Author: Sharon Sant
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopia
Synopsis: Elijah is nothing special. He’s just a skinny kid doing his best to stay one step ahead of starvation and the people who would have him locked away in a labour camp – just another Runner. But what he stumbles upon in a forest in Hampshire shows him that the harsh world he knows will become an even more sinister place, unless he can stop it. As past and present and parallel dimensions collide, freedom becomes the last thing on his mind as he is suddenly faced with a battle to save his world from extinction. But before Elijah can find the courage to be the hero the world needs, he must banish his own demons and learn to trust his friends. And all the while, the sinister figure of Maxwell Braithwaite looms, his path inextricably bound to Elijah’s by a long dead physicist, and hell bent on stopping Elijah, whatever the cost. (Goodreads)
Once again, Sant comes along with a group of kids that I just want to pick up and give big hugs to and wrap them up warm so nothing bad happens. I liked their little dynamic, how it wasn’t perfect and they still bickered. Everything doesn’t seem to go their way and they’re faced with multiple setbacks just when you think they’ll succeed because “of course the protag manages to get away, they’re the protag!” All of this is great for their character development and I liked watching Elijah develop throughout the book. He went from a kid who blames himself and believes that running will solve his problems, to someone ready to take responsibility and actually fight for his friends.
Aside from the whole group of kids, I liked the relationship seen in the Bettencourt family. Xavier may be the younger brother but he’s more gruff and temperamental, probably because of his time on the streets with the other kinds. Francois is more laid-back and less of a grouch, and he kind of evens out the group with his attitude. Usually. He’s not the best planner in the world, I have to say.
As for the story itself, I felt that it may have been resolved a little too fast for my liking. Still, I enjoyed the science fiction elements and the touch of horror. I only took long with this book because I got busy with other things and wasn’t even able to pick up my Kindle for a bit. Once I did get going, the story became a fast read for me. It won’t bog you down with technical details or heap on the teenage angst. It’s an adventure and if there was angst, it was all for the good of character development.
Overall: With its good pacing and balanced story, Runners gets four stars from me. I loved the trio in Sant’s Sky Song trilogy and I adore this bunch of runners. Even though the ending came too fast for me, I liked how it ended. Like the characters, everything wasn’t perfect but it felt realistic. Elijah’s character growth really made this book for me.