My Rating- 3.5 STARS
Synopsis- 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
My Review- I like this look at a very potential future. It was gritty and did not hold back on the violent lifestyle of this dystopian, deprived world Chris Ward has created. Set in London, Bristol and Cornwall, the reader follows a group of young adults called the Tube Riders, named for their love of a dangerous sport; riding the side of tube trains in London's Underground. Those who seek thrills, don't care about dying or are simply looking for a way to forget the hardships of London life come together and have formed a 'family'. This for me was a fantastic idea and reading how Chris Ward came about it at the end of the book made me grin.
The Tube Riders soon find themselves in a heap of trouble when a rival gang find their location and call for their deaths. They run away and stumble on a murder that the government want keeping quite. So now they are on the run from the gang and the government. As their stories unfold the reader is subjected to the starkness of their terrible lives, everyone is struggling to survive one day to the next. Rape, Murder and Riots are minutes away on every street. Children learn how to wield weapons from a young age to protect themselves. Its bad enough on the surface but deep down there are worse
tortures. The government steal people off the streets to use in the Labs, creating all types of monsters. Part men, Part Canine and Part Cyborg creatures come from these Labs called the Huntsmen and they are used when the government need to take out their enemies fast. The Tube Riders are their enemies.
The character development was great, the Tube Riders all had a heartwrenching past, they all had suffered, lost loved ones and struggled to get by. The people they meet along the way on their journey to get out of the country alive are interesting.
World building is definitely a talent Chris Ward possess but I found myself getting bored in places or skipping large amounts of text and description to get to the interesting bits. Though I loved the gritty violence and the author's 'don't hold back' approach to it, I did get a bit desensitized so I wasn't as shocked as I should have been in certain places. By the end, I will admit, I wanted it to be over sooner. It was very long and the cliffhanger left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I want to read on
to follow the Tube Riders adventures, but I also felt like the story should be over.
I enjoyed The Tube Riders despite this not being my favourite genre and would have given it a 3.4 star rating if I had the option. It is well worth the read if you want a unique take on a Sci-fi, futuristic Britain.