Friday 25 August 2017

ReaditDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 25th August 2017 - "Rail Head" by Phillip Reeve, illustrated by Ian McQue (OUP / Oxford Children's Books)

This week's Chapter Book of the Week was a recent holiday re-read - so I'm hauling it out of our Chapter Book schedules to a place it more rightly deserves to be...
Philip Reeve's "Rail Head" is a glorious example of the sort of sci fi I would have never have dreamed of as a kid. Brought up on a diet of some fairly hefty authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, sci fi for kids when I was a wee lad was fairly mediocre stuff (with the odd one or two amazing books such as Chocky and perhaps the likes of The Guardians - thank goodness for John Christopher and John Wyndham!)

Fresh from penning the soon to be movie-fied Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve turns his attention once again to the stars, and a fantastic intergalactic rail network.

The story kicks off with main protagonist Zen Starling on the run. Zen is a rail-riding thief, always on the look out for something to steal and sell, mostly living hand to mouth, but fiercely protective of his sister and mum.

Zen is drawn into a sinister plot where a shadowy terrorist known only as Raven enlists his expert thievery skills to steal an artefact from a powerful family, an artefact that has the power to change the rail network for good.

But there's more to the plot than meets the eye. Ancient guardians will do everything in their power to prevent the creation of a new K-Gate, and unfortunately for Zen, life takes a massive turn for the worst as Raven shows he will stop at nothing to achieve his aim - even genocide.

As fast-paced as a bullet train, full of the sort of imagery that makes gadget freaks and train-heads drool (thanks in no small part to both Philip's incredible writing, and Ian McQue's awesome illustrations on the cover and tucked inside the flyleafs)

With a cast of inventive and original characters to die for (loved the Motoriks and Hive Monks), this is utterly amazing stuff.

It's really not difficult to see why this has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal this year, it is a truly stunning piece of work.

"Black Light Express" continues the adventures of Zen Starling, and is out now so do yourself a favour and grab both, you will NOT be disappointed (watch out for our review of Black Light Express VERY soon and look forward to a third instalment later next year!)

"Rail Head" by Philip Reeve with illustrations by Ian McQue is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books (Kindly supplied for review)