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The Train to Impossible Places #1

The Train to Impossible Places

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Alternative Cover Edition of ISBN 9781250189509

A train that travels through impossible places. A boy trapped in a snow globe. And a girl who’s about to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Impossible Postal Express is no ordinary train. It’s a troll-operated delivery service that runs everywhere from ocean-bottom shipwrecks, to Trollville, to space.

But when this impossible train comes roaring through Suzy’s living room, her world turns upside down. After sneaking on board, Suzy suddenly finds herself Deputy Post Master aboard the train, and faced with her first delivery―to the evil Lady Crepuscula.

Then, the package itself begs Suzy not to deliver him. A talking snow globe, Frederick has information Crepuscula could use to take over the entire Union of Impossible Places. But when protecting Frederick means putting her friends in danger, Suzy has to make a difficult choice―with the fate of the entire Union at stake.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

P.G. Bell

32 books129 followers
P.G. Bell is a native of south Wales, where he was raised on a diet of Greek mythology, ghost stories and Doctor Who. He's had all sorts of jobs over the years, from lifeguard to roller coaster operator, but all he's ever really wanted to do is write stories for a living. And now he does! He lives in Wales with his wife Anna and their two children.

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5 stars
784 (27%)
4 stars
1,054 (37%)
3 stars
786 (28%)
2 stars
143 (5%)
1 star
34 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 499 reviews
Profile Image for Gavin Hetherington.
673 reviews5,468 followers
October 6, 2020
If you ever need a middle grade book that is full-steam imagination and non-stop adventure, then this is THE book for you.

One night, Suzy is startled when the train to impossible places makes a pit stop through her house. With her parents asleep, Suzy joins the troll crew of the train on an adventure that will change the course of her life forever.

The more I read of this, the more I would smile and be amazed at the power of Bell's imagination. The places we would visit and the characters we would meet were all distinctive and perfect for the fantasy genre. Cannot wait to read more of this series.
May 15, 2020

This was an okay read. It might be one of those children's books which can only be enjoyed fully when you are a kid, but have almost nothing interesting for an adult. Even though, I am not sure I would have fully enjoyed this as a child either. I had zero interest in the story at the beginning, but as the plot progressed it got more and more interesting. Overall, as I said, it was okay: the fantasy elements were fun, I liked the main character and Wilmot was just adorable; the setting and the general plot were good enough, but nothing extraordinary. I will probably donate this to the public library for a kid to enjoy, and I doubt I will go on with the series. Love the illustrations though!
Profile Image for GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott).
617 reviews111 followers
December 15, 2018
I'd probably give this 3 and a half stars if Goodreads would let me...but I have to settle for a 3 cuz it won't. Also, if I hadn't already read Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow this year, I probably would have enjoyed this one a bit more. I feel like Nevermoor & Wundersmith spoiled me because I loved them so much....like Harry Potter levels of love...and that's pretty tough competition for a book like The Train to Impossible Places.

All that said...The Train to Impossible Places was a heckuva fun read. I've seen plenty of reviewers here describe it as a Hitchhikers Guide/Doctor Who mashup...and I can really see where they are coming from (Although I think I would be more apt to describe it as a Charlie and The Chocolate Factory/Alice In Wonderland mishmash myself).

I'm a sucker for train settings. I love trains, always have, and any story that takes place (or, at least partly takes place) on a train immediately grabs my attention. The Train to Impossible Places delivers that train setting in full...and alongside of that gives a healthy dose of whimsy, action, fantastical set pieces, and a world that makes you want to explore it further. I loved the cast of characters and all in all had a really fun time with this book. I would definitely read another if one ever comes along.
Profile Image for Robin Stevens.
Author 49 books2,058 followers
August 29, 2018
An exciting, imaginative, wild ride of a story that never lets up for a moment. The Impossible Places are wonderful new worlds and I loved everything about this debut - the characters, the ideas and the twists in the tale. Bravo! (8+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
September 25, 2020
I finished this yesterday. It was the the bonus book for the Adventures Through Wonderland readathon. I loved it! It was such a fun adventure to go on w/Suzy & everyone! Wilmot had my whole heart!! Oh my goodness, he was such a great character. I loved him the most. All the trolls were so amazing, & what all they could do. They had so much heart! I loved Trollville!! My favorite place by far! I adored Ursel, Stonker, & Fletch. Every character was just so amazing & well written-even the villains. Of course Suzy was such a great main character! Love strong female characters! There was a twist that I loved. Lady Crepuscula was so creepy! Also-loved all the names in the book! This just gave me all the warm cozy feels, & just happiness. Makes you always remember to believe in the impossible, & how important it is not to just depend on facts, etc. you have to have a little bit of imagination, faith, & magic.💜I highly recommend this! Loving the 2nd book so far as well!💜💜

