Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of Breath - Blair Richmond

Nineteen-year-old Kat Jones has been a competitive runner since she was a young girl, but after her mother's death, the path her life was supposed to take begins to crumble around her -- until one day, she finds herself on the run in a literal sense, this time in a race for her very life!

Kat's journey takes her to the Pacific Northwest town of Lithia, the place of her last good memories, of the days when her mother was still alive. But soon after her arrival, strange things begin to happen in Lithia -- and when one of her new friends disappears under mysterious circumstances, Kat begins to realize that Lithia's inhabitants are not all of this world. Worst of all, she is falling in love with one of these otherworldly locals, and the friend who hopes to save her has secrets of his own.

As Kat tries to rebuild her life, she is also training for a race that will turn out to be her biggest challenge yet, as she must outrun not only the demons of her past but the demons of the here and now, who threaten her very existence and that of the entire town.

At once a paranormal love story and an environmental allegory, Out of Breath offers an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Out of Breath
Author: Blair Richmond
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Ashland Creek Press
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Rebecca from Ashland Creek Press for sending me a copy of this book. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 3.5/5

Kat has been on the run, and is now coming full circle. She is back in the town she was born in, and she is hoping that she has run far enough from her past to settle down for a while. She makes friends with the locals, finds a place to live and to work, and has her pick of two of the towns most eligible young men. Kat is not quite sure that this is her life now, and when a murder destroys the sense of peace surrounding the town, she realizes that she might have to run yet again. 
Out of Breath is an interesting tale, one that brings together vampires and vegans. It is an eco-friendly read, especially since Kat is a vegan. The outdoor beauty of Lithia, the mountains, and the competitive atmosphere of those hoping to run the upcoming race all factor in to make this an idyllic read. It could have been written on those merits alone without the addition of vampires. Even so, the vampires aren't necessarily of the norm, and Kat will have to decide who she can trust once she makes some realizations of her own. Though this is the first novel in a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone. There is resolution at the end of the book, though it is left open-ended to continue with the next book in the trilogy. 
I liked Kat, and I liked Alex. I even liked Roman. However I found that though they were all drawn to each other, there wasn't any definitive reason as to why they liked each other. They seemed to be a little flat, and their relationships with each other and past history is left in question and is not wholly believable. I wanted a more in depth look at the inner workings of the characters, particularly Alex and Roman. I wanted to know why they set their sights on Kat, and what made her so special to them. 
I did enjoy the book, and I was intrigued by the vampire mythos used in the book. I liked the incorporation of Kat's vegan diet, and how it in turn brought another outlook or aspect to the read. Out of Breath is a fast-paced read, and readers will gobble it up in a few short hours. I am left to wonder what will happen next to Kat, especially since there are things and beings hinted at that haven't even been formally introduced into the story yet. 
All in all, this is a haunting and inspired read. Though there are vampires in Out of Breath, the book is not just another vampire novel. There are other elements at play, and it will be interesting to see what happens next as Kat's past and more of the supernatural world is revealed.

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