Night Runner: Good book for teenage boys

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA young adult fantasy book reviews Max Turner Night RunnerNight Runner by Max Turner

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.

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 produce a decent supporting cast: 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 like myself might find the novel unsatisfying. 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…


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ROBERT THOMPSON (on FanLit's staff July 2009 — October 2011) is the creator and former editor of Fantasy Book Critic, a website dedicated to the promotion of speculative fiction. Before FBC, he worked in the music industry editing Kings of A&R and as an A&R scout for Warner Bros. Besides reading and music, Robert also loves video games, football, and art. He lives in the state of Washington with his wife Annie and their children Zane and Kayla. Robert retired from FanLit in October 2011 after more than 2 years of service. He doesn't do much reviewing anymore, but he still does a little work for us behind the scenes.

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