Review Blog

Sep 13 2012

Doom rider by David Gatward

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Hodder Children's Books, 2012. ISBN 978 1 4449 0769 8.
Seth is a twelve year old boy, who, in his many previous lives, is always murdered before he turns thirteen. This disturbing book is set in a period that seems to be the present in England, however it is an England ruled over by the Protector and where people can get a daily quote from the Bible on their mobile. Seth and his family earn their meagre living by attending religious festivals where Seth is in some demand for his visions and predictions of the future. Dissatisfied with his family and life in general Seth makes plans to leave and strike out on his own. However his plan is discovered by his father and Seth is forced to remain until Lily appears at his performance. Through Lily, Seth begins to learn of his destiny as one of the Riders in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. What follows is the story of how Seth begins to come to terms with his destiny as he finds the other Riders and has visions of the end of the world. Interwoven in this are the attempts of the Protector and his enforcers, The Chosen, to kill Seth and those who help him.
I found the book extremely dark. The visions that Seth has of the end of the world and hence humanity are disturbing. I'm not sure who the book would appeal to, the religious overtones and the science fiction aspects make, I think, strange bedfellows. It is hard to identify with the characters, but perhaps middle school students looking for something different may find the journey through this complex story rewarding.
David Rayner

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