Synopsis: A train that travels through impossible places. A boy trapped in a snow globe. And a girl who’s about to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Impossible Postal Express is no ordinary train. It’s a troll-operated delivery service that runs everywhere from ocean-bottom shipwrecks, to Trollville, to space.

But when this impossible train comes roaring through Suzy’s living room, her world turns upside down. After sneaking on board, Suzy suddenly finds herself Deputy Post Master aboard the train, and faced with her first delivery―to the evil Lady Crepuscula.

Then, the package itself begs Suzy not to deliver him. A talking snow globe, Frederick has information Crepuscula could use to take over the entire Union of Impossible Places. But when protecting Frederick means putting her friends in danger, Suzy has to make a difficult choice―with the fate of the entire Union at stake.
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
995 reviews241 followers
January 28, 2019
2.5 stars

I'm struggling in being decisive with a star rating for this one. In some areas, I really want to give this book at least a three star rating because of how magical and unique the storyline was. However, in contrast, there were moments that I felt the story became too cluttered with too much action that I lost my focus on what was happening.

The beginning of this novel had me hooked. I absolutely loved the idea of this magical train that truly did the impossible, whether it be the ability of transforming houses for a railway or through the ignorance of gravity. Add on trolls and I was caught hook, line, and sinker. The story began in such a fun and whimsical way.

However, as the story progressed and became more complicated, additional storylines were created with different side characters having their own side stories. This is where the waters became muddied. I found it difficult to follow along with the main character of Suzy when the adventures for the other characters were included. Although it felt action packed, it also felt as if there was too much happening at one time.

The ending did make up for some of the confusion that happened throughout and I really liked how the story was concluded. The ending left me satisfied in that this book could be a good standalone or it could be a good initial novel in a series. The way that it ended did leave some potential for a sequel but if not for that, readers will be happy knowing that Suzy's adventures will continue.

***Thank you to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Kateřina Hajžmanová.
Author 23 books75 followers
January 3, 2019
Moje další překladatelské miminko je vyloženě dětská knížka, ale jestli vás dětské knížky baví, rozhodně jí chcete, protože jsou tam naprosto boží nápady a P. G. Bell je prostě týpek! Těším se na další díl už teď!
Profile Image for ikram.
241 reviews610 followers
September 30, 2020
…And the journey came to the end. The Train to Impossible Places was so fun to read and I didn’t expect it to end very soon. This book really takes me to its imaginative worlds where there are magic at every stops. Kudos to P.G. Bell for making a book that is hard to put down. I found myself wanting to see what happens next and having my own dilemma of whom I should trust in this story.

The second I met Suzy, I knew I would love her. If she was real, I probably would see her as my little sister. That being said, I love the portrayal of each characters. Wilmot is also my favorite character, the need to follow his family’s footstep is something I can relate very well. Even minor characters like the trolls, the pirates, Crepuscula, Frederick, and other characters.

If I’m being honest, the lack of world building is the reason why I didn’t give this book a higher rate. I was a little confused with how the Impossible Places work and this issue—I think—was overshadowed with conflict after conflict Suzy had to handle. From the beginning of the story, Suzy was already thrown into a magical world, without being explained why she could see the trolls and was not affected from their magic. I hope, I can find some answer at the sequel.

Even though it was fun to read, I have to admit that there were some scenes that made me sad. P.G. Bell is out there reminding me that instant messaging is not always a good thing; people who work in Postal Delivery would probably lose their job and income. If I look at children’s eyes, I think P.G Bell was trying to tell his younger audiences that there were times where we relied on letters to send a word to someone. And that’s a good thing!

