Taste by Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication Date: April 30, 2012
Rating: 5 stars
Source: Ecopy provided by the author
(Old review - original posted HERE on June 20, 2012)
Summary (from Goodreads):
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans. When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.
What I Liked:
The whole book! Truly, I loved this book. First, the characters. Phoenix is so likable. I can empathize and get in her head and understand exactly why she did things. She's reckless at times, but it's not that stupid reckless that leaves readers thinking "What?! Why would she do that?!". Phoenix rarely acts ignorantly. When she makes her decisions, she knows what she's doing, and she accepts the consequences of the decisions. She handled the change that Dray presented in her life pretty well. She's got a fiery temper that I love, because I've got a pretty bad one myself. I can understand this girl.
And Demitri. The hot-and-cold, responsible, duty-bound prince. He's not the flirty kind that leaves Phoenix wondering what's going on. He takes the job of being the crown prince seriously, and he doesn't want Phoenix to mess up anything. Luka is almost the opposite. He's playful, charming, and encourages Phoenix to explore the Zhamvy world. I liked both guys, but I think halfway through, the readers could tell which guy Phoenix would probably end up with. And in the end, both guys were still good characters. Neither one of them turned evil and wanted to kill everyone and take over the world. Neither one of them wanted to kill each other over Phoenix. I usually don't like love triangles, but in this case, it worked nicely.
The type of paranormal fiction that Ms. Evangelista drew upon was a breath of fresh air. I totally expected this book to be about vampires, because I saw that it was about "flesh-eaters". Don't be fooled. This is not a vampire book. Nor is it a zombie book. I like the type of creature that Ms. Evangelista has created. The Zhamvy are original, but has bits and piece of creatures that readers already know about, so it's not completely new and surprising. The setting of the Zhamvy palace is almost surreal. I wish it were a real place, because I'd love to see it.
Ms. Evangelista's writing style is amazing. I believe this is her first novel, which surprises me, because this book is so well-written. The story just seems to flow perfectly. I usually don't like first person points of view, but Ms. Evangelista wrote this book with such detail and precision that I didn't mind much about the first person perspective. Once I started this book, it was hard for me to put it down. I only did so in order to get a couple hours of sleep!
What I Did Not Like:
I think I would have liked to know more history behind the Zhamvy. Without giving too much away, I can say that readers learn about one king and his life, but I wish that I could have read more about other stories of the Zhamvy. It would made the race seem more real, to know about how they came about, how they've lived, and so on. But chances are, that's probably just me saying this.
I also didn't really feel must sympathy towards Phoenix when it came to her mother's death. I just didn't care enough. I know it drove her decision to help Dray and the Zhamvy, and that Phoenix talked about it with her roommate Preya, but I feel like the author didn't do the best job of making the readers care about this death. The same with Phoenix's father. I really didn't care about him. I completely forgot about him until the end of the book. And even Phoenix's situation with him wasn't truly resolved. But this did not detract from the overall plot of the story, which was good.
Would I Recommend It:
Yes! The pros of this book are too many to name. This is appropriate for young adults.
5 stars. There are TWO companion books to this one, Savor and Fervor, and I cannot wait to read them!
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