Meet Jason Chaser, hover car racer.  
He won himself a place at the International Race School, where racers either make it or they crash and burn.  Jason is a champion hover car racer but now he's pitted against the best racers on the planet!  But he’s an outsider, he’s younger than the other racers.  His car is older.  And someone doesn’t want him to succeed. 
Now Jason isn’t just fighting for his place on the starting line, he’s racing for his life.

I was given this book as a gift from my parents because I’d read and fallen in love with several of Reilly’s other novels.  I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy reading Hover Car Racer simply because of the fact that it has a younger target audience and I feared that, like many other books that I adored when I was thirteen, I would not be able to overlook the simplicity of the writing or predictability of the plot now that I’m older.  But, all I can say is; I should have trusted my mother’s judgement!!!

Jason Chaser, a hopeful youth from a humble background, dreams of making it onto the national stage for hover car racing. Following the conclusion of a local derby Jason is offered a position at the International Race School for sheer his determination during an impossible race. Accepting the invitation, Jason and his younger brother, the Bug, find themselves in Tasmania (now a privately owned training centre) and in the middle of a political conspiracy, which threatens Jason’s position at the racing school and his life.  Exiled and persecuted, both on and off the track, Jason must fight with everything he has to make his dream become reality and get through with his life intact.

I really loved this novel.  I found it funny how, despite the systematic and simple plot, I was kept on the edge of my seat, my nerves jittering, throughout my entire reading.  A kid from modest beginnings fights with all he has and, against all odds, makes his way to the top to take on the best in the world.  And yet, it was so much more.  The pace of the book was intense, even for Matthew Reilly.

The characters where relatable and the plot realistic (well, as realistic as a futuristic story about hover cars can be).  I loved that Jason didn’t always win – losses made the wins that much more exciting.  I also appreciated the fact that, while everyone sees Jason as a hero – fearless and unyielding, he is human.  Jason has fears and doubts and is terrified of the danger that awaits him and threatens everyone he loves.  

I seriously don’t know how Reilly does it.  I found myself cheering for Jason and Bug as they cross the finish line against all odds, bristling in anger at the politics of the races and the actions of the power-hungry officials, and celebrating with the Argonaut team as they overcome even the most dangerous of obstacles.  My heart never stopped racing and I dreaded the moment I would be forced to put it down for some other commitment.

I’ve never come across a Matthew Reilly book that I didn’t like and Hover Car Racer is certainly no exception.

Cliché, predictable and I loved every second of it.  I would definitely recommend this book to any middle aged reader or anyone looking for a light read that will still get their heart racing.

Warning: if you aren’t a fan of swearing, take into consideration that there are a few moments where swearwords have been used.  There is, however, none of the skull crushing or gut spilling that is often a feature in Reilly’s books.  

Rating: 3.5/5

Know anyone who would like this book or want to get your hands on it yourself?  Purchase it from Amazon here or head to Book Depository here.