Like other middle grade books, The Train to Impossible Places has the classic theme; the truth will always prevail. I think, being honest to everyone including yourself is the main theme of the book. Other message we can all learn from this book; don’t trust strangers too easily and don’t judge someone based on their rumors. These messages are important for children.

Least but not last, the illustrations are so cute!!!

My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Favorite shelf: No
Will I recommend it to your children/younger siblings? Yes. I think kids would love this book just fine!

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Profile Image for Kateryna.
481 reviews85 followers
March 27, 2019
I liked the idea of a postal train that delivers packages to many fantasy places, but I was expecting something different. The book was just not for me, it got boring and took me a long time to get through it. All the characters were pretty annoying. It took them too long to get from one destination point to another. At certain point the action was a bit overkill and lost me. Will I read the next book in the series? Probably not.
Profile Image for Laura Noakes.
Author 2 books35 followers
October 15, 2018
This imaginative tale is THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY meets DISCWORLD for kids. Fantastic story, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Esther.
532 reviews107 followers
March 19, 2023
Imagination and loads of adventure really made this an awesome read!

This is not a book for just any reader. I feel like, if I would bring this book to a Primary School, I would mention that it's for kids that love reading harder and bigger books.

I loved the places we visited in this book and the characters we met. I also really liked the final chapters, because nothing was as it seems and I had loads of questions until the end.

Traveling, magic and adventure is what you'll find in this book!
Profile Image for Sasha .
292 reviews285 followers
October 3, 2020
I listened to the audiobook and I think I will continue listening to them (yes I will be continuing with the series).

It was really a fun story! Nothing too complicated or weird, nothing too unexpected and keeping you on the edge of your seat (or comfy reading nook), not too long not too short. I had a fun time traveling with our characters...
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,145 reviews244 followers
May 15, 2019
This was so damn cute! First of all: love that the main character is a PoC. There's a lot of confusion with the lack of explanations/being thrown into the middle of a magical world but I think it actually leant itself well. You see it all through the eyes of the main character; being a human in this troll world. The ending SENT ME into chaos. I was NOT expecting any of this. I'll definitely read the sequel.
Profile Image for Susan.
765 reviews23 followers
December 14, 2020
Another book I picked up after watching How to Train Your Gavin's channel on Youtube. He loves middle grade and has some great videos with tons of middle grade recommends. I love his monthly TBR game he does where I learn about more middle grade books I should pick up and read. He's funny and amazing.

This books is about a human girl named Suzy and she finds a huge train in her living room one night. She has no idea how or why but it's also run by some pretty unusual characters. Stonker and Fletch and Wilmont. They run an Express train to impossible places. Suzy jumps on the train and she's off on an adventure to deliver packages to all kinds of impossible places. She steals something that turns out to have a mystery involved with what she stole and the story takes off from there.

This book was so much fun to read. Extremely fast paced and full of adventure with places that are odd and fun. I love the characters so much. The bear was funny, the conductor was great and the postal worker I fell in love with and poor Fletch. You'll have to read to find out about Fletch and what happens to him.

Highly recommend if you are wanting to try out some fun fantasy middle grade. I thought it was very entertaining.
Profile Image for Meghan (TheBookGoblin).
262 reviews34 followers
August 31, 2020
This was cute, but even had I read it at a young age I don’t think it would have been my cup of tea. I always tended towards creepier/darker reads like Coraline and the Redwall series. Maybe good to read to your kids but nothing special.
Profile Image for Dawnie.
1,206 reviews125 followers
September 10, 2020
this was fun and a nice read but a bit too over the top for me.

i really enjoyed suzy and wilmot and the rest of the impossible train crew but i found the plot a bit lacking and over done - the constant lying about what’s going on, the bad witch, a light against dark fight? those are a bit overdone cliques and don’t need to all be put in one book!

the writing was well done, easy to read but not dumbed down.
i loved that we had a science interest girl as a main character that tried to figure out what was going on with her understanding of physics.

