Beneath the Neon Sky (3rd Book in the Ellie Quin series) by Alex Scarrow

I simply can’t get enough of this series.  It’s really great and I love it.  I’m holding off reading No.4 though (even though I already have it) because I don’t know when the next is due out so I’m pacing myself.  And, thanks again Carl for putting me onto this series – Stainless Steel Droppings, always with the good book recommendations!

The difficulty in reviewing this is of course being the third in a series it will probably contain spoilers, well, you can’t help spoilers in a series so basically if you’ve not read the first two – beware of spoilers (although I usually try and do remain a spoiler free zone!).  I’ve decided not to focus too much on the plot in that case and just give a fairly brief review of events to date.

The story starts where No.2 left off.  Ellie, Jez and Aaron are about to embark on their money making scheme.  They’re happy and things look like they’re really going to work out well with their venture, dare I say that romantic feelings even seem to be growing between a couple of them.  Unfortunately, the killer hired by the Administration to trace down Ellie is hot on her tail.  We have a real cat and mouse type of affair  going on here (although one in which the mouse has no idea it’s being stalked) that gathers momentum very quickly.

What do I really enjoy about this series?  It’s sci-fi – but it’s not what I would consider to be ‘difficult’ or ‘hard’ sci fi.   There are aliens, robots and virtual pets, cities living under domes and spaceships – your basic sci fi!  But, it’s fun, easy, fast paced and entertaining.  The characters are likable and in fact I’ve really started to care about them.  In fact I want to shout at the three of them in parts – they’re so naive and trusting – not nearly enough paranoia if you ask me! On top of that there’s the whole mystery of what Ellie actually is and the little ‘wiki’ type snippets that are undoubtedly giving us a clue here and there amongst all the other comments included.

These are only short stories – they almost remind me of the book equivalent of the type of tv series that I watched as a child during summer holidays.  The type which are only 30 minutes long and give a little introduction at the start of each new episode and basically you can’t wait to return to the next episode because the last always ends with a cliffhanger!!  That’s what these stories put me in mind of combined with, for me, a real shout out to Star Wars.  I can’t help it, it just reminds me of the first film (and I do mean the first film – not the film that everyone now calls the fourth film!).  Obviously they’re not fundamentally the same story but when I read about Harper’s Reach I envision Tatooine, when Ellie returns to the farm I picture Luke’s uncle’s farm!  Okay I’ll stop!!

And, for one crazy moment I thought the author was going to give up the jig about Ellie and let spill what’s so different about her!  But he’s sneaky and he’s keeping mum about it all.  Sneaking.

Anyway, crazy hateful assassins.  Murder.  Robotic pets.  Plus great characters that continue to grow with each new edition.  I love the friendship between the two girls but would point out that I don’t think this means the book is aimed primarily at female readers.  I could be wrong but I think this story would appeal to anyone.  It’s very entertaining and the mystery is definitely intriguing.





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