Author: Alex Scarrow
Release date: 4th February 2010 UK
Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure / Time Travel
Target audience: 10+
Summary from Amazon:
Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand . . .’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose – to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world . . .
It is hard to believe that Time Riders is Alex Scarrow's debut Young Adult novel. It is a story of adventure, action and science fiction. But most importantly, it is a novel about a team of three very different kids who are offered the chance of escaping death's clutches. Time Riders are hand picked to keep us safe from the people who want to corrupt time and change the course of history forever. I used to think that time travel was not my thing although I do love Dr Who. Suddenly, my thoughts on time travel are completely discarded after reading this book. I have realised that time travel books are addictive!
Foster -- a mysterious figure -- appears moments before each of the potential team members are about to die. He offers them a future but not exactly a life. The three main characters are: Liam - an Irish 16 year old who worked aboard the titanic, Maddy - an 18 year old girl from 2010, New York, and Sal - a 13 year old girl from 2026, Mumbai. Foster brings them to a time bubble in 2001 where they he trains them to protect time from being corrupted.
The characterisation in this book was thoroughly convincing. Each character has distinct traits which make them individual. Liam has his Irish sayings and dialect. Maddy is the leader and the one who is expected to take responsibility. Sal writes a diary which shows us her fears and her identity as the youngest of the group. Then there is the support unit who I am very attached to and don't which to say any more about in case of spoilers.
Scarrow does well to interweave the history of time travel into the plot so that we are not overwhelmed with boring details. We are constantly involved in the dynamic of the team as their relationship grows and the fast pace of the action as events unfold. Moving between the past, the present and the future is not at all disorientating. If anything, it increases the tension for the reader and makes you want to read on.
What this book has is hard to put into words. It is the magic that makes a new series unputdownable. Percy Jackson has this magic. The Wardstone Chronicles has this magic. It is the hero's journey to save the world from evil. It is the developing friendship between Liam, Maddy and Sal. Time Riders has the quintessential ingredient that makes you crave the next book and be willing to queue at midnight for it. This series is going to be MASSIVE! And if you haven't heard this already, Puffin have confirmed a nine book deal for the Time Riders series. This is music to my ears because I want more, more, more. It was that good! Seriously, boys, girls, young, old: everyone will love this book.