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Bethan, John Mason School - Abingdon

Railhead

Railhead was a confusing, gripping and frustrating book all at once. There were so many different concepts and terms to understand. The story was like a rollercoaster by taking you along flat ground, when the story was stable, the ascending, which filled you with anticipation, before thrusting you into a thrilling adventure on the descent. However, it was also frustrating because the main character, Zen, was so blind to all the trouble he was setting himself up for.
It started off with a theft; Zen was stealing from a jewellry shop to feed his family. As he reached the train station, he noticed he was being followed by a girl in a red jacket and a drone. When he got home, with the money the hive monk (a colony of big brown beetles clinging to a roughly human-shaped armature which had been made from string and chicken bones) had given him for the necklace he stole, he looked out the window and saw that the girl was still there, looking into his grotty apartment. When Zen hears a knock at the door, he is forced to run away. When he reaches the hive monk, Uncle Bugs, he saw that he had been shot and the bugs had been scattered. He then contacts a boy who paints the trains to help him escape, since the boy knows of an abandoned railway.
As they are making their escape, the drone catches up with them and takes Zen onto a wartrain. Suddenly, it blows up and the girl in the red jacket takes him to another train where Raven is waiting. Raven sets Zen a mission; he wants him to steal the Pyxis, the heirloom of the Noon family.
Zen is placed in the midst of the Noons, a powerful family, and disguised as Tallis. He gets to know and like the family, only to find that Nova, his motorik and the girl in the red jacket, has been told by her master, Raven, to kill the train by infecting it with a virus. This virus ended up killing many of the family. As he and Nova were trying to escape, a Beetle (an old fashioned drone) tabbed Nova and took her out into space.
Raven had his Pyxis, Zen had used his reward money to buy his family a nice place, but he was missing Nova, whom he had developed feelings for. He blackmails Kobi, one of the Noon, to take him to Nova. However, Threnody is convinced that he’s not a Noon and informs the police. When they return after collecting Nova, the police are waiting and Zen has to run for it.
Nova now tells Zen that the Pyxis contains a black sphere that could create a new k-gate (a gateway that takes trains from one planet to another), which could be disastrous because the Guardians (the creators of the railways and life as they know it) had warned that if another gateway is created, the universe would be destroyed.
Zen now has to find Raven and stop him. He is helped by Nova, the Damask Rose, his train, and Malik, who has devoted his life to killing Raven.
I thought the book was O.K because it had a lot of different scenarios and there were secrets being revealed left right and centre. However, it could have been written a little better to keep you gripped because I found it a little boring. It could have given more descriptions and emotive language to really bring you in and leave you with a smile.
Overall, I would give this book a 6 out of 10.

Posted on: 18th April 2017 at 09:30 am

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