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maya&jess, Chobham Academy Book Group


Railhead by Philip reeve
In my opinion this book had a simple plot and I felt that it wasn’t the author’s best work as it wasn’t a captivating story, but I found the use of great descriptive writing helped you visualise the setting even if the illustrations didn’t fit the description. The book is about a boy named Zen starling and his adventures in his fantasy universe. Zen is a petty thief who is hired by a mysterious man who wants him to steal the key of their galaxy. He has a sister called myka and a mother who is mentally ill and desperately needs treatment, however due to their situation they can’t give it to her.
The setting is an imaginary universe, where people live with robots and use trains to travel from one part of the galaxy to another, Philip reeve is talented in describing the most enchanting fantasy worlds and like in mortal engines another of his novels, I found the vivid descriptions really immerse the reader into these worlds and bring them to life. The quality of writing is good and he uses the description to hook the reader and keep the story flowing although in this book Philip reeve doesn’t explain how the general geography of Zen’s world effectively so it can be hard to grasp how the character travels in the fantasy world, and a map may have been helpful so that the reader could navigate the k-gates and the stations just like Zen.
The age group that this book was written for is young teen and this is shown by the use of language and the way that the author has portrayed the character as a young person so that the reader can relate better, as he has used adventure which might appeal to younger readers, who have playful imaginations. It also doesn’t have a lot of emotion which relates to younger readers as they won’t want to read something that makes them feel lots and think about the meanings and interpretations as they want something that will capture their imaginations in an innocent and childish way.

In this book I really like the section where nova describes how she was invented by raven which is improvement to their relationship as she is telling him about something really personal to her. Nova was one of Zen’s first friends and this is an important moment for him as he generally describes himself as a bit of a lone wolf as he has had to move around the galaxy so much to support his mother, and therefore hasn’t had time to bond with anyone.
The illustrations at the start of the book on the inside and on the back cover are incorrect as they don’t show how he is described in the book as he is mentioned as short and black, and they exaggerating stereo types of white male protagonists and it doesn’t show the diversity that the fantasy world represents.
Overall I think that this book is well written and like the way that the author uses description to depict an imaginary world in such depth. Although I would have liked to been able to connect with the characters more, if there had been more of an introduction to them.i would reccomend this book as i did enjoy itbut i was slightly dissapointedas it isnt his best work.

Posted on: 26th May 2017 at 12:20 pm

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