TimeRiders 6: City of Shadows by Alex Scarrow

Publisher: Puffin
Pages: 432
Year: 2012 (2 August)
Buy: Paperback, Kindle
Source: Bought copy

TimeRiders: The City of Shadows by Alex ScarrowReview
What a series! TimeRiders is without doubt my favourite series of novels. The bookshops may put the books on the shelves for teens or younger readers but make no mistake – Alex Scarrow’s TimeRiders series is ageless in its appeal and is scifi at its best. The reasons for this are simple: brilliant plotting, fine writing, an utterly intriguing premise and a bunch of teens that you cannot help but fall in love with.

Here is my brief synopsis of the premise from my tribute to TimeRiders on My Favourite Books: ‘Three teens are given a choice in the seconds before their death – choose life and become a member of an agency so secret no-one knows its name or die for sure. But this is no normal life that they’re offered. All three will live locked within a time bubble, lodged under an arch in New York City during the two days of 10 and 11 September 2001. Their job is to watch for timewaves and ripples; evidence that something has happened to alter the past and so change the present. When that occurs, they must go back in time and fix it. So Liam (Titanic 1912), Maddy (plane crash 2010) and Sal (fire 2029) are recruited by the old man Foster and joined by a seven-foot support unit, Bob, an artificial intelligence and a killing machine that they have grown in a tube within their bubble.’

There would be no sense in reading City of Shadows if you have not read the others first. There are threads of story that have twisted their way through the timeweaving plots since the beginning and now, as we reach the sixth book in a series that will number nine in total, we have reached a crucial point. Maddy, Liam and Sal are now beginning to have just an inkling of the significance of what has happened to them while we, the spellbound reader, is starting to understand the meaning of some of the events and characters that we have met through the novels.

It would be impossible to say much about City of Shadows without giving anything away. At this point of the series everything matters. To be brief and careful then, this novel picks up immediately from Gates of Rome and Maddy, Liam, Sal and Bob (as well as a couple of new additions to the team) are on the run. The difference in this book from the others is that for most of it the team are not trying to fix altered time, instead there is much more explanation of the reasons for the Agency as well as the motives of its creator. It is no less exciting and gripping for that. Adventures are many but now much of the drama is internalised inside our young and brave friends.

There is, though, a timeleap and this time we’re sent back to Holborn, London in 1888. Dangers walk these streets.

As you’d expect from Alex Scarrow, he can breathe life and thrills into every time period – whether we’re back fighting World War II, walking with dinosaurs, in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood, in the American Civil War or scaring the wits out of ancient Romans, every page smells and tastes of the time. The dark, frightening and impoverished streets of the late Victorian East End are no less brilliantly described in City of Shadows. There are also vivid glimpses of future times. The past and future are always present in the TimeRiders novels.

But the main strength of City of Shadows, as it is in all the others, is the huge appeal of the brave and warm teens and their fiercely loyal bodyguard and friend Bob. After six novels we care very much. When this novel ends there is some comfort knowing that the next is just six months or so away. Time to start preparing myself for the end of the ninth…

You can find here reviews of:
TimeRiders 2: Day of the Predator
TimeRiders 3: The Doomsday Code
TimeRiders 4: The Eternal War.
TimeRiders 5: Gates of Rome

Other Alex Scarrow novels:
October Skies
The Candle Man

Meeting the Scarrows.

4 thoughts on “TimeRiders 6: City of Shadows by Alex Scarrow

  1. cupcakesandteapots

    I’ve pre-ordered this book and am really relieved that you think it’s great. I’ve been reading the series since Scarrow visited my school last year, and although some of the books are better than others (depending on the time period and how much it interests me) the series, on a whole, is enthralling.

    1. Kate Post author

      Hello! The time period matetrs to me too – so I loved the Rome one but was less interested in the US Civil War setting of the previous one. This book is different though. If you’ve been following the series, this begins to explain little bits and pieces and is full of bits that make your jaw drop! It’s such a good read. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. only1chrisds

    I love how you didn’t give too much away, but it was still entertaining and you made it sound intriguing. I am in the middle of reading this book and didn’t want to spoil the ending so thanks for that. I am now going to read your reviews of the other Time Riders books.

    1. Kate (For Winter Nights) Post author

      Thank you so much, Chris! I really appreciate that. My intention is to give a flavour and impression of a story or its atmosphere but without giving too much away. I’m so glad that comes across. I’m really pleased you’re enjoying the TimeRiders series – I can’t think of another series that’s given me so much pleasure. Thank you for commenting 🙂


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