I can't exactly describe the genre of the story. It's more of a mixture between YA Contemporary and Fantasy. The fantasy part comes in the form of a mysterious armlet with the strange powers to heal. In possession of Jyotisha (the armlet's name), Dara travels in a quest to find her missing father. Along the way, she picks up a few friends and finds herself in the middle of a media circus. It's truly a fascinating premise, and the author does indeed manage to interest me in the story, despite a somewhat lacking feeling/spark in the writing itself.
The plot sends Dara being chased by various villains and healing people along the way. The armlet's powers seem miraculous and draws the attention of some dangerous characters. But the strongest part of the story isn't in the action. It's in Dara's personal journey, and my favorite part of the novel is when Dara finds Diego. Their relationship is what I remember the most from LIGHT RUNNER. (Oh, and I can't forget about the dog.)
There is a strong cast of villains in LIGHT RUNNER. But the one who strikes out the most is the one who is the most manipulative and subtle one with the ability to move pieces around the board without getting the pieces to realize they were being manipulated. I didn't even see that villain until the very end of the book, and she/he is a great one. The planning he/she put into Dara and her path is amazing, and she/he is a worthy contender for the Jyotisha.
As I have said once before, Dara's personal journey is perhaps one of the most important part of the novel. Pay particular attention to it.
The ending leaves off with a surprise, and I'm curious to see what would happen next and what would Philip Brown would bring to the table. I would love to see the future of characters such as Diego, Dara, and especially, Mercy.
Rating: Three out of Five