it’s one of those books that teaches the younger reader a few words and doesn’t dumb down the story to fit a kid but isn’t actively trying to educate.
i like the middle ground if that.

i think that this book would have been enough as an adventure story with alle the fun places the train can travel too and have that be the book.
or have it be a book about what was going on in the impossible places but the combination of both?

that felt as if someone’s tried to overstuff the book and everything fell a bit short because of that.

is it still a good read?
yes sure it’s entertaining and i think especially younger kids will have fun with it.

is it a must read?
not really.

i am happy i read it an so glad i finally am reading more middle grade and it was pretty well done overall.
we’ll see how it continues and i hope the author will start to focus more on one plot point instead of too many again.
Profile Image for Amélie Boucher.
678 reviews290 followers
September 30, 2020
This is a case of it’s not you, it’s me.

I can’t really tell what is wrong with this book, but, for some reason, I just couldn’t really vibe with it.

Objectively, this had all if the ingredients for a great story, but I couldn’t really connect with it. I found myself quite bored even if the adventure was thrilling.

I think a lot of people will enjoy this, but it just wasn’t for me.
Profile Image for Kate.
333 reviews9 followers
June 8, 2022
I wish it was more about trains and less about saving the world
Profile Image for Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629).
556 reviews25 followers
May 26, 2020
What a fabulous (train) ride this book was! I highly recommend it to anybody with a child at home bored from quarantine. I also recommend it to any adult bored from quarantine!

It is kinda sorta but not really like Harry Potter, in that the protagonist is a child who enters into a world of magic. There is good and there is evil. I loved it so much I went right to Audible upon finishing the book and ordered and downloaded book two.

Fabulous narration also in this Audible version.
Profile Image for Scott Evans | The Reader Teacher.
51 reviews96 followers
July 21, 2018
‘Wow! This incredible debut puts P. G. Bell full steam ahead in the children’s literature world. All aboard for the most magical of adventures that’ll keep you on the very edge of your seat.’
Profile Image for Mridula Gupta.
668 reviews169 followers
October 24, 2018
I never thought I would enjoy a Children's book so much.
Review to come :)
Profile Image for Helen.
790 reviews9 followers
May 24, 2021
Really good book inbthe series.
Adventure and action packed
Profile Image for Sam (she_who_reads_).
621 reviews15 followers
January 7, 2019
A highly imaginative, action packed, middle grade fantasy. I had so much fun reading this one! The characters were amazing and endearing, the writing was great- it was very accessible, without feeling overly simple. Ten year old Sam would have been completely obsessed with this book! This would make a fantastic read aloud and I can’t wait to share it with my daughter!
Profile Image for Katie.
348 reviews51 followers
October 12, 2019
"Do you solemnly swear to uphold the ideals of the Impossible Postal Express, risking life, limb and sanity in the execution of your duty?"

I love a middle-grade book to build up a heavy based run of fantasy books. The Train to Impossible Places was definitely exactly what I needed.

Firstly, I want to say the illustrations in this book are wonderful. I love them so much! I found myself looking at the edge of the pages to see where the next illustration was going to be. With each one I came across I feel like it just got better and better, honestly they were so good and definitely added to my reading experience.

I love reading middle grade books as an adult but can't help but feel disappointed when there is not a lot of adult humour within it. This book did not disappoint me. There was so much adult humour within it that really had me laughing at points. I loved the idle chat about retirement, taxes and staff cuts within the workplace. This is something I could 100% relate to and it definitely helped me build more of a connection with the book because of this. I feel like the author has to have a special talent to appeal and cater for its intended child audience and then the adult audience also, whether the adult is reading it for fun in their own time or reading it to their child. This was all audiences can thrive on and enjoy the story.

I also really enjoyed all of the characters and following their journey throughout the story. P.G.Bell really has a way of developing his characters in a way that the reader can build up a connection. Leaving them wanting more and more. There is normally a character in a book, especially a middle-grade that tends to irritate me. Not in this book. Obviously I didn't like the bad guys but the other characters I really enjoyed.

The snippet for the next book in the series made me want to read more. This is such a fun and light-hearted book which I think is aimed at an audience of all ages for different reasons. I definitely recommend that you pick up this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 499 reviews

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