Title: The Tube Riders
Author: Chris Ward
Pages: Paperback; 516
Release Date: March 19, 2012
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence; Adult Language
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a fast-paced story with great characters. Must also be okay with adult language, and some violence in their reads.
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Beneath the dark streets of London they played a dangerous game with trains. Now it is their only chance for survival...
Mega Britain in 2075 is a dangerous place. A man known as the Governor rules the country with an iron hand, but within the towering perimeter walls of London Greater Urban Area anarchy spreads unchecked through the streets.
In the abandoned London Underground station of St. Cannerwells, a group of misfits calling themselves the Tube Riders seek to forget the chaos by playing a dangerous game with trains. Marta is their leader, a girl haunted by her brother’s disappearance. Of the others, Paul lives only to protect his little brother Owen, while Simon is trying to hold on to his relationship with Jess, daughter of a government official. Guarding them all is Switch, a man with a flickering eye and a faster knife, who cares only about preserving the legacy of the Tube Riders. Together, they are family.
Everything changes the day they are attacked by a rival gang. While escaping, they witness an event that could bring war down on Mega Britain. Suddenly they are fleeing for their lives, pursued not only by their rivals, but by the brutal Department of Civil Affairs, government killing machines known as Huntsmen, and finally by the inhuman Governor himself.
When I first came upon The Tube Riders, it caught my attention with the originality of the premise. Here is a world that is cut off, harshly governed, and mysterious as all get out. Add in a set of characters who are willing to put their lives at risk for a little bit of a rush, and you have my attention. I don't think I would have ever thought of riding on trains as a way to unwind. For these characters though? That's reality. It's fabulous!
More than anything else, I instantly fell in love with the characters in this book. Marta, Paul, Switch and Simon are all intriguing in their own right. They are all the family that each other have, even when things get crazy. If I had to choose some favorites, I'd go with Marta and Switch. Marta is a no-nonsense kind of girl who does whatever it takes to keep her family safe. Switch is a little off sometimes, but loyal as they come and deadly to his enemies. This group is so diverse that you'd think they'd argue, and sometimes they do, but they play off one another wonderfully. Above everything, I loved seeing how they survived.
The world that Chris Ward builds here is fantastic in its own right though. Mega Britain is an insane world that uses militant rule to keep people down. There is poverty, violence in the form of daily riots, and so many secrets that it'll make your head spin. When the Tube Riders uncover a sinister plot by accident, it sets in motion a series of events that will have you holding on for dear life as you read. These poor characters never really have a moment to rest. Running from the authorities, being hunted by half animal, half human creatures, and trying to just stay alive. It kind of puts the high that they used to get from riding trains in perspective.
If there was one thing that was tough for me, it was just the length of the book overall. That's not to say that it doesn't maintain a pretty steady stream of action. More that I felt there were some descriptions, and some events, that probably could have been left out and still made for a intriguing story line. Parts of the story just felt a little over written. Totally my opinion! It might be different for other readers. It obviously didn't stop me from reading all 500+ pages of this book. Rightfully so, because the ending was awesome!
Let's just say that if you're looking for something original and exciting to read, this is for you! Chris Ward once again proves that self-published works can be just as amazing (if not more so) than traditionally published ones. I am extremely glad that I picked up The Tube Riders and I so hope that there is more. Now that I've been immersed in the world of the the Tube Riders, I'm not willing to leave yet.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.