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Kirsty, Impington Village College

Railhead

The first thing that hooked me with this book is just quite how different it is to the usual futuristic, technologically advanced worlds that many books I have read are set in, partly because it is not just set in one world, but approximately nine hundred and sixty-four of them.

The main character, Zen, is a thief. One capable enough that someone whom the Guardians (digital supervisors who get involved with humans infrequently) want dead seeks him out in order to get him to steal something for him. The whole idea of this really shows that right and wrong are not always black and white. What is punishable by death to the Guardians seemed like a reasonable decision for Raven.

On the other side, the one considered 'good,' Malik, the man who supposedly killed Raven is convinced that he is still alive - and that he can find him. For all his troubles, he wrecks a locomotive (the only means of transport between worlds, as they are the only vehicles that can get through the teleporting K-gates) and is given six months' leave. At times, I can't really help but pity the guy. He worked hard trying to destroy one man but still doubts he's dead, and no one agrees with him.

Railhead follows some interesting concepts that I haven't really seen anywhere else. For example, many people working in poorer areas dislike the robot workers (Motorik) that are taking their jobs. As a result, some of the characters in the book who are Motoriks disguise themselves as normal people. If we do ever have robots living among us, will some of them have to hide who they are? We all think that introducing robots into society will be a good idea, but no one really considers the fact that some people don't want coworkers that aren't considered human.
Also, love is another factor involving the Motorik, something I'd never really thought of before. Could lifelike robots experience love? Can they be loved?

Zen, as I mentioned before, is a criminal, a thief. This isn't entirely his own choice, having grown up in a poor area with his sister Myka and paranoid and possibly crazy mother. He still has a sense of right and wrong, though, to an extent. At least, I believe so. Yes, he steals things. He causes enough chaos to get a Guardian involved. But in the end, he does what seems to be 'the right thing.' In my mind, the book concludes in a way that makes me wish for a sequel but feel like there may not be one. This is a definite contender for the winner this year.

Posted on: 20th March 2017 at 02:34 pm

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