Author(s): Gloria Piper
Published by CreateSpace on 09/03/2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Review Copy
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Across the wild mountains the silver train glides on a cushion of air, carrying within its plastic walls the world of Orphans. Its destination? Nowhere. The illegally-born must live out their lives inside this computerized train. Admin wills it so. But young Garland, an Orphan musician, seeks a different destination. Freedom. To realize it he struggles against Admin’s mind control and those affected by it. His only escape lies with a mysterious woman who is led by a freeing spirit. Can Garland learn to connect with this spirit before the flicker of opportunity dies? Ride into the far future where spiritual guidance vies with computer control.
I received this book for free from Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Train to Nowhere is set in a dystopian future where people are divided into classes and live completely separate from each other. In this future world strict population controls are in place and illegal children, those children that were born outside of the new rules of the society, are placed on the trains known as Orphan Trains. The story follows one of these orphans named Garland, as he strains to see the bigger world outside the train.
This book has a lot of good things going for it. First and foremost are the characters, who are well designed and relatable. You can’t help but feel for Garland as he fights between the desire to leave the train and wanting to be with his friends. Or be nervous for him when he finally manages to get into the larger world. The reader is also given a counter in the form of Hedge, who you can’t help but root against.
Train to Nowhere is well paced and moves along without to many digressions or side journeys. To often in sci-fi stories with a lot of world building, the author feels the need to lay out every intricate detail of their world, and short-changing the main story in the process. Piper refrains from this however. While the world does feel well designed, she manages to keep the story front and center and avoids falling into the show and tell trap.
While I really did like this book, it hit two things which are pet peeves of mine. One is the instant immersion in the world. While I get what is being attempted, when the language is so much different than ours, using technology terms in place of every day words, it comes off as jarring and makes it hard for the reader to pay attention to the beginning of the story. The second issue is the language itself. I definitely get what is being attempted with the use of language in this book, but every time someone said “deleted” instead of removed or “boot up” instead of wake up, it pulled me out of the story a little bit.
As I said, these are really pet peeves of mine and I know many readers will not find fault with this. Train to Nowhere is a good read. In spite of having issues with some of the structure of the book, the story was able to carry me through to the end and I enjoyed my time in the world of the Orphans and the Landed.
Review by Travis Starnes