by Philip Reeve


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The Great Network is an ancient web of routes and gates, where sentient trains can take you anywhere in the galaxy in the blink of an eye. Zen Starling is a nobody. A petty thief from the filthy streets of Thunder City who aimlessly rides the rails of the Network. So when the mysterious stranger Raven offers Zen a chance to escape the squalor of the city and live the rest of his days in luxury, Zen can’t believe his luck. All he has to do is steal one small box from the Emperor’s train with the help of Nova, an android girl. But the Great Network is a hazardous mess of twists and turns, and that little box just might bring everything in this galaxy and the next to the end of the line. The highly anticipated novel from Carnegie-medal-winning author Philip Reeve, Railhead is a fast, immersive, and heart-pounding ride perfect for any sci-fi fan. Step aboard— the universe is waiting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630790486
Publisher: Capstone Press
Publication date: 04/01/2016
Series: Railhead
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Philip Reeve wrote his first story when he was just five years old, about a spaceman named Spike and his dog, Spook. Philip has continued writing and dreaming up adventures and is now the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines series, the Fever Crumb series, Here Lies Author (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner), and many other exciting tales. Born and raised in Brighton, England, Philip first worked as a cartoonist and illustrator before pursuing a career as an author. He lives in Dartmoor with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Sam.

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Railhead 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the arc of Railhead by Philip Reeve. I actually give it 3.5 stars and only because science fiction isn't my favorite genre. Railhead tells the story of Zen, a human thief in a futuristic world, where space travel is quick but only if you use the trains. Nova is an endearing, interesting character who is a machine that believes she's human, but knows she's a machine. Nova is my favorite part of the book! The story is told in several points of view- Zen the thief; Malik the marshal and Threnody Noon, the rich girl. This science fiction story is full of suspense and is well written.
Muttcafe More than 1 year ago
I don't normally read YA fiction, as many that I've encountered are melodramatic and hastily written, designed more for profit than for art. That being said, Railhead is an incredible book that not only far exceeded my expectations, but sets itself apart as a science fiction novel that will be long treasured by readers of all ages.  It doesn't surprise me in the least that Warner Brothers has purchased the film rights. In some ways, Railhead reminded me of two classic animes known for their art and imagination-  Galaxy Express 999 and Metropolis.  The first is a coming of age tale of a young boy traveling the Galaxy 3-9 in order to transform himself and take revenge for the death of his mother.  The latter is a science fiction love story that questions what it means to be human and explores the bond of a young man and an android.  Railhead may take its inspiration from these classics, but it is clearly it's own novel. Zen is a thief who loves the thrill of traveling the rails, jumping from world to world in a matter of moments.  He thinks little of politics or authority.  A mysterious man named Raven recruits him by means of his agent, Nova, an android girl who is in many ways more human than her human counterparts.  Raven offers Zen riches in exchange for the theft of a single object - an object that can mean change for the entire universe.   5/5 I received a copy of Railhead from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. --Crittermom
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Capstone Publishing & NetGalley for a copy of this e-book to review. Though I received this ebook for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review. Written with a deft hand, this book quickly pulled me in and made me feel the story instead of simply allowing me to sit back and observe. Zen is an entertaining character, and has no trouble surrounding himself with others that fit the same description. He also has a real knack for finding trouble, but not as much luck in determining who, or what, will be the cause of that trouble until it's already too late for him to alter his course. Some of that is his own doing, while some is done to him by older and more experienced players. Raven is a prime example, for he is most certainly not your average Joe, and it's mighty tough to get a handle on him. Sometimes he seems so honest and sincere, yet others it seems that every other line that comes out of his mouth is a lie. How's a young man to determine the truth of an older, and far more experienced, grifter than him? Even after finally hearing his own story it's tough to know just how much is true and how much is fabricated to gain him what he needs at that moment. That's a real skill, and that Reeve left us in the dark as well made it that much more potent and enjoyable. Then there's Nova. Zen isn't quite sure what to make of her. She's loyal to Raven for one thing. And of course she's nothing like the other girls Zen knows. Nova is still figuring out who she wants to be, even though she's got some pretty strong ideas about who she already is. And at her core Nova truly is nothing like the other girls Zen knows; she's very much her own being. The other characters are well crafted, and they grow and change as the story progresses. But the ones that really caught me were the trains. As interesting as the other people were, the trains appealed to me on so many levels. They all had their own stories, and those stories were ongoing and almost always unseen by all the blind riders. But some of the real 'railheads' like Zen heard their stories and fell just that much deeper in love with them. Even those trains that were frightening became more understandable and even accepted as the truth of their stories became clear. It really got to me that these trains had such extensive stories when they weren't the central focus of this story, or at least not in the conventional manner. I found their different personalities fascinating and appealing, as well as their various experiences — all of which made their interactions with Zen different and unique. This story flows smoothly and at a decent clip, never once losing my interest or attention. The story and characters intertwined in a beautiful way, and while separately they were strong, when combined they became exceptionally powerful. The whole arc of the story was smooth and graceful, and even the ending was the same. Thankfully it left plenty of room to return to several characters, regardless of their humanity or not, and venture forth from where we last saw them. And I for one sincerely hope that Mr. Reeve decides to return to this rich and palatable creation of his, very soon and very often!
