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Data Runner | Sam A. Patel | Review

data runner cover
 Image via Goodreads

“In the not-too-distant future, in what was once the old City of New York, megacorporations have taken over everything. Now even the internet is owned, and the only way to transmit sensitive information is by a network of highly skilled couriers called “data runners” who run it over the sneakernet… When a mysterious stranger loads Jack’s chip with a cryptic cargo that everybody wants, he soon becomes the key figure in a conspiracy that could affect the entire North American Alliance.” edited from source

Data Runner centres around a rather unique premise which combines the idea of hand delivering important information with the intriguing art of parkour. In this version of the future important information is carried by ‘data runners’ via chips embedded in their skin. But being a data runner is no easy job, with people out to intercept the information at any cost – including cutting off the arms of the runners – it’s a dangerous world to be a part of. Our protagonist, math genius Jack Nill, is thrown into this unpredictable world in a desperate attempt to earn enough to pay off his father’s gambling debts.

At first I found the book fairly difficult to get into, the first few chapters are a bit of an ‘info dump’ and to be honest were quite confusing. Due to the setup and initial take over of technology explanations, the action doesn’t really pickup until we head towards the halfway point of the book which for me is a little late. Having said that the ending of the book does provide an interesting setup for a sequel which will hopefully be a smoother read now that the technology has already been explained. Despite all of the information provided on the technology front something I felt was lacking was more on how the world came to be that way. Again, this is an element I expect will be explored further later in the series but I still think it needed a little more in this first book to make the world more believable and the overall read more enjoyable.

To me, Data Runner seemed to be aimed more toward young male readers due to the characters introduced and, although slightly stereotypical to say, the technology heavy plot. Although that means I’m not personally in the target audience, I actually think this is a really positive thing as a lot of YA series seem to be written more for a female audience.

Overall Data Runner is by no means a bad book, the concept is unique and intriguing however I didn’t feel like it really fulfilled its’ potential. The characters and story itself unfortunately just weren’t for me, but having said that I think it would make a great holiday read for teens this Summer, particularly those who enjoy science fiction and technology based stories or have an interest in parkour.

 *Review of an eARC via Netgalley

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