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Award Winners Reviewed Titles
Switch Press


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 can’t believe his luck. All he has to do is steal one small box from the Emperor’s 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. The highly anticipated novel from Carnegie-medal-winning author Philip Reeve, Railhead is a fast, immersive, and heart-pounding ride perfect for any sci-fi fan. Step aboard -- the universe is waiting.

PublisherSwitch Press
BrandSwitch Press
Age Level12-18 Years
Reading LevelGrades 7-12
GenreFantasy & Science Fiction
Trim Size5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Page Count352



Popular Culture Association Mystery & Detective Fiction

"Railhead may be the most imaginative book I’ve ever read. Everything about the book’s universe, from big (the Great Network) to small (mustache-symbionts!) is meticulously thought-out and cleverly described (a glossary gives helpful background information in case you get confused). Even the trains have individual personalities, which Reeve’s spectacular writing brings to life." - Popular Culture Association Mystery & Detective Fiction

June 1, 2017

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America - Andre Norton, Award Jury

"Delivers a fresh and thrilling premise: an intergalactic railroad linking distant civilizations that are populated with fascinating, complex, and flawed characters—humans, aliens, and androids alike. This provides a unique and rich setting for a high-speed heist, which ends up being much more as truths about young Zen Starling and the society he lives in are peeled away. A promising start to an expansive, provocative science fiction series for all ages." - Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

March 4, 2017


Publishers Weekly

"STARRED REVIEW! Reeve (the Mortal Engines series) sets this exciting science fiction adventure in a far-future universe where humans inhabit 1,000 worlds connected by K-gates, portals that allow inexpensive and virtually instantaneous travel across the galaxy. . . .Featuring gorgeously described alien landscapes, sharply drawn characters (some not even vaguely human), and genuinely awesome technology, this thrilling and imaginative escapade will captivate the Carnegie Medal–winner's many fans." - Publishers Weekly

April 22, 2016

School Library Journal - Luann Toth

"STARRED REVIEW! In this vividly realized interstellar adventure, Reeve grabs hold of readers’ imaginations early on and takes them on an exciting ride through time and space. . . .With adept and thoughtful hands, Reeve constructs a big, sprawling, and thrilling universe (a handy glossary is included to sort out all of the intricate networks and relationships), and one in which the trains run on time. Sci-fi fans will delight in this lightning-paced and satisfying read." - School Library Journal

July 1, 2016


Kirkus Reviews

"STARRED REVIEW! Starlight Express meets Trainspotting—as run through Reeve's fertile imagination. . . .Reeve's writing never flags, with moments of pathos and magic seamlessly interwoven. Dozens of characters collide...each one nearly as fascinating as the world Reeve has created (don't miss the glossary at the end). As he did with the Mortal Engines series, Reeve has crafted something at once weirdly familiar and marvelously original. Thank the stars there's at least one sequel planned already." - Kirkus Reviews

March 15, 2016

Locus magazine - Colleen Mondor

"...intense, smart, and exceedingly diverse teen novel. . . .Reeve’s world building is critical to Railhead and he succeeds with this wholly original galaxy that is still recognizable enough to appeal to teens who don’t have a lot of experience with science fiction. . . .This is a political book, an adventure, a gritty throwback to our own industrial age and, on a subtle level, a most unexpected romance. There is a bit of Robin Hood and a subplot delightfully reminiscent of Clueless within the engaging secondary characters. What Railhead most certainly is not is like anything else currently on the YA shelves, science fiction or otherwise. Teen readers looking for something different will be very pleased to discover it." - Locus magazine

June 1, 2016


Booklist, "Core Collection: Kid Criminals" - Julia Smith

"In this sf adventure, small-time thief Zen Starling is unexpectedly recruited to steal an object from the emperor’s train. When the operation hits a snag, the repercussions and ensuing dangers outstrip anything Zen imagined." - Booklist, "Core Collection: Kid Criminals"

November 1, 2017

Someday My Printz Will Come, School Library Journal - Karyn Silvlerman

"This is one of those has it all books — the setting is endlessly creative and fascinating; the characters compelling and complex, not always likable; the writing engaging and sometimes even poetic; the plot relentless; and the themes rich. (Of course, it’s doing all this in a sci-fi package, so I’m not holding my breath for recognition, but I’ve read it twice now and it’s only better the second time around.) . . .For all the fast paced adventuring and explosions (there are lots), this is no thematic lightweight. That early Dune reference is the first hint that Reeve is concerned with power and religion; there are also allusions to the dangers of stagnancy and ignorance. Nothing is answered — indeed, the ending is incredibly open, and it looks like there will be a sequel — but provocative questions are raised and linger after the last page. Deeper on a second read, and well worth a nomination." - Someday My Printz Will Come, School Library Journal

December 5, 2016



Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

2016 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult

February 1, 2017

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

2017 Carnegie Medal Shortlist

March 1, 2017

Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve wrote his first story when he was just five years old, about a spaceman named Spike and his dog, Spook. Philip has continued writing and dreaming up adventures and is now the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines series, the Fever Crumb series, Here Lies Author (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner), and many other exciting tales. Born and raised in Brighton, England, Philip first worked as a cartoonist and illustrator before pursuing a career as an author. He lives in Dartmoor with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Sam.

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