Railhead by Philip Reeve
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 cant believe his luck. All he has to do is steal one small box from the Emperors 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.
I’m a fan of Reeve’s steampunk series, so I was excited to check out this standalone science fiction novel. Like Reeve’s other series, this new world/universe is well-developed and unique. Instead of spaceships, people travel by trains to other worlds. With sentient A.I. and mysterious Guardians who govern humans, this galaxy is full of interesting characters.
The story is fast-paced and full of drama and intrigue. While Zen is a thief, he’s likable and relatable. Science fiction fans from teens to adults will enjoy this fantastic adventure.