Review of The Study Train by Kurt Frenier
Sixteen-year-old Ethan is a lonely and beaten-up teenager, living in a small village in Switzerland. He is disconnected from his parents, hates his life, and escapes in his hidden dream world – the old ruins. One day, he gets a mysterious invitation to join what seems to be an educational train built to create ‘new world leaders’. Ethan reluctantly accepts.
From the moment he steps on the StudyTrain, something happens to him. He meets people he admired and likes, and that like him! Lord Althulos, guardian of the train and headmaster of the school, is the father figure Ethan never had. All seems peacefully and quietly going his way, as if the odds have turned. Pretty soon, Ethan discovers the wonders of the 500-year old train. The Delivery Room in particular, where all the knowledge of the world and of all the previous students-now-world-leaders is saved, opens Ethan’s eyes. He gradually transforms into a strong, knowledgeable but rather egocentric individual. Krixit, rival of Lord Althulos and member of The Untouchables, helps him go through that transition, offering him power, energy and tricks he would never be exposed to otherwise.The pivotal point in the story is the recognition of Ethan as the long awaited leader of The Untouchables by Krixit. He get the symbol of that leadership, The Knights’ Grand Token, together with a difficult task: to fly the train to Shanghai –where Althulos’ powers are weakest – where The Untouchables want to reclaim the StudyTrain and reinstate their powers and status. (Blurb provided by the author).
I never realized it, but reading this book was fast. Really fast. I didn’t even realize I was close to the finish until I saw how many pages I had left to read. It was most definitely a story that can keep your attention and literally does take you for a ride.
What I found really interesting in this novel is Ethan (main character) has issues. A lot of issues. He’s been bullied, his family life at home isn’t so great, so he retreats to the old ruins for escape. Even with these sorts of issues you do feel sorry for him. Until he steps on the train. Although it’s nice to see him finally being liked and being able to be friends, he changes. He starts becoming more cocky, and more of a jerk and then I start to wonder why he was being bullied in the first place (perhaps because he’s been a jerk??). Now I’m not sure if this is done on purpose, but if it is, it’s a good job. He went from being a nobody to a somebody with a huge attitude problem. So I found him a little hard to like. There really isn’t much to say about the other characters. They’re secondary and don’t really play such a huge part in the novel. Lord Althulos is interesting and reminds me a bit of Dumbledore from Harry Potter (although both have very distinct and different characteristics).
The plot was good and interesting. However I’d like to know a bit more about the magic system and how it worked. It’s obvious Ethan is very well gifted in certain aspects and I wanted to know more about it. A little background information would have helped.
I also thought that although the story was very well done, and very good, and the pace just went really quick. Perhaps a little too quick? I felt as if I might have inadvertently skipped pages but it just happened to be that the pace was at almost breakneck speed that it did indeed feel as if the reader missed out on something.
Nevertheless, it was a good book and from what I hear there’s going to be more in the series lined up. It does look interesting and I will be looking forward to reading more about Ethan and his adventures.
I give it a 7 out of 10.