Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"The Taste of Night" by Vicki Pettersson

Title: "Taste of Night"
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Mass Market Paperback:
448 pages
Publisher: Avon Books (March 27, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0060898925
ISBN-13: 978-0060898922

After reading “Scent of Shadows” by Vicki Pettersson I was left ecstatic with the Urban Fantasy genre as a whole even more as it was my fourth book into the genre. While “Stray” offered great amount of sexual tension and feline shapeshifters, “Halfway to the Grave” lots of action and sarcasm and “Touch the Dark” mix from mythology, magic and intrigued, it was “Scent of Shadows” that defined the genre for me. Vicki Pettersson pulled out a whole new world out of the nothing, relying on almost nothing known to human lore apart from the zodiac and comic books.

“Taste of Night” grabs your attention immediately and by the time you are finished with it, the Zodiac world is richer, more fully developed and as hell more real. The story is too complex to lay here in short. I tried and it turned out as an essay rather than a review, so I will keep it simple. It follows Joanna Archer as she has to manage to save Las Vegas from a lethal virus, which is activated sexually; kill Joaquin, the man, who ruined her life; maintain her fake identity as Olivia Archer, her dead sister and regain her position in the Zodiac Troop, after being kicked out for disobeying orders and bringing the virus into the sanctuary.

Of course much more happens in between the 400 pages. Old characters are further developed like Hunter, who is bound to Joanna after she passed the aureole to him in the first book. Tekla, who spent the first book as a mental patient, is now in her full power and the readers learn more about her personality and abilities. New characters are introduced in the face of Marlo, Riddick and Jewell, who fill the missing star signs.

The newest elements introduced in the book come in the shape of the changelings, who appear to be preteens. They know about the war between Shadow and Light and through their belief do the Zodiac troops actually exist. The changelings also appear to be separated into two camps, Light and Shadow, and morph into hideous monsters, when they sense an agent from an opposite troop. One of their other powers is to grant their own auras to agents in order to shield the agent’s identity.

The original manual seems to be the most important manual for the Zodiac troops as it contains how the prophecies about the Kairos aka Joanna will turn out. However as much as these answers are needed, the original manual seems to be lost at least in the Las Vegas valley. However Joaquin collects many manuals from across different towns, trying to find clues leading to the original manual. In the end after Joaquin’s death Joanna takes up that task.

Now although I found this book to be quite excellent, I have one huge issue, which is the cause of all the other problems. Joanna is stubborn and stupid when it comes to her actions towards the shadow agents especially Joaquin. Her motivation is crystal clear and understandable and I accept that, but seeing how she failed the first time with the attack and knows the consequences if she worked before her troops back, she does it again and fails, because of her angst moments. Seeing how the thought of that man makes her unstable, it is not advisable to go out again and again to hunt him down.

Then comes the love triangle between Hunter and Ben. I would definitely like to see her in relationship with Hunter, since they know more intimacies about each other because of the aureole exchange. She knows she can trust him and yet she says no, but regrets it and longs for him at points. Joanna then risks compromising herself as she returns from the dead with her own face through Jasmine, her changeling, and has sex with Ben in order to give him immunity, even though she knows that only a kiss can do pretty much the same. If you ask me, having Joanna kiss him in Olivia’s skin would set the ground for a really interesting triangle, having Ben fall for Olivia. But that is only me on that matter.

As a conclusion I have to say that this book rocks immensely and its flaws with Joanna are only minor ones that are defined mainly through personal tastes in preferences.

I give it 8/10


cj said...

I've read the first book in this series and have the second but haven't read it yet.

The first was a strange read for me. I loved the start and the ending but the middle lost me. It was strange.

You've made the second seem like something I need to get around to reading, however. Thanks for that.


daydream said...

Thanks for the comment. I think that it's because Vicki didn't abide rules, when she wrote it. Urban Fantasy usually places mythological figures, legends and superstitions in the modern world and well Vicki goes on to creating something totally. The series is worth reading, even with its flaws.

Christine said...

Thanks for the review. I have this book in my *huge* TBR pile and really want to get to it soon! So many books, so little time...

I take it you'll still be reading The Touch of Twilight ?

daydream said...

I don't have the third book yet. I am going to trya nd contact the publisher and beg for a review copy. I am still a bit new and I have connections to build, but I know the feeling of not having enough time to read. Simple, gah! I hope thsi year to manage and swallow it. The book is amazing! Simply wow, apart from the small issues.

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