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BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS  by Philip Reeve Kirkus Star


by Philip Reeve

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-63079-096-7
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

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)