Published: March 26, 2019 by Pan Macmillan AU
Format: Paperback, 341 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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THE COMING END
When Skye Rogers and her twin brother Red move to Manhattan, rumours of a coming global apocalypse are building. But this does not stop the young elite of New York from partying without a care.
CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?
And then suddenly Skye is invited to join an exclusive gang known as the Secret Runners of New York. But this is no ordinary clique - they have access to an underground portal that can transport them into the future. And what Skye discovers in the future is horrifying.
RUN! AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
As society crumbles, Skye and Red race to figure outhow to use their knowledge to survive the impending annihilation,they soon discover that the chaotic end of the world is perfect time for revenge...
I’m a massive fan of Reilly’s books. I preordered this book the moment it was available for preorder, picked it up on release day, and read it in one sitting.
The Secret Runners of New York combines time travel with high school, following Skye Rogers as she starts at a school where new students tend to go missing. But the execution failed to live up to my expectations. Reilly’s interpretation of an elite New York school is almost laughably shallow, relying on tired stereotypes and bizarre interactions to convince readers that these are real teenaged girls. Even the characters of Gossip Girl (which seems to have had an influence) have more nuance. Plus, Reilly couldn’t pull off the first person narration, and it’s very difficult to enjoy a character’s journey when you don’t like them.
The time travel aspect of the novel is pretty cool, relying on an ancient tunnel and coloured gems (it gave me Jack West Jnr vibes!) and taking the teenagers to a future where New York city has been destroyed by some cataclysm. It took a long time to reach the time travel though — Reilly got bogged down in the social politics and high school drama.
The thing that was missing for me was the family aspect. The characters in Reilly’s books are usually bound by strong bonds — sometimes of blood and sometimes not. Skye was theoretically close to and loved her twin brother, but that relationship only surfaced when it was convenient for the plot. She failed to make meaningful connections with her classmates and had a stunted relationship with her mother and step-father. As a result, the book lacked heart.
While this is a stand-alone novel, Reilly has left enough questions unanswered for the possibility of a sequel. Aside from Troll Mountain, this is probably my least favourite book by the author. I know Matthew Reilly can write — he wrote some of my favourite books! — but his experiment with a YA thriller hasn’t gone so well.
I’m still looking forward to The Two Something Somethings though.