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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 August 2013
If I were marooned on a desert planet in a distant star system and only allowed one set of books with which to pass the years, without doubt my choice would be the TimeRiders series by Alex Scarrow. I have raved about this series over the years more than any other and even though it's targeted at youngsters it has triggered something in my imagination that is worth its weight in books of gold. Teenagers pulled out of their own time and thrown into the mysteries of the past, forced into solving conundrums that may either save or damn the future. We've had dinosaurs, Nazis, Romans, medieval knights and pirates and now we have the Mayans. And never is the reader spoken down to. This is brutal stuff. There is violence, disembowelment, death, cruelty, terror and much swashbuckling. They are also pleasingly complicated and intricate. I wish these books had been around when I were a teen. Luckily, though, they are around now and my inner youngster has loved every page.

The Mayan Prophecy is the eighth in a series that will end with the ninth. In my opinion, The Mayan Prophecy is the very best of the series so far (I have high expectations for the final ninth, hence the so far). It has an excellent opening. The twists and knots of the series are complicated and Alex Scarrow brilliantly recaps the main clues in the opening chapters, making it all come flooding back. The characters have developed to such a degree that instead of back history we now have delicate relationships and tender observations of the changes that have marked Maddie, Liam and Sal, but also Becks and Bob. It is impossible not to care very deeply for this group of people and their more than robot support units. The stragglers have gathered over the novels too. Rashim is now joined by the return of Adam Lewis, a very poignant reminder from an earlier novel, and Bertie who has a role of his own to play in history. The revelations of the previous novels have caused a crisis for Sal and its course through the novel is harrowing and really quite traumatic to read.

The twists and hints and clues are as tantalising and pleasing as ever. The drama and thrills kept me reading. I read the novel in a day. I could not go to bed with it unfinished. But the true triumph of The Mayan Prophecy is that Alex Scarrow is a master storyteller. He has created a brilliant premise and filled it with wonderful, complicated and endearing characters and has driven it on with the most exciting of adventures and puzzles. Not only is this the best of the series, it is also the goriest and most violent (I don't think this is a series for the under tens), and it is marked by intense heartache. In other words, it gives me all that I want and makes me both long for and dread with almost equal measure the publication of the end next year. Brilliant.
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on 7 August 2013
I finished this book within 3 days, and I'm now gutted that the series I fell in love with is coming to an end. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I originally bought the first book way back in 2010, purely because it mentioned the Titanic, a subject which I'm fascinated by. But it's become so much more than that, in three years. Book 9 will be released in 2014, and it looks like the die hard fans are going to be waiting almost a year to get their hands on it.

I've read some of the other reviews have mentioned that the first half of the book is quite slow, but I disagree. I was giggling by page 21, and was sucked straight back into the world of Maddy, Liam, Sal, Bob and Becks. After the revelations from previous books and the appearance of Bertie (who has some diary entries in this), I have a feeling there's plenty more where that came from, up Alex's sleeve. There were a couple of subtle hints at what the final book could contain, which, along with the previous revelations, are shocking and always seem to come out of nowhere. But at the same time, always seem to make perfect sense. It's like a big lightbulb going off multiple times over your head.

There were times I did feel like slowing down my reading of the Mayan Prophecy, and savour it a bit more, but unfortunately, I just could not put it down. I was desperate to find out more about Bertie (some reviewers apparently didn't see this coming, but I totally did, and I hope to see him in the final book).

I have to say, for a YA book, this part of the series, has a very dark and quite frightening ending. I'm not exactly the age group for this kind of book, but even I found the events leading up to the last page quite mind boggling, and if I could have hid behind the couch, I would have done.

So far, I have read only a couple of Alex Scarrow's adult books (October Skies and The Candle Man) but I don't think anything he will ever write will top this series. I pre-order every book as soon as I possibly can (for instance, I pre-ordered this book in February - it wasn't released until August) and I just know, it will be the same with the last book. I do think, like many other Time Riders fans, there's going to be great mourning when this series is over. I don't think I remember falling in love with a YA series since my days of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitter's Club (showing my age!)

I hope after book 9 is released, it doesn't go down the path of "I'm bored of the series now, so they will wake up in the shower, and it was all a dream", but something tells me that Alex has had the whole story arc in his head from the beginning. He knows how it's going to end and where it's going to end, and I'm sure he too will be sad to finish writing it. I also hope that Liam, Maddy, Sal, Bob and Becks manage to live on in some way - I can totally picture it as a TV series, or on a movie screen near you.

