Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: Switch Press
Crossing the Great Network of trains that hurtle through the gates between planets and stealing what he needs to survive is just the way Zen wants to spend his time until the mysterious Raven hires him for a job. Revealing that Zen holds just the right DNA necessary for him to breach security on the Emperors impenetrable train, Raven is sure Zen has what it takes steal an enigmatic object from the trains art collection. Knowing this job will set his family up for life Zen agrees, but things don’t go as planned leaving Zen facing danger at every turn. The only way out is to find a way to reveal Raven’s intent while staying out of the clutches of those hunting him, but even crafty Zen may not be able to beat these odds.
Reeve has frequently proven his ability to push the bounds of the imagination but this novel is his most ingenious yet. Part steampunk, part space opera, part dystopia the novel defies categorizations beyond a broad science fiction label even though its as much adventure and mystery as fantastic. Its incredible how the setting itself has a unique personality and objects that just might be part of the atmosphere in another works are integral to the plot and theme. The ambiguous nature of the villain really builds tensions and the powerful main character connected to a world peopled with amazing characters both human and non-human create an engagingly well-constructed story that daring readers will devour.
*Contains mild violence.