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The Tube Riders: Underground (The Tube Riders Trilogy #1) the acclaimed dystopian thriller set in a near-future London Kindle Edition
|Length: 449 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Many authors introduce a character and then tell you their back story immediately - Chris introduces the characters and a couple of tidbits, then lets the back story come out gradually, and often in conversation or in a natural progression. None of that "So-and-so thought back to his/her childhood..."
Now for the constructive criticism: I wish Chris could create more of a connection between the reader and the characters. I don't know how you do it, but I want to really sympathize/empathize with the characters, and feel like they could be my friends and family. He does make some strong and certainly intriguing characters (Switch), but the main character (Marta) really needs to be more relatable somehow. I don't know how Suzanne Collins did it with Katniss, but despite her stoic nature, you feel a real connection to her.
I also agree with some of the other reviewers that certain details didn't make sense, such as the tunnels not being guarded. I know Chris tries to explain that away when the Governor realizes that he hadn't considered that, but it really isn't believable. But I can easily look past that - I'm sure it was a difficult part for him to work around.
Anyway, I'm about to start the second book - Exile - which I purchased before realizing there is a set of the whole trilogy. So I bought the trilogy as well because Chris has made me a believer and he deserves the sales!
Her: I know they made it into a romcom, but it's really a good book!
Me: Mine has a cyborg.
Her: ... You win.
But seriously, it's a dark, dystopian novel that will not appeal to all. Know what you're getting into. England has fallen into the control of the Governor, who rules with an iron fist. The smallest perception of rebellion is squashed harshly. When the Tube Riders--you'll learn why they're called that in the intro--witness something that could start a war, they know it's time to run for their lives. Dark, but not depressing, hope is the motivation through most, if not all, of the series.
I initially grabbed this book because (admitted couch potato and wuss, that I am) the concept of tube riding fascinated me. It was liked taking train surfing to the next level. I wanted to see if the author could me it believable and Mr. Ward did this in spades.
Britain has been walled off from the rest of the world - the ultimate in in isolationism. Any of the larger cities (the Greater Urban Areas or GAUs) are walled round. No travel in, out or over. Only trains, troops and government officials move throughout the country. The roads have been demolished, even the road signs removed all to keep the population as stationary as possible. Cities, other than London, are set up as manufacturing centres - one product per city. Only in the farming countryside or Greater Forested Areas (GFAs) does everyday life even remotely resemble normality.
This isolation, these changes will eventually strengthens Britain's economy according to the Governor who seldom seen rules with an iron fist. But, kids being kids, will always find ways to have fun and subvert the rules.
Marta's brother, Leo was the first of the Tube Riders; a small number of street teens with an almost mythic reputation. Leo discovered a way to ride the side of the Underground. Horrifically dangerous, ecstatically addictive; the group who rode the Tubes never numbered more than a couple dozen. Through deaths, the disappearance of Leo and general attrition the group is now no more than a handful with Marta as the de facto leader. Their reputation still reigns high in London's urban mythology. No one knowing if they are real or the ghosts of those killed in Underground accidents or, just made up stories. Witnesses who swear to seeing ghostly faces peering in the train windows are discounted by most authorities.
Meanwhile, another group of young people are playing and equally hair-raising game with the trains, the Cross Jumpers. Jumping from one side of the tunnel to the other in the path of an oncoming train. Whoever's jump is closest to the front of the train becomes the leader of the Cross Jumpers. Dreggo, whose jump took her a mere 12 feet in front of her train is current leader. She is ,also, unreasonably, psychopathically jealous of the Tube Riders mythic status. She rallies the Cross Jumpers to hunt down the unsuspecting Tube Riders and get rid of them by any means possible.
When Dreggo's group finally tracks down their imagined rivals, the Riders realize how insanely vicious Dreggo is and how outnumbered they are. They take to the Tubes bypassing their usual landing place and end up at an unknown platform...Just in time to witness and video an act of astounding brutality. An act that could begin war with the rest of the world against Britain and possibly free Britain from the Governor if the SD card carrying the video can be gotten out of the U.K. to European authorities. A seemingly impossible feat but their lives and those of everyone they know are in deadly, unyielding danger. Stalked by the Governor's hit men and his vicious, bioengineered horrors called the "Huntsmen." The five young people run for their lives.
If you are looking for believable characters and nonstop kick ass action that will leave you breathless I highly recommend this book!