Friday, September 04, 2009

Night Runner (YA)

Turner, Max. 2009. Night Runner. St. Martin's Press. 288 pages.

My name is Daniel Zachariah Thomson. Everyone calls me Zack. I live in the Nicholls Ward of the Peterborough Civic Hospital, and this is the story of how I died, twice.

Zach is an orphan living in a mental institution. And he's got issues. As in allergic to the sun, and being intolerant to almost all food. He lives on "strawberry flavored" shakes. (I had issues with his naivety there.) One of the night nurses, Ophelia, takes care of him--treats him almost like a son. The only other person Zach would consider a friend--a good friend--is Charlie. (Remember that Zach sleeps all day. He doesn't even get out of bed until the sun goes down. So he doesn't get around to making many friends.)

The premise to this one is simple, Zach is a vampire and doesn't know it. Until one night when an old man riding a motorcycle crashes into the lobby and gives Zach a strange message or warning. Suddenly Zach finds himself hunted and not knowing who to trust. He's not even able to trust his memories because apparently his dear old dad was keeping some big secrets from him.

I had some problems with this one. And I'm not sure if it's me or if it's the book. I know a few things are just me.

I had a hard time connecting with Zach. I felt a little disconnected from him, from the action. I felt there was some distance--perhaps intentional distance???--or maybe I felt it was more tell and not enough show? Another problem I had with the book, and I think this is unavoidable in some ways, is that I found it very predictable. There were things that I was able to pick up very early on that poor old Zach remained clueless about for almost the entire book--minus the last chapter or two. I think it is this that despite the "action" that happened along the way kept the pacing off for me. The action didn't feel like action. So even though he was being chased and he was off running and fighting and killing, I felt bored. UNTIL the last fifty or sixty pages.

One reason I didn't like the book--and this is all me--is that it was a bit too bloody for me. Yes, he's a vampire. Yes, vampires drink blood. But the descriptions of him killing and feeding were too graphic for me. (I can't go into the specifics, but there are TWO scenes that really pushed me over. That made me know once and for all that Zach was a character I could never like.)

I'm not the ideal reader for Night Runner. It's not my type of book. But it could be your type of book. If you want to read about non-sparkling vampires, if you want vampires that do more than write lullabies and stare at young girls while they sleep, then this might be the one for you.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


chrisa511 said...

I seem to like terribly, over done bloody so maybe i'll like this one :p Though predictability can be the end of a book for me sometimes. Either way, I think I'm going to give this one a try!

Ceri said...

Haha, I loved your summary at the end there: "If you want to read about non-sparkling vampires, if you want vampires that do more than write lullabies and stare at young girls while they sleep, then this might be the one for you."

That's definitely my kind of vampire book. I'm part of the old school 'vampires are vicious monsters and *that's* what makes them romantic' fans. Hehe. I like the sound of this plot though, you're right, it does sound kind of precitable and the main character sounds naive.

If I saw this in a book shop/library I'd pick it up. I don't know if I'll definitely go hunting for it though.

A really great review, Becky. :)

bks2plz said...

Would you be willing to review my new fantasy novel, Gateway to DreamWorld?

Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the fantasy.

Anastasia @ Here There Be Books said...

Though the problems you had with it are ones that'll probably be problems with me, too, I can't help but be intrigued by the more traditional approach to vampires (something I've been looking for in modern fantasy books). I'll get this from the library, if I can. :D