Book Review: End of Days
More vampires! Or rather, more of the twisted tale about these vampires, in the second volume of the Night Runner trilogy.
First of all, let me point out that this is Young Adult fiction and yes, I read YA fiction regularly. There's a lot of good lit out there under the YA label, and this one definitely counts as good lit. It's not dumbed-down or naive, and the story shines without resorting to steamy sex scenes or gratuitous violence. Quite refreshing, really.
So yes, vampires. But not your usual ones. Teenagers, decent kids who are doing their best to find their way in the world, including one (the main character, Zack) who has been sheltered in a psychiatric hospital for years, so the world is a new and daunting place for him. Add in the fact that the adults in their lives - vampires, vampire hunters, and the occasional werewolf - are using the kids as pawns in their own power-hungry games, and you have an engaging and unique coming-of-age tale. I mean, how many of us had to fight secret worldwide vampire organizations while trying to hang onto a sweet sixteen girlfriend? Just figuring out who you are as a teenager is hard enough, but when 'who you are' is 'a vampire,' things get complicated.
The action in this book, the second of the trilogy, is a bit more fast-paced than in Night Runner (book one of the trilogy). Of course, the first volume provides all the back story about the characters, which makes for a less frenetic pace. But in End of Days, the pace picks up, literally, with Zack and the other vampires running at lightning speed across the landscape, alternately chasing and being chased by...well, I'll let you read the book for that little detail. It wasn't what I expected, to be sure.
The thing I like best about this series is its realism. Vampires, you say? Realistic, you say? Here's the thing: The author never resorts to easy, magical 'outs' for his characters. The actions they take have consequences, often unintended ones, that they have to deal with. Their relationships with the other people in their lives are powerfully affected by the choices they make, and that isn't always pretty, but it feels very real. The fact that the narrator is a teenage boy who is just as bewildered by life as we all were at that age adds to the feeling that I'm not reading a story, but peeking into someone's life.
So if you're looking for a bit of paranormal adventure without so many sparkles, but with a sound storyline, a bit of humor, and a poignant look at teenage life, you should pick up this book. It will be worth your time.