A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Railsea is a fast-paced fantasy adventure that recasts Moby-Dick and Treasure Island into a world where locomotives pursue gigantic moles across a vast wasteland of dirt. There's plenty of suspense and many delicious in-jokes. Expect some violence involving train combat and gigantic burrowing animals, but the level of graphic bloodshed is low.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In RAILSEA, Sham Yes ap Soorap is a young medic's assistant aboard the moletrain Medes, whose captain quests for the legendary Mocker-Jack across a wasteland of dirt. When Sham discovers a strange secret aboard a wrecked train, he's thrust into an adventure that will take him to the very end of the line, where he'll discover what lies beyond the rails. He'll be captured by pirates, chased by terrible burrowing creatures, and forced into confrontations with angels.
Is it any good?
Railsea is no run-of-the-mill adventure at sea; it's full of strange creatures, odd quests, treacherous pirates, and weird settings. Author China Mieville's world-building is both surreal and oddly plausible, and his prose is charmingly off-kilter. The novel won't be for every taste, but readers who can catch the humor in the narrative will be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind literary adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Railsea's method of upending literary conventions from books like Moby-Dick and Treasure Island. Why do readers enjoy tales of nautical (or locomotive) adventure?
Much is made in Railsea of the Captain's "philosophy." How do people develop a philosophy that guides their behavior in strange circumstances?
Why do you think the author directly comments on how stories are told? What you do think those seeming asides add to the novel's narrative?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fantasies and pirates
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