Summary: With no parents or family, and a complicated, undefinable medical condition, Zach has lived for the past eight years in a mental institution. One night Zach’s world opens up when a strange man runs his car into the facility, claiming that someone is after Zach and that he should run before it is too late. The uncle Zach never knew he had appears a short time later, telling Zach that he is a vampire, and before he died Zach’s father was a vampire hunter. Suddenly the pieces of Zach’s life are all falling to place, but getting out of the mental institution and facing his true nature prove to be more of a challenge than he thought they would be.
Number of Pages: 261
Age Range: 14-16
Review: Because I read Night Runner by Max Turner as an e-book, I had no opportunity to read the book description on the back cover. When Zach turned out to be a vampire I was completely surprised, because up until then I thought he had a mysterious, genetic-type illness.
I’m not usually a huge fan of vampire fiction, but I loved Turner’s take on the struggle between the animal instinct for blood and the conscious choice not to harm other humans faced by all vampires. Zach goes through a thoughtful journey of self-discovery while encountering some road blocks along the way.
What I enjoyed most about Turner’s book is that while vampire stories have previously fit into the fantasy genre, they are now legitimately finding their place in science fiction as being a vampire becomes a disease and a battle against human nature.
With many plot twists and a theme of survival, sometimes at any cost, Night Runner is an enthralling read that adds depth to the vampire genre.
“So, I fell asleep and had a dream about my father. This didn’t surprise me. I once read that dreams occur because your mind has to reorganize itself when you’re sleeping. So much happens during the day that you need to sort what is important from what is not. Some memories you keep close to the surface and others get buried. I think my mind was just trying to keep the memories of my father close to the top, where they belonged.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“‘You must understand, Zachary, vampires aren’t very different from normal people. They have choices to make, just as you will have choices to make. They can choose to be good, or to be something that is less than good. I suppose the huger for blood makes the choice more difficult for vampires, but it remains a choice.'” – Maximillian from Night Runner by Max Turner
“It was true that I had no idea what was going to happen to me, but there are many kinds of uncertainty, and uncertainty about the future is just one of them. There is also the uncertainty of where you fit in. Where you belong. Until my escape with Mr. Entwistle, I never felt as though I really belonged anywhere. My parents were dead. I had no brothers or sisters. No home of my own. And as much as I loved Nurse Ophelia, I certainly didn’t belong in a mental ward. But those days were over. At that moment, I knew my place. I knew what I was. The problems that had made my life miserable back at the ward – my reaction to the sun, my food trouble, my transfusions, my bouts of anger, the need to be alone – thses things had always been shrouded in mystery, because no one could explain why I was like this, why I was so different. I’d been waiting for an answer. For a cure. Well, the waiting was over. I was a vampire. A creature of the night. Inhuman. Beyond human. Stronger.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“Werewolves? It was nonsense. Then I laughed. I was a vampire now. It was sort of like a doctor not believing in a dentist.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“I look back at this moment with a mixture of sadness and something else. Understanding, maybe. Or acceptance. I’m a vampire. Sometimes I wish I could live on tofu and alfalfa sprouts, but I can’t. And I understand that I’m not consistant. I don’t always act the same way. I’m a nice guy as often as I can be. As my Uncle Maximilian said, I have a choice. And I choose to be good. Until I get hungry. Then I’m something that is less than good. Then I’m a killer.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“Blood for a vampire is life. Another day. Another week. Another month. Another year. You can’t imagine how this felt, to drink life. I was undead, and then for a moment I was more than alive. Let’s leave it at that.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“I couldn’t move. It was as if Mother Nature had forgotten to equip me with any real tools for dealing with trouble. I wondered if this was a human failing. In nature programs, other animals could dod all kinds of things when they were threatened.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner
“‘Because you are a vampire, because you are immortal, you think that time is not your enemy, but it is,’ he said. ‘Time is a thief. It will take everything from you. All of your friends, the ones you love, they will die centuries before you. All that you value will be stripped away. Music will change. Your language will change. Your religion. Everything will change but you. Cling to the past and it will drive you insane.'” – the Baron from Night Runner by Max Turner
“I wished at that moment that there were some way to back in time. I would have returned to the bonfire and started all over again. I felt cheated. Like this could have been a different story if I’d just done a few things differently. It seemed a terrible injustice – that I’d spent all those years alone in a mental ward only to die so soon after tasting real life for the first time. But life is like that sometimes. The things you want most are impossible and there’s nothing you can do about it.” – Zach from Night Runner by Max Turner