Monday, January 8, 2018

Black Light Express by Phillip Reeve

From my recent review of Black Light Express for Locus:

Philip Reeve’s absolutely incredible world building again takes center stage in Black Light Express, the sequel to Railhead. The second book picks up soon after the events that brought Railhead to a stunning close, with former thief and unwitting catalyst Zen Starling having fled the Network Empire along with Nova, his android girlfriend. Meanwhile, completely against her will, Threnrody Noon, the Paris Hilton of the empire-controlling Noon family, has assumed the position of Empress. She is only a pawn of more powerful interests however and virtually trapped in the palace attending a haze of pointless engagements while her former fiance, Kobi, is on the other side of the galaxy about to be forced into a corporate approved marriage with someone he has never met. Basically, the fallout from Railhead is reverberating across all the lives of the major characters while, unknown to them, it’s about to get a lot lot worse. 

What Black Light Express (and the first book, Railhead), offers readers is sentient trains, a vapid rich girl who decides she doesn't want to be a pawn anymore, political machinations, alien technology, aliens, dinosaur-descended aliens, human-android romance, the fact that the human-android romance is the best kind of romance, more stupid rich people, the satisfaction of rich people losing because they are stupid, a protagonist who is smart and scrappy and more than willing to walk on the wrong side of the law because playing by the rules gets you only so far (and those rich jerks are the ones who wrote the rules in the first place).

Oh - and a train is killed and that is far more upsetting than you would think. 

As I wrote in my review, I'm really surprised that these books are not more well known. They  are excellent SF (which is not too common in the YA literary world) as well as being excellent political mirrors for much of modern society. Check them out!

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