REVIEW: Chasers by James Phelan

CHASERS (Alone #1)
By James Phelan

PUBLISHER: Kensington Publishing
RELEASE DATE: 30th October 2012
FORMAT: Ebook, 256 pages
GENRE: Dystopian, Young Adult

Four Teenagers. One Destroyed City. Thousands of Infected Predators. Jesse is on a UN Youth Ambassadors camp in New York when his subway carriage is rocked by an explosion. Jesse and his three friends, Dave, Mini and Anna, crawl out from the wreckage to discover a city in chaos. Streets are deserted. Buildings are in ruins. Worse, the only other survivors seem to be infected with a virus that turns them into horrifying predators… Outnumbered. No sign of life. Just them. And you… ALONE. (Goodreads) 


I jumped at the chance of reading CHASERS for review, I do enjoy dystopian novels plus there seemed to be a touch of zombies or vampires to give that added excitement. CHASERS is written from the point of view of a sixteen year old Australian boy, Jesse who is in New York city as part of a UN youth ambassador camp. In his group there are three others, a boy called Dave and two girls Mini and Anna.

They are travelling on the subway when a massive explosion hits. When Jesse comes round after the accident his first thoughts are for his friends and escapes from the subway. The four friends work together to escape the subway tunnel and once they reach the surface there is a whole new problem as people have turned on each other and the city is in chaos and full of destruction.

Manhattan was in bad shape. It was hard to get an exact picture of the destruction, because we couldn’t see much detail with the naked eye and the binoculars only allowed you to focus on one place at a time. I’d zoom in on a building that was half collapsed into a street, but miss the buildings flattened all around it. The small glimpses between buildings revealed streets that looked cluttered or barren.

The streets are unsafe and buildings have collapsed due to the explosion of an unknown source that has hit New York. Jesse and his friends need to find shelter and somewhere high up so they can assess the full amount of destruction when they come across a suitable building, Rock 30. They climb the stairs to the 70th floor and barricade themselves in to enable them to formulate a plan.

After the shock, I was amazed that they could think clearly enough to escape the blood frenzied mob and have enough energy to climb the whole 70 floors, with provisions. These teens are smart and have a great aptitude for survival, I did feel, however, the scene lacked description and an emotional connection, I know for me I would be lost, scared and panicked.

From the safety of their building they view the destruction and notice that the humans who are left wandering the streets seem to have an insatiable thirst, these humans are either drinking from the Hudson river or blood from fallen victims!

Jesse and his friends have to find a safe passage through both the destruction and these infected, crazed humans. The leadership of the group seems to fall to Jesse, which sometimes leads to a bit of testosterone fuelled contention between Jesse and Dave, this conflict increases as they remain within Rock 30.

Using resources they have around them and exploring the abandoned apartments, this group of friends have plenty of provisions to survive but as contentions arise they need to explore the outside world and formulate a longer term plan. Jesse steps up to try to figure out a safe path and makes a strong courageous leader, leaving the safety of Rock 30, alone in order to help his friends.

Will Jesse be able to find a safe path through New York and are there any other survivors?

I must admit I found the pace of CHASERS slow, there were a few bits of entertaining banter but for most of the plot I wanted more information to provide greater interest. I felt that the writing lacked depth and with all the infected people and destruction around them, I never had any real sense of how dire or dangerous the situation was. The majority of the story was based in Rock 30 and focused on investigating the rooms there, I realise this is the first book in the series and I do have a few unanswered questions, which I am sure will be answered later, but there was a real surprise for me with the twist.

I never saw the twist coming and it took me by surprise, increased my overall enjoyment of CHASERS by two stars and made me excited for the next instalment. If you want to find out the twist then you need to give CHASERS a try, it is only a short read and I did end up enjoying it.


A slow but short read, I felt CHASERS lacked description, with all the chaos and destruction that was around, the majority of the book was holed up on a floor in Rock 30, raiding deserted apartments for anything to help them survive. I was a little disappointed until the unexpected and amazing twist, a real “I did not see that coming” moment. The twist put a smile on my face causing me to think that CHASERS was well worth a read and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


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  1. Chasers
  2. Survivors
  3. Quarantine





A midnight book worm who loves dystopian and young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. As long as the leading man is dead sexy, she's happy. [Becs no longer reviews for the site.]


Mardel February 23, 2013 at 4:57 am

Sounds good, and sounds like it should be interesting. I’m one who likes to learn about the world or setting as things progress, wordy information pauses tend to frustrate me, so it’s possible that I would enjoy having a little less information.

Now I can’t get this twist out of my mind. lol, I haven’t even heard of this book before, but now after reading your review, I REALLY want to know about this twist! :)


Becs February 23, 2013 at 10:17 am

Mardel, a short read yet a thrilling twist. I do hope you enjoy it. Come back and let me know.


pabkins February 26, 2013 at 2:45 am

Yes, I thought it was agonizingly slow as well. And for a zombie book there were only FOUR scenes really where the zombies were in the book. That just was not enough for me. I also didn’t connect with the characters.
Pabkins @ My Shelf Confessions


Becs February 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Thank you pabkins, I’m glad I was not the only one who found it slow. I agree zombie books need more action and some actual gore. The characters did lack depth and there wasn’t much to connect to, I do wonder if that was to hide the twist or did you see the twist coming?


Review: Chasers by James Phelan March 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm

[…] Book Chick City […]

Trisha August 8, 2013 at 3:50 am

I just got an ARC of book #3 from netgalley before realising it was #3. Sigh… Oh well, I found out the spoiler for book #1 from GoodReads but can’t seem to find the goods for book #2. 😛


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