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Alex Collins, Gordano School

Railhead

Railhead was a very unique and adventurous book. The story consists of a teenager called Zen who is a thief who lives in a universe, connected by space trains. It starts off with Zen being followed by a mysterious girl after stealing an item. We discover later on that the girl is a motorik (robot) who was sent to bring Zen to a mysterious man named Raven, who wants Zen to steal an important item of the space train belonging to the emperor of the universe.

SPOILERS AHEAD!
I thought that the first third of the story was quite gripping as it was full of mystery and was fairly fast paced, which helped grip me as a reader.

The second third of the story mainly consisted of the character of Zen pretending to be a relative of the emperor in an attempt to board the train and steal the item. I found this part of the story quite dull as the pace of it slowed down and most of the chapters consisted largely of Zen pretending to be someone else and gaining people's trust. This part of the story suddenly takes a really surprising turn.

After being quite dull and undramatic the story takes a very sudden dark turn when the emperor's family begin to suspect Zen is an impostor, and at the same time Zen is under more pressure to steal the item. The only way out was for Nova (the robot girl) to set off an explosion in the train along with the help of the mysterious Raven.
What happens as a result is that there is a massive explosion which occurs within the train and kills a large number of innocent people.

Raven then rescues the slightly shaken up Zen and retrieves the stolen object from Zen and leaves Zen with a head set that gives Zen access to fake IDs and banks. Nova got damaged and was left stranded in space. Zen wanted to risk everything in order to rescue Nova, which was a bit stupid considering his life had been improved drastically from stealing the item for Raven.

The last third of the story consists of Zen rescuing Nova from space and then the two of them escape via a train they found in a deserted station. Shortly afterwards Zen and Nova travel to where Raven is located in an attempt to blackmail and gain more money from Raven. They end up being attacked by Raven's train known as The Thought Fox, which attempts to destroy Raven and Zen's train. This part of the story becomes more dramatic and fast paced again and redraws me as the reader in to the story from the previously dull chapters earlier on.

Zen and Nova's train ends up making it to Raven's world where Raven is there waiting for them. Raven persuades the insect monks (who helped Zen and Nova escape from the previous world) surround and trap Zen. Zen then wakes up with Raven by his side explaining all his actions, which was interesting because his plans consisted of trying to open a new train gate to transport to another unknown universe.

The authorities realise Raven's plan and seek to stop him from opening another gate as they are afraid of the unknown universe. As they were outside on a water planet during the making of the gate, Raven ended up being attacked by a mutant fish and died. Zen and Nova survived the incident and decided to make the new gate and travel through together on their train. That was it!

I think after reading Railhead and getting an idea of what it was like, I think I would recommend it to people of a school year from Year 6 to Year 9. I found it slightly dull in quite a few parts of the novel and I personally thought it lacked a bit of excitement.

None the less though, it was still a good book and I think people younger than myself (15) would enjoy it much more than I did. I quite liked the way the trains had their own personalities as well and I thought that the imagination behind the different worlds was very creatively and well thought out.

Posted on: 19th June 2017 at 10:35 am

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