Review of ‘Black Light Express’ by Philip Reeve

Following on from the fantastic Railhead, this book is even more imaginative and action-packed. The trilogy is completed by Station Zero.

Zen Starling and the android Nova find themselves in the Web of Worlds, a network of planets and diverse species connected by living locomotives. They are close to the mysterious Black Light Zone, which the civilisation from eons ago abandoned. At the same time, the deposed Empress Threnody and her companion Chandni, a recently defrosted criminal, are on the run.

The novelty factor is not the same as in the previous book, as we already know these characters and the main concepts. However, it’s nice to return to them and not need everything to be explained. The plot becomes quite complicated and I didn’t quite get all of it. I was a bit distracted while reading the last few chapters, though.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy these visions of the far future. They seem credible – bio-engineered buildings, androids with feelings, a majority mixed race population, personal security drones, corporations as government – and presented in a matter-of-fact way. It all seems quite familiar from our popular culture – a bit of Star Wars, a bit of Blade Runner, a bit of Neuromancer, even a bit of Hitchhiker’s – and so it’s not difficult to picture. It’s good escapism.

First published in 2016.

5 thoughts on “Review of ‘Black Light Express’ by Philip Reeve”

  1. I have only read the first two Mortal Instruments books by this author so I must have a look at this trilogy, it does sound right up my street xx

    1. I think you mean Mortal Engines 😉 I haven’t read all of them, I like the Railhead concept better. It’s a really great trilogy which deserves to be better known 🙂

  2. You’re so great with series! I wish I had the stamina to complete reading one 🙁 Glad you enjoyed this, NS! I like the version of the future in this book, and androids with feelings….I’m gonna be mulling on that for a long time 😀 Great review as always!

    1. I don’t read many series, but the ones I do, I think are special 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jee, glad you liked the review.

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