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Nathan, Sir Harry Smith Community College


I think we all agree that 'Railhead' is strongly science fiction, based in a universe of suprises. Some of the characters and settings are quite unique, and it is a romantic book as well as sci-fi. The story is about how a young, petty theif called Zen Starling has his life changed forever. How he is stuck in a world with no one to turn to, and always on the run, finding out the secrets of the Great Network.

'A thrilling ride in a richly imagined universe.' Written on the front cover, this phrase is 100% true. We feel as if this is our world, as if we undergo the same dangers that Zen did. We experience the love between Zen and Nova (human and motorik). Motorik look very much human, but are one of the many programmed beings in the Great Network, which is a series of different planets connected with rails. One of the main parts of this story is the talking trains. They go from one place in the network to another, using things called K-gates, that take you to the next planet. The trains - or locos - have maintenance spiders, who are also used for fighting off unwanted passengers. We are also introduced to Hive Monks, bugs that form into a human shape and become intelligent. This whole Network is ruled by the 'Guardians', who have many secrets they try to keep from humans, to make them look great and powerful.

All of these new, different science fictional creations make it hard to get into the book, especially when I only found the glossary a few chapters in. I would say that Philip Reeve should write the descriptions in the story, not at the end in a glossary. Nevertheless, this is a storyline that is successfully written, and I think the ending suits the book, making the reader want to read the sequel. Railhead took me straight to Star Wars, partially because of the K-gates, and how I imagined them to make the train go into light speed, but also because of the different places in the Network, the different planets. I would highly recommend this book to people who like sci-fi, and I think it might be a winner.

Posted on: 10th June 2017 at 10:59 am

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