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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
Cassie worked as a cleaner in Driven City run by the dictatorial Elms family. Soldiers patrolled the city and fined anyone breaking the family laws. In the rigidly controlled social matrix, Cassie had one friend, Axton, a relationship both had to keep secret as they did not have permission to marry. Seeking a better life, her sister left the City. Cassie and Axton decided to follow and find her. Outside the City, they found ruins, remnants of the Fourth World War, but everything was lush and green, a dramatic change to what they were used to. They came upon a farm and saw people working in the fields. A man told her she and Axon would have to work to get any information. They worked for a day, but learned little, and left to continue their search. They came across several farms but were always driven off. It was clear that Runners were not liked in those parts. At one farm, they were forced to mine for gold, but after a gunfight, they managed to escape. In a stolen car, Cassie continues her quest.
The Runners: Beyond the Grid is a novella that gives readers a glimpse of a post-apocalyptic world where those with power and weapons controlled everything. Alec R Zeelie paints a grim world with a very simple, straightforward story that young adult readers not concerned with depth or characterization would enjoy. In several ways, however, many readers will like this simplicity as Cassie’s mission to find her sister develops, as does her relationship with Axton. It is regrettable that Alec R Zeelie has not developed this story more fully, making it suitable for readers of all ages. Nevertheless, The Runners: Beyond the Grid provides a diverting couple of hours.