TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow

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TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A fast-paced and engrossing adventure about the consequences of meddling with time.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN: 978-0141326931

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Liam, Maddy and Sal were each about to die when an old man appeared to them and invited them to choose another fate. And out of the heartbreak of their decisions to bid farewell to their old existence and their loved ones is born a secret team of time riders, dedicated to putting right the chaos caused by those who meddle with time. It is a decision they will sometimes regret.

As this book, the second in a series of nine, opens, we see Sal shortly before she is to be crushed to death when her home collapses. Everyone trapped with her, including her parents and her neighbours' young sons, can see the recruiter appear and invite her to join the team, and they all hear their own death sentence: the whole building will fall in two minutes and kill them all. Naturally she begs him to spare the lives of the others, but that cannot be, and the terrible decision to say goodbye to her dying family is made.

Although the idea of a team of people protecting time is not new (for example, in the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde) this series has some truly original and fascinating concepts. The three young people (and, in the first book, their recruiter) all come from different eras. They live in a time bubble in New York which repeats the forty-eight hours when the Twin Towers are attacked. Sal's job is simply to walk around the city each day: she is highly observant, and her task is to note subtle changes which indicate that someone has tampered with time. Liam, who was removed from the Titanic just before it went down, is the team's traveller, moving about in time to prevent damage. Maddy, who was about to die in an air crash, is the leader of the team: she controls the machines which make their work possible. She also has to bear the burden of hiding from the others the terrible effects of what they do on one member of the team.

There is a fourth member of the team: Bob the meat robot. This is a computer placed in a human body to act as a bodyguard for the travellers, but which begins to develop a rather endearing personality of its own – including a taste for the works of a certain J K Rowling. Bob is even able, at the beginning of the book, to offer some sympathy to Sal when she is unable to sleep.

All three of these young people, in their different ways, have to show immense courage when carrying out their work. Teen books do not share the same conventions as books for younger readers, and the Time Riders books offer no guarantee that the good guys will get home safe. People die in these books, in all manner of unpleasant ways, and no one is left unscathed by their adventures. Although the bravery and determination of the team offer hope that the eventual outcome of the series will be a positive one, the companions have a dark and gory journey to make, and readers are definitely advised not to read these books just before a meal, or before going to bed.

All in all, this is a very good read and is well worth its five stars. Read it, but whatever you do, don't jump ahead: the last line of the book is truly shocking.

Many thanks to the publishers for sending this book to Bookbag. We also have a review of REMADE (Remade 1) by Alex Scarrow.

Further reading suggestion: Readers who want action-packed stories and can cope with a fair amount of bloodshed will also enjoy Patrick Ness's trilogy: The Ask and the Answer, The Knife of Never Letting Go and Monsters of Men.

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Buy TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy TimeRiders: Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow at Amazon.com.


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