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The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly #BookReview


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.


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 . . .


As society crumbles and Skye and Red race to figure out how to use their knowledge to survive the impending annihilation, they soon discover that the chaotic end of the world is a fine time for revenge 

The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly book cover

Title: The Secret Runners of New York | Author: Matthew Reilly | Publisher: Hot Key Books | Pub. Date: 2018-03-26 | Pages: 352 | ISBN: 9781471407956 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Suicide | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: NetGalley

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The Secret Runners of New York review

‘The Secret Runners of New York’ describes itself as ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Gossip Girl’. If that sounds like a weird combination it’s because it is, and as a result the book doesn’t work at all. It’s an unconvincing mix of high school drama, time travel and post-apocalyptic fantasy where none of the elements work that well on their own. Taken together they’re even less successful. 

The plot is complete nonsense. It starts with a girl running through night-time New York before disappearing. We then skip forward a bit to the Skye, the protagonist, starting at the same elite high school the girl who disappeared attended. That disappearance doesn’t get mentioned much at all for the next 200 pages or so. It’s almost like the author just wanted a dramatic opening to the book but then didn’t really know what to do with it… Anyway, Skye and her brother Red are ultra-rich but grounded. Most of the other kids at the school are ultra-rich and complete arseholes. There are a couple of exceptions to that who I’ll call hot boy (HB) and smart sensitive girl (SSG). Skye falls in with the mean girl gang at the school, whilst also bonding with SSG and swooning over HB. So far, so typical girl goes to new high school type story. For what it’s worth I enjoyed this part of the book the most. 

Meanwhile, a scientist has predicted that the world will end on St Patrick’s day because it is going to pass through a space cloud that will fry 99.5% of the population’s brains and destroy anything electrical.  

But then it turns out that the ultra-rich mean girl arseholes (URMGAs?) have a secret club where they run in a tunnel under New York which has got portals at either end that can only be opened with magic a gem that one of the URMGAs has on a necklace that has been passed down in her family for generations. We are told repeatedly that her family can trace their line back to the Mayflower because that’s important for some reason. Skye and Red start running with them and it turns out there is an opening in the roof of the tunnel which opens up into a desolate future New York.

SEE IF YOU CAN GUESS WHY IT IS DESOLATE (*coughs* Space Cloud! *coughs*).  

Mathew Reilly’s books have always been a bit silly, the action thrillers of his I’ve read before are like extended pitches for the next Michael Bay film. I liked those books though, they were dumb but fun entertainment. ‘The Secret Runners of New York’ takes silliness to a whole new level, It’s just ridiculous. The plotting is lazy and the characters even more one dimensional than those in Mr Bay’s movies. On top of that, the politics of the book absolutely stink, with much of the peril of the second half coming because the world’s poor are revolting in the run up to the end of the world as the rich find ways to save themselves.  

I’m wracking my brains to think of a book by an established author that was as bad as ‘The Secret Runners of New York’. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments! Aside from having a neat cover and being kind of easy to read I don’t think it has any redeeming qualities. It’s out today, buy it for someone you hate.

This book is available at: BetterWorldsBooks | Kobo | Amazon (US) | B&N | Amazon (UK) | Waterstones (UK)

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  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    […] The Secret Runners of New York – Matthew Reilly (Olly) […]

  2. Ouch. I started reading your review all excited about this book. I have read almost all of his books and always had fun with them. I’m thinking this is going to have to be a pass. Unless I happen to come across it super cheap some day and am curious enough to try it then.

    • Olly_C

      If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy it more than me!

  3. URMGA is now my favorite acronym! Great review, as always, Olly!

    • Olly_C

      Ha ha thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. Make sure you don’t read the book

      • My pleasure! Haha I’ll be sure not to 😉

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