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Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Night Runner" by Max Turner (Mini-Review by Robert Thompson)

Max Turner at Harper Collins
Order "Night Runner" HERE

INTRODUCTION:Night Runner” by Max Turner. Release Date: September 1, 2009. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Thanks to Stephenie Meyer, teen fiction and vampires is on fire and the past couple of years has seen an explosion of new series riding the popularity wave. One of the newest entries in this subgenre is Max Turner’s debut which was originally released in Canada last year.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Not quite 300 pages long, “Night Runner” is a nonstop, high-speed adventure/mystery/thriller starring 15-year-old Zack Thompson who discovers that he’s—what else—a vampire! The initial setup is actually pretty interesting with Zack living in a mental institution to care for his ‘condition’, but from there the book starts falling into more mundane territory including finding teenage love. Fortunately, the novel really picks up towards the end with some unexpected surprises and revelations. Plus, even though the book is undoubtedly the first in a series, the author does a reasonably good job tying up loose ends.

Max’s vampires meanwhile, are of the more generic variety, but he does institute a couple of cool twists like vampirisim being a retrovirus “that alters the DNA of the host” so they may develop certain ‘talents’ such as shapeshifting, reading people’s thoughts, being granted visions of the future, and so on. Unfortunately, it also means that most people infected with the virus don’t survive for more than a year, and those that do, eventually end up going mad, or what is known as ‘Endpoint Psychosis. The book also features vampire hunters, the Fallen—humans who serve vampires, and the mysterious Coven of the Dragon.

Writing-wise, “Night Runner” is a solid effort with Zack’s charming, humorous and energetic first-person narrative voice the book’s best quality. (Personally, I felt Zack’s innocence and naivety was a little hard to swallow, but I guess he has a reasonable excuse). A close second are the characters which also includes a decent supporting cast in Zack’s best friend Charlie, potential love interest Luna, uncle Maximilian, and the menacing Baron Vrolok.

In the end, “Night Runner” is a pretty enjoyable book . . . if you’re a teenager. Because of its lack of depth and PG presentation, adults might find the novel unsatisfying like myself. Therefore, I would mostly recommend “Night Runner” to teens, especially male readers since the book is less about romance, and more about action and adventure...


Harry Markov: daydream said...

Hey Robert, it's super to see you at it again. Retirement can't keep you away from this, huh? It sounds enjoyable and I think I would have loved it, if I wasn't already into hardcore urban fantasy. Plus, I am taking a break from vampires at the time being.

Don't you think the cover for this is amazing? It's the eyes.

Robert said...

Hi Harry! Yeah, it's nice to be writing again, even if it's only for a little bit :)

I hear you about taking a break from vampires. It seems like every other book has them nowadays.

I wouldn't say the cover is amazing. It didn't really blow me away, although it does have a nice vibe to it...

Alec said...

I gotta second Harry here Robert, the eyes are striking!

Nicola said...

I'm a female adult and reviewed this book last year when it came out in Canada and loved it! I am not a fan on Stephanie Myer, though, ugh, Max Turner is certainly more my style.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading for a few years now. Thats that more then 90 books. Your book is not bad at all. I like it, and am waiting for the next one. Its not hard core, but i like it. Thanks for writing it.

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