BookMafiaBlog More than 1 year ago
Genre: sci-fi/fantasy, teen & young adult Recommendation: absolutely! Age: 14+ Type: stand alone novel, open ended leaving room for more Summary: This book was so original it was refreshing. A fast paced, exciting, action packed, fun ride to another world. Definitely a book you can read more than once and a rarity in the YA scene because it isn't bogged down with teenage romance. Favorite Quote: "You step aboard a train, and the train goes through a K-gate, and you step off on another planet, where the sun that was shining on you a moment ago is now just one of those tiny stars in the sky. It might take ten thousand years to travel that far by spaceship, but a K-train makes the jump in seconds." Full Review: Railhead by Philip Reeve is an up and coming masterpiece that is due to be released April of this year. Set in the future, this novel follows Zen Starling. A common thief just spending his days lifting whatever he can for his family and blending in with the dirty crowds of his home world the Cleave, Zen is about as common as they get. Or so he thought. After a simple theft gone wrong, Zen finds himself propositioned by an eerily plain looking man who calls himself Raven. His task is simple: steal a tiny little box off the emperors train. Sounds easy right? That is exactly what Zen thought. The world that Zen lives in is full of different planets all connected through a series of railways. Tracks that lead to gateways known as K-gates do the unthinkable, they allow trains to travel light years in seconds by hopping from one K-gate to another. No one knows the science behind how it works but Zen, known as a Railhead, and others like him would be content just sitting on trains all day watching the changes in scenery. The family that controls the Grand Station, the main hub of all the railways, holds the money and the power. The Emperor has something that Raven wants, and Zen is the only person that can get it for him. The thing about stealing is... you should probably know what you are taking and who you are giving it to. This book follows Zen and his android companion Nova through his choices, their consequences and the chain of events that is put into motion as a result of his actions. "Only trains can ride the K-bahn: the old, wise trains of the Empire, barracuda-beautiful, dreaming their dreams of speed and distance as they race from world to world." The world building in the book is insane. The visual descriptions provided put you in a place where droids hover overhead, air taxis clutter the skies and technology has surpassed the human race. One wholly original idea this book provides is the characterization of trains as having emotions, making their own decisions and having unique personalities. They hold a position of almost reverence to those who have fallen in love with the railways and the unlimited possibilities they represent. I just can't explain how much I really enjoyed this book. It took me a few chapters to really get into it but once I did I couldn't put it down. This book would be great for teens and young adults. It is clean, imaginative and enchanting. Disclaimer: I was given an advanced reader copy in exchange for a honest review. A big thank you to Philip Reeve, Capstone and Switch Press.
ReadingwithErin More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5 stars "So whose side are you on, Zen Starling? " he whispered "Are you with Malik? Railforce? The Guardians? I thought you were a thief, like me." "I'm not on any side" said Zen "Just my own" "Doesn't work that way," said Raven "Comes a point, Zen, when you have to decide." This was one action packed adventure that kept me entertained throughout the whole story. This book is set in the far future, we follow Zen who is a thief who loves traveling along the K-Bahn railroad that travels in a very interesting way that you will just have to read to understand it fully. Zen is a thief who a man named Raven has taken an interest in him and has decided that he will be the one that will help him get something that will change the way things are forever. Along the way Zen starts working with Nova who is a Moto that was one of my favorite characters throughout the story. Nova becomes Zen's companion throughout the book and you see them slowly start becoming very attached to each other. Once Zen starts working for Raven he meets Threnbody who is a young lady who is constantly in the rest of her family's shadow, but turns out to be very strong and wise, as the story progresses. We also get to meet Malik who is an officer of sorts for the Guardians and has been looking for Raven for the past few years. This story is told in several different parts, each one taking you on a different part of Zen's life and throughout his mission for Raven and what happens once that mission is over. Certain parts were a little easier to read, just because you weren't having to try to figure things out at times. In the back there is a glossary that will give you more information on certain terms and when they would have happened. Overall I did really enjoy this story and I would love to be able to reread this in the future, and see things I'm sure I missed. I did get a little confused with this world and how all of the different things went together at time. I loved how this was somewhat based around trains at times and that it was how travel is done most of the time. I found it very interesting and I loved how the trains were even given personalities and a voice. It was very original in my opinion and I would love to see trains have a larger part in books again. If you really like fantasy and trains then I would highly recommend this book. "Just because you have a chance to change everything, doesn't mean you should." Thank you to Netgalley and SwitchPress for an E-Arc of the book in exchange for my honest review.