Black Light Express

Philip Reeve

Book - 2017

Zen Starling, a small-time thief, and Nova, an android girl come from the Network Empire, whose stations are scattered across the galaxy and linked by the K-gates and the sentient trains travel at light speed between them--but the gate through which they just passed was a new one, and they have no way of knowing into what danger it might have led them.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Reeve Philip Checked In
Adventure fiction
Science fiction
Action and adventure fiction
North Mankato, Minnesota : Switch Press, a Capstone imprint 2017.
Main Author
Philip Reeve (author)
Item Description
"Black Light Express" was originally published in English in 2016. This edition is published by arrangement with Oxford University Press."
Physical Description
336 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Reeve's planet-hopping Railhead (2016) ended dramatically with the opening of a new, interstellar train gateway, and this gripping sequel picks up as Nova (an androidlike Motorik) and thief Zen Starling emerge from it onto a new, previously disconnected world. Posing as human ambassadors, the pair explores this unknown network of planets (the Web of Worlds) and revels in their freedom to be a Motorik-human couple. Meanwhile, back in the Network Empire, Threnody Noon has barely been crowned empress when the power-hungry Prell family launches an attack on her palace and usurps control of the galaxy. Threnody escapes thanks to her streetwise attendant Chandni, and the two young women take the plunge into the Web of Worlds, joining Zen and Nova's risky mission into the inscrutable Black Light Zone. Action, imagination, and political intrigue pervade this book, but its most fascinating aspect is the gradually revealed mythology surrounding the Railmakers and Guardians both godlike machine intelligences. A breathless, thought-provoking read in a series that shows no signs of losing steam.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-In this sequel to Railhead, trains are sentient beings with different personalities who communicate with one another through "trainsong" and with their passengers via artificial intelligence. They run on rails and travel through K-gates, portals to different worlds throughout the Network Empire. Zen Starling and Motorik (female android) Nova have escaped the Network Empire aboard the Damask Rose, hurtling through a new K-gate to the previously unknown Web of Worlds. They were pawns in a plot to steal a valuable artifact from the powerful Noon family, unintentionally destroying the Noons' train and killing their empress. Threnody Noon, the new empress, sets out to find and punish Zen. The hunt is complicated by an attempt to overthrow Threnody, which sends her on the run as well. As the narrative unfurls, the tangle of truth about the origin and control of the rails and K-gates is just as exciting as the hunt itself. The worlds and their inhabitants-track-building worms, delightfully aggressive retired war trains, unapologetic evildoers, and insects and multiple other nonhuman creatures-are distinct and crystal clear. No specific ethnicities are mentioned, but the human characters are described as brown-skinned, black, or white. VERDICT For fans of fantasy adventure, especially those who are new to the genre.-Carla Riemer, Claremont Middle School, Oakland, CA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Railhead introduced a world of sentient trains and interplanetary travel. Now, via a new portal, human thief Zen and android girl Nova find a galaxy containing the secret of the intergalactic rails' origins. Meanwhile, the new empress summons a thief to uncover Zen's role in her father's death. Diversity in alien species and the mystery of the rails should maintain science-fiction fans' interest. Glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Reeve picks his story up directly after Railhead (2016), with more of everything, from destruction to fun. Zen and Nova have discovered a new network populated by numerous alien races (three-legged antelopelike creatures are the least strange). There's no Datasea or Guardians; even the sentient trains are different, but the rails are the same, and carvings of the mysterious Station Angels point to a shared origin. Meanwhile the Prell corporate family has staged a coup in the Network Empire, and Empress Threnody, accompanied by a professional criminal and a Guardian's interface, is on the run aboard an old war loco, Ghost Wolf, who is destined to steal readers' hearts. Reeve's bizarre but compelling far future boasts a mainly brown population (only the strange, standoffish Prells are white) of people who are equally diverse in their personalities. There are gay AI gods, sentient bugs, and machines who very nearly think they are human but turn out to be so much more. The action-packed plot never flags; Reeve's great strength is that he can weave worldbuilding and character development into even the most literally explosive scenes; his writing bristles with evocative details, and those details reveal worlds about the characters. Exposition is nearly nonexistent, and yet even new readers can glean enough back story to catch up. Hop aboard and prepare for the ride of your life. (glossary) (Science fiction. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.