Review: Station Zero

cover-station zeroTitle: Station Zero
Author: Philip Reeve
Series: Railhead #3
Genre: Teen Sci-Fi
Length: Novel
Available: Now


The stunning conclusion to the acclaimed and prizewinning Railhead trilogy.

What happens after the adventure of a lifetime?

For Zen, it’s a safe, comfortable life of luxury. But it’s not what Zen wants. He misses the thrill of riding the rails, of dodging danger, and of breathing the air of different planets. Most of all of course he misses Nova – lost to him forever in a distant world. But then one day a mysterious message arrives – and that’s all Zen needs to head right off, ready for anything. Except that no one could be ready for what he finds…

Thrilling, thought-provoking, and breathtaking, this finale to the Railhead trilogy weaves a web of wonder, full of characters and events you will never forget.

Source: ARC from Oxford University Press

This whole series has been a complete joy of wonder and imagination and space and trains, and this final installment is no different. The universe is getting bigger, the worlds are getting weirder and right at the heart of it all is Zen, rich now but utterly miserable from missing Nova. He’s come a long way since the poor thief riding trains in the first book, yet at heart he’s still the same. Which means both trouble and adventure are just around the corner.

New K-gates opening up in abandoned places with tracks that lead to nowhere; the human empire torn in two with war massing on both sides; the once omnipotent Guardians uncertain of what to do; and always, always the trains, crossing the universe and singing songs that no human understands… Everything hangs in an uneasy balance, and Zen’s just the person to flip it all back into chaos again. Without even trying.

There were plenty of times when I wondered how this could possibly be the last book in the series. There’s so much to get through – a potential war, the mystery of the Railmaker, Zen’s mission, Nova’s plans, Threnody’s awakening – yet somehow, some way, this book manages to wrap it all up. I’ll admit I wasn’t that interested in Threnody’s adventures – although I did like her changing perception of the Kraitt – and Nova felt more distant than ever, but it was nice to see Flex again, the Guardians were surprisingly entertaining, and Zen is always interesting to follow around. Plus the trains. The trains! Damask Rose and Ghost Wolf are my absolute favourite characters from the whole series, so I loved seeing them both again.

Fast and intense, this book rattles along, frequently questioning what makes a person and whether being human is the only way to be, while also pitting progress against safety. It’s exciting throughout, almost heartbreaking at times, yet funny and hopeful too. It was a fitting end to an excellent series – the only downside is that it’s over.

Station Zero is Out Now.
Visit Philip Reeve for more details.



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