Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I picked up Night Road at the library for one reason--A.M. Jenkins wrote it. Jenkins is the author of Repossessed, a book I liked a great deal.
Night Road is terrific, too. It involves a hemovore named Cole. Hemovores are humans--and Cole does consider himself a human--who live on blood. Though Cole looks like a teenager and always will, he is worn down by life experience. Lots of it. He's been walking the Earth for over a hundred years. He's pretty much a broken man, burdened by the knowledge of what he failed to do for his brother over a century ago and what he did to the woman he loved a few decades back.
Think some kind of lone noir hero, adhering to a code that keeps him alive but not really living.
Cole is contacted by the leader of the hemovore community because a new heme was "accidentally" created by the funny, kind Sandor. Sandor and Cole take the newby, a real teenager, out on a road trip to help him acclimate to his new existence. If the kid can't make the transition, Cole is charged with seeing to it that he meets a fate that Cole believes will be worse than death since he believes people like them can't be killed.
The journey provides Cole for a chance at redemption, a redemption he wasn't looking for.
This is a great book, but, as often happens with me, I don't see why it's YA. Cole may look like a teenager, but he sure isn't one. This guy is world weary. He isn't trying to separate himself from family. He isn't trying to determine his path in life. This poor guy isn't trying to do anything when we first meet him. In my post on Repossessed, I said that while that book was definitely YA (imho), it could just as easily have been an adult book if the devil had been placed in an adult body. With Night Road if Cole had become a heme at twenty-five or thirty or thirty-five or...you get my drift...the book could have worked just as well without changing anything.
The Plot Project: Is this a book that's plot was generated by a character wanting something and meeting obstacles to getting it? I don't think so, because Cole doesn't seem to want anything at the beginning of the book. Yes, he seems to have moved on to a better situation by the end, but it wasn't one he was seeking. This book might have begun with a situation--the classic road trip on which older characters guide a younger one. As with any situation, the author would then have to decide which character her book would be about. It sure isn't the real teenager who truly does have something he wants--to go back to his old life.
A marvelous book, whatever it is.