Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Night Road by A.M. Jenkins

This review was written by: C
Received: Library
Publication Date of Book: May 2008
Pages: 368
Stars: (3.5/5)

Short summary of the story:
Cole appears to be your normal everyday eighteen-year-old boy, aside from the fact that he's a vampire. Well, his kind prefers the term hemovore, or "heme" for short. Cole once lived in a small Ohio settlement until he was accidently turned by Johnny, an ancient heme, that, in the present day, has been running a fully functional heme colony at a location known as the Building. Cole enjoys the road and stops by occasionally to catch up with old friends. His most recent visit, however, is quite different. Johnny has requested Cole's presence and has a favor to ask, he wants Cole to train Gordon, the colony's most recent accident.
Cole, whose abilities lack in the mentoring department, holds little faith in himself for this task. He reluctantly agrees and hopes that he won't repeat the mistakes of his past. He is joined by Sandor, the one who turned Gordon, as they hope to make the young man an independent heme, who will eventually fend for himself and not draw attention to their kind. They hope that their travels on the road will allow Gordon to easily transition into his knew lifestyle, but there are so many well-thought-out plans that never go as expected, especially when you have a moody teen heme and a brooding Cole to contend with.

I was so glad when I discovered that A.M. Jenkins stuck with so much of the original vampire lore that I have grown to love, and I also enjoyed her own little twists to the hemes. Her characters were modern, yet held shattered pieces of their pasts that hinted at years of existence. These pieces appeared as relics of the hemes origins that they would never release, it gave them something to hold onto that brought back both happy and despairing memories. I found Cole to be the most interesting character. He viewed himself as an object outside of time, one that would forever witness the deaths of those around him as he was allowed to live. This is why he enjoyed the road so much, he would never stay too long in one place, so that he would never become attached. He also believes that it is impossible for hemes to die, even if the sun burned them to their very bones. He thinks that their shreds of existence, their consciousness, would still be tied to their remains, forever alive and unable to escape.
The hints at his past were perhaps my favorite aspects of the book. Cole was once an avid photographer and artist, taking photos and drawing his surroundings to remember important places, emotions, or events of his past. I found it to be quite sad when he would flip through his photographs and discard the snapshots that he could no longer recall.
Overall, I decided to give a rating of 3.5 stars because I felt that the story took a while to pick up. I did enjoy the events that transpired within the lives' of the characters (Jenkins did a phenomenal job at hinting and revealing the past lives of her characters, especially Cole), but I felt that the happenings of the story blurred together as Cole, Gordon, Sandor were just constantly moving from place to place. Many of the areas they passed through were similar and I just wish there had been a little something to give more edge to the story and maybe a bit more delving into each characters' past.

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