Author: Max Turner
Genre: Paranormal (YA)
Series: 1st in a series
For Zack Thomson, life in the Nicholls Ward wasn't so bad. After his parents died, he developed strange allergies, and the mental institution was the only place where he could be properly looked after. As strange as it was, it was home. But that all changes the night a stranger on a Harley crashes through the front doors and tells him to run. Along with his best friend Charlie and a girl he may or may not be falling in love with, Zack does just that: run. Under the cover of night, hiding amongst the shadows, he races for the truth.
Night Runner is a pretty original take on the concept of vampire. It is a Young Adult novel, but lacks a main thread of romance that is common in YA books today. Yes, there is a possible love interest, but the focus of the story is on the growth and development of the main character, and the adventure and mystery of the plot. The writing was a perfect example of a teenager's point of view. . As was the plot. There was nothing explicit or dirty, and most of the violence was played down so Night Runner is a pretty clean read. If it was a movie it would probably be rated PG...compared to the violence and sex that are common in YA today, it was positively pristine lol.
The book was very fast paced and there was a lot of focus on the plot which I liked. It packs a lot of information, action, and characters all at once...like a super-fast punch to the face of information. Unfortunately, I was slightly put off by the characters. The character descriptions were pretty vague, leaving me a bit detached in places, but the overall effect was good. I loved Zack's interactions with the other patients in the mental ward. When he does a kind of waltz with "The Chicago Man" it was hilarious, and at the same time very sweet. He obviously cares about other people, and is not your traditional mindless, blood-sucking vampire. Zack's best friend Charlie was cool too. He seemed like the kind of guy that you loved to hang out with, even though he probably got you grounded 5 times a week. It's good that he sticks by Zack's side despite his living in a mental institution, and he even aids and abets Zack when he is on the run from the police. That, is the mark of a good friend if you ask me :)
I also really enjoyed all of the pop culture references. I always knew what the author was talking about in regards to things like Darth Vader, and The Hobbit, The Matrix, and several other examples. If I missed one then it went way over my head to the point that I didn't realize I missed one. I loved that I felt like I was constantly part of an inside joke with these moments, though I suppose if you aren't up on your pop culture you won't feel as warm and fuzzy about these moments as I did.
I had trouble figuring out who to trust and why, which I suppose was a big point. There is one thing that kind of bugs me in the end. It is a super huge spoiler, so I won't say it in the review...but lets just say it makes me really dislike Zack. You spend the whole book liking him and identifying with him, but in one move, he killed all of that for me. It isn't even so much his action, but his thoughts regarding his actions. I suppose everything turns out alright in the end, but he is so uncaring about a devastating act that I was just left with a sour taste in my mouth.All the twists and turns definitely did lead to a suspenseful and surprising ending though. Overall, I give it a 7.5/10. I will be reading the sequel when I get a chance :)
Happy Hump Day Lovelies!!