Light Runner

January 7, 2016
Votes: 1
Audience Young Adult
Word Count 60-80k (average/short)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Published Through Strange Fictions Press
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Rundown

Dara is an ordinary teenaged girl who comes upon an extraordinary find in Light Runner by Philip Brown. Living in an apartment with her dad, while mourning the recent loss of her mother, Dara discovers a silver and gold armlet in the apartment complex swimming pool. It emits an iridescent light and warmth, and then suddenly heals her knee injury. It seems to be good fortune finding this miraculous object, but it quickly starts looking more like a curse. Strangers follow her, her apartment gets broken into, she stumbles over a dead body, and her father goes missing. What follows is Dara’s quest to find her missing father and understand the significance of the healing armlet called the Jyotisha. She does her best to avoid the police as well as the mysterious Gunarik who is after her, but a video that captures her healing with the Jyotisha goes viral. Everyone knows who she is and it becomes harder to hide. With the help of a dog and her new friend Diego who she meets on the streets, Dara is determined to make sense of why all this chaos has found her.

Dara is a likable protagonist. She’s strong and smart, and she cleverly finds her way out of the most difficult situations. She takes matters into her own hands and sets out to save her father and defeat the bad guys without any adult help. While her reasoning for not getting help from the police is a bit of a stretch, it does make for an exciting story. Life on the streets of LA with other runaway kids enlivens the atmosphere, and Dara’s ability to stay hidden keeps readers cheering for this crafty teen. The healing Jyotisha also brings intrigue to the storyline. Its relation to her family’s past and its magical powers give an interesting supernatural element to the novel.

Brown’s use of dialogue to explain the plot is one of the novel’s downsides. Authenticity is lost when dialogue sounds more like the author talking to the reader than the characters talking to each other. At times, the characters’ motivations are not convincing but simply necessary to keep the story moving forward. Brown explains why some of the unrealistic things happen, and it helps readers understand the storyline, but it doesn’t allow the characters to honestly come to life. If he could have kept a more natural tone, and let the characters be more genuine, it would have been easier to fully immerse into this unique story.


The Recommendation

Light Runner is for readers who would enjoy following the mysterious and supernatural adventures of a determined teen protagonist. Those who like rooting for an unlikely hero will enjoy Dara’s quest to survive the LA streets on her own. Readers more interested in an exciting plot than character development will more likely find this book entertaining.

The Rating Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars (out of 5): Pretty good. For the right audience, this could be great. Sure, there were some issues, but it was still worth the read.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Plot
Cons: Dialogue

The Reviewer

Candi Sary

Candi Sary is the author of Black Crow White Lie, a shortlist finalist in the William Faulkner William Wisdom Writing Competition and semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Sary lives in coastal Southern California with her husband and three dogs now that her kids are grown. She can often be found surfing and paddle boarding in the waters of Newport Beach.

Visit Candi Sary‘s website.

Author’s Summary

When a powerful healing armband falls into the hands of a teenage girl, she’s thrust into a dangerous search for her father, the reasons behind her mother’s mysterious death, and the truth about herself.

Sixteen-year-old Dara Adengard would rather read graphic novels than do her homework and prefers the freedom of skateboarding to the restrictions of life with her military father. Stung by the recent death of her mother, Dara conceals her mom’s picture under a square of grip tape on her skateboard. But no matter how much Dara tries to keep a foothold on the past, she can’t ride away from her own destiny.

One evening, she discovers a silver and gold armlet with mysterious powers in the shadowy water of the swimming pool. When Dara holds it, it emits a light that seems to have been ignited by a star’s ray. Moments later, she is stunned to find that someone’s broken into her apartment, her father has vanished, and a dead body lies sprawled in the courtyard.  The police arrive, and Dara is sheltered by a neighbor. A text from her father’s cellphone seeks to pinpoint her location—but Dara realizes it’s not her dad.

A distant cousin, Gunarik, is on a relentless pursuit to reclaim a silver armlet called the Jyotisha. Forged from an ancient meteorite metal, it possesses the power to heal or wound. Driven to exorcise a childhood of betrayal, Gunarik must find Dara and take back his supposed birthright.

Evading the police, Dara escapes on a perilous quest for her father, begins to uncover her mother’s hidden past, and starts to realize the shocking truth about herself. Accompanied by a stray dog, Dara soars to sudden fame on the wings of a YouTube video that shows her using the Jyotisha to heal the handsome Diego of a gunshot wound. When the video goes viral, a famous TV talk show personality connects with her, and Dara is propelled from homeless runaway to worldwide sensation.

Short Description

When a powerful healing armband falls into the hands of a teenage girl, she’s thrust into a perilous search for her father, the reasons behind her mother’s mysterious death, and the truth about herself.


An armband that can heal wounds—but not the one in her heart.

Additional Links

Find it on Goodreads

Awards and Endorsements

There are currently no awards or endorsements listed for this novel.

You might also like...