Three teenagers have cheated death. Can they stop time travel from destroying the world?
School Library JournalGr 7 Up—Liam, introduced in TimeRiders (Walker, 2010) as a teenage boy rescued from imminent death on the Titanic to become a time traveler, is accidentally sent back to the Cretaceous period with a group of high school students and his artificial-intelligence support unit, Becks. Their rescue takes up most of the book, with the action alternating between their adventures in dinosaur land and repeated attempts to bring them back by Sal and Maddy, two TimeRiders from the first book who live in a time bubble surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Within this framework there is an interesting, in-depth exploration of the implications of time travel and its effect on reality. Contamination of the past can have drastic effects on the future, a problem highlighted when Liam and his companions accidentally cause the evolution of a race of hominid reptiles. The author also explores the question of whether the artificial-intelligence units, developed simply as computers inside a cloned human body, actually possess some level of humanity. The juxtaposition of time travel and dinosaurs will appeal to many readers, but be forewarned, the body count is high and the deaths are often gruesome.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
Children's Literature - Maggie L. SchrockLiam, Maddy, and Sal are all time travelers who were rescued from sure death during infamous points in history. They now work for a secret agency responsible for protecting the future of life as we know it. Disaster strikes and Liam, with a group of students on a field trip, is accidentally transported to the prehistoric past, during the time of an unknown predatory dinosaur. The predators learn from the humans and history is changed forever, with the predators becoming the dominant species of Earth, not humans. Liam has to leave a temporary imprint on history to send a message to his teammates advising of his location in time. Consequently, Maddy and Sal have to work together to replace history as we know it, while getting rid of the government officials who, due to Liam's fossilized message, have found out about the secret agency. Will Liam, Maddy, and Sal manage to fix their mistakes? The second in the "Time Riders" series, this is an action packed novel. Despite the length, readers will be entranced by the well-developed characters and unexpected plot twists. With its inclusion of historical references, the novel will appeal to multiple types of readers, from those interested in dinosaurs to those interested in more recent history. Reviewer: Maggie L. Schrock
VOYA - Lisa MartincikIn this second of a rumored nine-volume series, Liam, Maddy, Sal, and their Artificial Intelligence-enhanced organic robot receive a garbled message from their mysterious HQ about an assassin intent on preventing time travel. Someone wants to stop science geek Edward Chan from ever writing the paper that will lead to time travel technology, so Liam and the robot now in a female body and named Beckstake a short hop to the future. Unfortunately, an explosion leads to a long trip back to the Cretaceous era, where, not only Chan but an entire group of students, face extinction. In Day of the Predator, Scarrow smoothes out some of the unevenness marring his prose in volume one. Additionally, he begins to address some of the mysteries introduced in the previous book as our small team of time agents question the provenance and whereabouts of their parent organization. Scarrow also relies on the same formula: Liam and the "meat robot" (Becks) travel to the problem time, where things get worse and make the future changed and difficult for Maddy and Sal. Hopefully, subsequent books will see some deviation because this plot frame will not survive an entire series without falling into tedium. Some of the time travel science here feels a bit tenuous, but Scarrow plows relentlessly into the next short chapter before it can fully register. In a few cases, the ideas are stronger than the execution but the ideas are indeed fun. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
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