end of the line. The highly anticipated novel from Carnegie-medal-winning author Philip Reeve, Railhead is a fast, immersive, and heart-pounding ride perfect for any sci-fi fan. Step aboard — the universe is waiting.
*Warner Bros. has purchased the film rights to this book
Railhead throws readers into a startling and intriguing world from page one, and the wonders don’t stop until the end. The action is fast-paced, the concept is novel and intriguing, and I didn’t want to put it down. The real heart and soul of the book, though, is the cast of characters. From the sentient trains, to the AI and humans who populate this world, this believable mix of man and machine worked. I adored the spaces they navigated as well. It was an eclectic mix of old world grandeur and industrial wasteland, a setting that is easy to picture despite the fact that it is in the outer reaches of the universe. That is part of the magic of this book – you don’t have to be a huge fan of trains or outer space, or even science fiction to really enjoy this book. It is different but it isn’t so alien that it takes too much work. If you like a good story with characters you can cheer for, this is something you can embrace. You might, however, find that you do like trains, outer space, and science fiction by the time you get to the end. I’m definitely adding this to my high school classroom library wishlist. This book is appropriate for readers as young as middle school, but adult readers will enjoy it as well.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.