Sunday 10 June 2012

Review: Taste by Kate Evangelista

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. (via Goodreads)

I've been looking forward to reading Taste ever since Kate announced that it would finally be published. I knew she’d been posting chapters of the book on her blog and had been going through the whole process of sending it to publishing houses, so I was incredibly excited when it finally became a reality for her. She's very eloquent on her blog; why expect anything else from Taste?

There’s always large risk involved when writing fantasy novels: how can you create an alluring species, intriguing alternative world, and captivating storyline without it being full of clich├ęs and/or inconsistencies? A challenge, indeed, though it seems to have paid off for Kate. Don’t expect any vampires or warewolves here – they aren’t the ‘tasters’. Instead, there are Zhamvy. Stunning in appearance like those Twilight vamps we know so well, but they’re not undead and they don’t live amongst humans. The main plot involves a love triangle, nothing out-of-the-ordinary there either, but because Kate has created such stable surroundings for the characters the story blooms into its own, catering to reader’s needs with some awesome twists and turns.

There were, however, some parts that I would’ve changed. Though fundamentally well-written from the perspective of the main character, Phoenix, I thought that the story as a whole might've been more effective if it were written in the present instead of past tense. Present tense is more immediate, and with the fast pace of the story it could have provided better flow. Also, there were parts of the dialogue which didn’t seem ‘snappy’ enough, for example a character would occasionally communicate information that had already been implied by the narrative.

But you could argue that those are just technicalities. Altogether, Taste is a well-executed and highly imaginative young adult novel. If you’re into fantasy romances but are growing jaded of the same old species’, this fun and endearing tale might just be what you’re looking for.

Rating: 4 / 5

To learn more about Kate, visit her blog. You can also purchase a copy of Taste for your Kindle by clicking here.