Data Runner - Sam A. Patel You can also read this review on Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews.Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!Actual rating: 2.5 StarsRed Tail turns her attention back to her thin screen, and we walk in silence for a few minutes, giving me a chance to take in everything she's just told me. But soon her expression changes, seemingly from some disturbing piece of information she's just received."What is it?" I ask."Look, you've come into this at a very awkward time. This is going to sound paranoid, but it's the best piece of advice I can give you right now. Trust no one. Do you hear me? No one.""Wouldn't no one include you?""That's your choice."In the near future, megacorporations have taken over what was once New York City. Without the Internet, important information is passed through a network of "data runners" who physically run information from place to place, carrying it in chips imbedded in their arms. Teenage math genius Jack Nill chooses to become a data runner so that he can help his father out of a gambling debt. But when Jack receives cargo that everyone wants, his life is soon in danger. Teaming up with his best friend, Dexter, and a fellow data runner girl who goes by the code name Red Tail, Jack has to outrun his pursuers before they find him.Over all, I have mixed feelings about Data Runner. On one hand, I like the concept a lot. On the other hand, I didn't feel like the book reached its potential.The book started off rather confusing for me. The reader is thrown right into the plot without much explanation. A lot of unfamiliar terms are thrown out into the open and you just have to try to keep up. It does start to piece together after a while … but I have to say, for almost the first fourth of the book or so I had next to no idea what was happening a lot of the time––especially because a lot of the dialogue is like this:"Those EEPROMs all use a modified Floating Gate MOSFET for their storage mechanism. It works like a built-in failsafe. Any attempt to pull the data matrix directly from the EEPROM will trigger a hot-carrier injection into the gate dielectric and wipe it out completely."Uhhh…?Maybe it's because I'm not all that tech-savvy, but … yeah. Reading something like that is just another language to me.The pace picked up a bit for me once I got about a third of the way into the story. Once Jack is a data runner and there are all these crazy people after him, it gets more exciting. There are a lot of chase scenes and whatnot, which were able to hold my attention most of the time.Also, like I've said, I thought it was a cool concept. There was a lot of creativity in the idea of data running, and it was pretty different from most books I read.However, some things really took away from the book for me. For one, there was some painfully bad dialogue. I mean … real bad. "This," he catches my reflection in the blade, "this is not for making ice cream." He pauses for drama like a bad actor. "Not I scream," he finishes, "this is for making you scream."I … Yeah, I don't even know.(Also as I typed that, I realized the punctuation is atrocious. But yeah, moving on.) The book also struck me as being a bit racist. The main villain is this Japanese guy named Mr. Ito, who basically runs around hacking off people's arms with a katana. Right … because every Japanese person owns a katana.On top of that, he's just a pretty flat and two-dimensional villain. So whenever he showed up I was just like:Speaking of which, I just didn't feel much of a connection to any of the characters. Jack is pretty much just a Gary Stu––a math prodigy, outsmarts everyone, yada yada. I didn't find anything compelling in his character.Probably Red Tail was the only character I was close to liking, but I still felt pretty "mehhh" about her. She was a pretty typical sassy female lead and the relationship between her and Jack felt a little too rushed and forced to me.In the end, I found this book to be fun for the most part, and the idea was intriguing. It just wasn't fleshed out enough, and it just wasn't that memorable or compelling for me.- Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews