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I’d seen this book advertised on Amazon about a year ago, and it’s one that kept calling my nam to read as the premise sounded so interesting, and completely up my street. However, whilst it is interesting, it also needs a bit of work.

Here’s the synopsis:

The Runner – the first book in the young adult dystopian Avi Bloom series…

Ten years ago the president of the United States declared that global warming had reached a tipping point from which it would not recover. In answer to this dilemma, modern technology was shut down. The elderly and other volunteers could opt to live out the rest of their lives in a virtual world, but all others were left to fend for themselves.

Avi Bloom lives in a world in which each family must contribute one child as a runner. A runner risks life and limb to travel from village to village delivering news and other small items. Avi is one run shy of retiring when she discovers that whole villages are disappearing, leaving only a few dead bodies and the youngest children behind. Now, Avi must find out who or what is responsible for these missing people as she goes on a journey and discovers friendship, love, and betrayal. She also discovers that the forces behind these disappearances are much larger and more frightening than she could ever have imagined.

This is a young adult novel with mild violence.

The premise is interesting – a world with the power turned off, a year to prepare – safe guarding elderly in virtual reality [how, if there’s no power?]. Every family contributes their eldest/first born to be a runner, delivering messages to other towns and villages and bringing them back – performing trades etc.

Avi is our main protagonist. She was trained from a much younger age to be a runner, and she also has doubled the required number of runs she had to complete in order to repay her adoptive family for looking after her when her mother died and her father disappeared. [Typical hero in the making, then?].

Avi has heard about the disappearing villages, but doesn’t think it’ll happen in her patch. But of course, it does, and now Avi is involved to solve the problem. After rescuing some children from the most recent disappeared village Avi is tasked with finding out more information regarding what happened, and possibly find the parents.

So she sets out on a Quest. Gathers some followers. Decides she going to find Daddy rather than solve the Quest.

Add some weird magic that isn’t explained nor necessary, plus if this is the future why would there be magic?

I think my main problem with this book was that far too much happened and jumped around in that it didn’t allow the deeper aspects of the book develop. There was also only 17 chapters, but at chapter 13 we’re still in Mall, not gathered all the followers and having some instaromance, an of course, a love triangle and an evil adversary.

I feel that if things had been fleshed out, the ending could have been justified. I wanted to love this book, I wanted it to be the next best thing, however, I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the second book. I’ll have to have a think about it…

Have you read this one? What did you think?