Vampires are in vogue right now, possibly just in the undead line behind zombies. Veganism is also getting a few good moments in the spotlight these days, so it is no surprise that the two are combined in Out of Breath, the first book in a new trilogy by the northwest writer Blair Richmond.
The book features a young protagonist named Kat Jones who is on the run, in more than one way, and finds her way to the town of Lithia where she spent her younger years. Kat’s background is a good bit vague in the beginning, so it takes a while to find out much about her besides the fact that she is a runner and is on the lam from her past life. She lucks out and gets a part time job at the local running store and housing (with the owners of that running store) rather quickly and then starts to settle into the small and strange town. Men are throwing themselves her way left and right and she has two suitors, Alex and Roman, who do not like one another one bit. Something seems a bit off with the both of them and as you wind through the book to the Cloudline race their story eventually comes out.
I’m not too up on the latest batch of YA vampire/zombie/supernatural books, so I don’t know how this compares. For me, there is a lack of something (response?, interest?) when Kat discovers there are vampires in town. Roman is a vampire? I’ll just get into the car with him for a drive then. Her reactions are a bit too blase and rushed and there could have been more nuance in some of the climactic scenes. I also wish there was a bit more depth to her character. I keep wanting Richmond to go into more detail in regard to her story (which does come to light more at the end). A few elements seem to happen too quickly and left me wanting more and I didn’t quite get how these vampires hang out in town without much notice. Then again, it is a fantasy novel, so I may need to drop the logic just a wee bit.
The good thing is that I was left wanting more. The story is enjoyable overall and I read it in basically one sitting with a break for lunch. I would have liked a book that took place over the same amount of time but was twice the length. As a runner, I was pleased to note many of the references and it was grand to read about Kat going to the local co-op for tofu sandwiches. Heck yeah. Those sort of details really made it work for me. I also liked the environmental spin in the book, which I imagine makes it stand out a bit from that standard vampire/zombie/supernatural fare out there. Although we’re in a town with castle and a vampire running about it seems perfectly normal and no big deal that Kat is a vegan and goes to visit the Redwoods. I will certainly be interested in picking up the second book, Ghost Runner, when it comes out to continue to follow the story and find out more about the circumstances that led to Kat arriving in Lithia in the first place.