Whenever I need a decent YA fix, Sharon Sant is an author that doesn't disappoint. Runners is set in a dystopia type future where food is scarce and children under 17 without families are captured by the dreaded CMO and placed in labour camps. This produces Runners, as their title suggests; those that are constantly on the run to keep their freedom and fight to survive.
We are introduced to Elijah, recently bereaved and down on his luck, who is befriended by some Runners who adopt him into their group. But Elijah soon finds trouble or trouble finds them, and the group of kids will be tested to their limits.
Especially when their paths cross with that of megalomaniac Maxwell Braithwaite who has dangerous plans involving hundreds of stolen children and the studies of a long dead scientist.
I like how the author sets the scenes; not unnecessarily descriptive but giving you plenty of material to create a good mental picture. The settings in this story are fairly bleak; abandoned buildings, unforgiving woodland, terrible labour camps and shady government properties, but this all adds to the atmosphere and element of danger.
Sharon Sant also writes a good old fashioned villain you want to boo at (my personal fave of hers is Makash from the Sky Song trilogy) but Maxwell Braithwaite and his head scientist are baddies you will love to hate too. I think I would have liked to have seen more action centered on Maxwell and his evil plans.
I also would have liked more back-stories about the group of Runners that Elijah joins. They are an eclectic little mix of characters and I would have liked an insight into their pasts.
However, the action as it stands is quite gripping. There seems to be danger at every turn and the characters are challenged throughout which keeps you engaged. Runners is an exciting tale for readers that like their YA a little on the dark side.