I just hope I don't need any tissues for the last book, as I nearly needed tissues for this one!
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on 3 August 2013
Coming in the wake of the stunning City of Shadows and delightful 'Pirate Kings', 'The Mayan Prophecy' had the potential to be something truly brilliant. Yet, this book seemed to be torn, unsure of its purpose.

The first half of the book was a slow trek for both us and the team, languishing in unnecessary detail over Liam and Maddy's adventures. This felt like a space-filler, something that should have been trimmed to allow more time and focus on the adventure we've come to love that finally arrives in a hail of bullets later on in the book.

It is here the book finally takes the task this story presented by the collar, dragging us kicking and screaming into the heart of the mystery and refusing to let us go until the last page. There, we're left as jibbering messes, reeling over what has just happened, blown away by the brilliance of the story and wondering how we could have been so wrong in our predictions about what was going to happen next.

Scarrow is a masterfully descriptive and imaginative writer and has a fantastic grasp of his characters; the supporting cast, expanded here with the brilliant inclusion of old and new faces, are both engaging and sympathetic. Of the main cast, I struggled with Sal, if only because I feel he made her a lot less sympathetic (something which was detrimental later on) - however, I hope for some more clarity with the next book and that everything is not as it seems.

I sat down and absorbed this book in one sitting. Despite having to push through some parts of the first half, the second half more than easily made up for it and has provided an unbelievable setting for the finale. I'll be counting down the days until the final book is published (should I ever recover from what happened, at least)!
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on 28 September 2013
I'm really enjoying this book series by Alex Scarrow. Granted this is written for teens, and I'm an adult, but I don't care. An enjoyable read, is an enjoyable read.
Give the series a go. I think you'll like it!
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on 9 October 2013
I've loved all the Time Riders books and this one is no exception. Scarrow creates real depth with the fictional science behind the story and successfully overlays the wholly believable characters. He also manages to gradually reveal the overall plot whilst keeping you gripped by the action. If he could just clone himself so the next one gets written faster, I'd be happy!
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on 16 September 2013
I know these books are aimed at teenagers but we old age pensioners love them and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good story!
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on 16 October 2013
Honestly I couldn't put this down. After reading all of the time riders novels over the past couple of years it`s clear that we're now in the final chapters of the story. I just hope that Alex Scarrow has another epic story in mind to succeed time riders.
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on 7 August 2013
Well we're drawing near to the end. Just one more book to go in this nine book epic time travel journey in which the concluding final instalment will be released in June 2014.

So how does this penultimate instalment measure up to the previous books? Well, its as enthralling, playful and exciting as the previous instalments but it also packs in more gut wrenching, heartbreaking moments and finally plummets into a very frightening dark place teased on by earlier books. As one would expect in a chronicle fantasy/scifi series, the penultimate instalments would take a a more darker turn. No exception here. So embrace yourself but dont fear it, as Scarrow's narrative still sparkles with plenty of humour, thought provocation on world, political and current issues, splendid character developments and a supreme flair for storytelling. He keeps the narrative fresh by switching between a plethora of different perspectives keeping the story rolling with a sweeping kinetic flow. I know there will be some who would have liked a little more expansion on certain elements but I think perhaps they are sacrificed for the sake of keeping the novel within a YA criteria (which surely is borderline already given the gory content and some adult themes of this series).

There is a surprise historical character that will knock some scifi geeks for six and as usual with Scarrow's historical characters, spins a new twisty layer on the character, while maintaining the known legacy.

Again, its a tremendous page turner. Where this book differs from previous books is that this is no longer an "adventure of the week" instalment. We are now firmly seated on the main story arc train and towards the end of the book, is at full throttle heading towards, what promises to be a colossal finale with grand revelations.

So shall I sum up now? Ok.

Brilliant. Thats it. Not much more than that. Just flaming brilliant. Roll on the conclusion in 297 days, 7 hours, 49 minutes and 10 seconds

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on 18 August 2013
The trio find themselves searching desperately for the truth, and more accurately, which truth. The story is action packed,and very hard to put down.

I like how the characters have matured, and the stories and adventures are getting grittier. Scarrow compliments these with stunning descriptions of locations and interesting historical and social facts of humans and various cultures.

Excited about the next book, but gutted I'll be without my time traveling friends!
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on 18 October 2013
I've now read the whole series that are in print and
look forward to the next one. I've also been converted to Alex Scarrow
and tried a couple of others.
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