Sand Runner by Vera Brook is in the running for my favorite book of the year. With impressive character development, beautiful varied settings and just the right amount of drama, I was entranced from page one.
Title: Sand Runner: Book 1
Author: Vera Brook
Release: June 2017
Genre: Teen and YA Dystopian
In the near future, 16-year-old Kaiden Reed makes a bold and dangerous decision to enter the most brutal sports competition on the planet. One in which he will undergo a radical upgrade and become a new kind of athlete and a new kind of hero. Part human. Part machine. All Kai wants is a shot at a better life and to impress the girl of his dreams. But the stakes in the Race are higher, and the choices tougher than he ever imagined. The physical challenges are just the beginning.
This book was an adventure to end all adventures. Running for your life, wagers bet for or against you and everything depends on how well you perform. The team around you is invested in your victory and you must win at all costs. How do you feel? Saying Kai is overwhelmed is an understatement. Brook has effortlessly made the plot of this story flow like a gentle river and the reader is floating along with ease. The balance of drama, action and even romance is perfect and I can’t say enough about how immersed I was in the story line. I also really liked how familiar this book felt but there was always something new or interesting included in the book that helped it stand apart from similar books.
I was very invested in Kai and Emily’s story. For the first time in a long time, the main character was my favorite! I always seem to like secondary characters for some reason, but this time Kaiden is my favorite. I love his temper, I love his determination. He is the definition of love hard. He does everything hard! Train hard! Run hard! Get mad hard! I loved it. He was so passionate and I was really glad Brook made the choice to make him hot headed. All of his actions led to his growth so it was well worth it to watch him explode sometimes.
The world that Brook built was AMAZING. I think it was perfectly done. Going from setting to setting can be terrible in a book and lead to a ton of exposition, no action and just a boring book, but I loved every single new setting and location that was introduced. Brook does not let descriptions get in the way of the story and I love that. Just enough to get the gist, not more needed.
I loved the theme of perseverance in this book, not just the race aspect and how the runners had to really pull their strength from down deep, but also the main character has to keep working at his relationships, his growth and restraint throughout. Our main character, despite occasional temper tantrums, was always looking for a way to improve. He trained non-stop, he repaired broken communication and he pushed through some serious troubles. I love his drive.
This book was very easy to read. Brook used simple to understand concepts and word choices while also giving us a world that is nothing like what we’re used to. I was able to read through the book very quickly without any issues! If you like the Hunger Games and Maze Runner, you will LOVE this book.