The Black Light Express is Right on Time and Doesn’t Stop

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The Black Light Express by Philip Reeves

BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS is the sequel to Philip Reeve’s critically acclaimed (and much loved by this reader) RAILHEAD novel. It picks up after that novel’s climactic finale with our hero and heroine, Zen Starling and Nova, now in a new world that they never knew existed -- and shouldn’t exist, for that matter. But their story is only half the tale, for back in The Great Network, plans are unfolding between the Prell and the Noons, the outcome of which will bring together old friends and enemies, along with some new characters and new trains, not to mention a Guardian or two, those “beings/caretakers/gods” in the great Data Sea who have more to lose than either Starling, the Noons or the Prell.

For those of you who have not read the first book, not to worry: you can pick up the gist as the book moves along; and to help out, Reeve’s includes a glossary of terms that will bring you up to speed on the important things you will come across to help you better understand things.

This book, like RAILHEAD, moves at breakneck speed at times, and Reeves does an excellent job of bouncing back and forth between the different story lines, keeping each going and you interested so you never forget what was happening, all the time bringing the story lines together like different train lines connecting cities across the country--or in the case, like K-bahns connect worlds across the Great Network Empire.

BLACK LIGHT EXPRESS is also a love story of a different kind. We get to see Zen and Nova evolve into a couple that are trying to understand their feelings for each other. He is a human trying to understand how he could have these feelings for a Motorik, and Nova herself is trying to understand what loves is; being a Motorik, her “feelings” for Zen change as they spend more time together. And Nova herself, being so much more than a run of the mill Motorik we first thought at the beginning of the series, becomes so much more complex as the book unfolds.



I loved this book as much as the first, and I know this because, as with the first book, I was truly sad when the book ended--more so because I don’t know if there will be another. While the first book definitely left you with the feeling more was to come, this book could be the last, or there could be more. It was painful waiting for this book to come, and if there is not another I can be content with that because Reeves did such a beautiful job of ending this story.

This book further extends the magic that trains have for me, and extends them across galaxies and universes. The minds and personalities Reeves developed for the trains is as cool as the organic beings he has created.

An awesome story that I hope goes on, and I believe you will enjoy. Highly recommended.

5.0 / 5.0