Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Taste of Night - Vicki Pettersson

The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson (published April 2007)

Why was this still on my TBR pile? I think I'd read the first book and kind of been blown away by it, but for some reason the second book just fell by the wayside as I got hooked on other series. I don't remember the specifics of Book 1, but managed to pick up the gist through reading book 2.

Joanna Archer is the Kairos - equal parts light and shadow, she currently fights as the Archer (sagittarius) for the Zodiac of Light in Las Vegas. As the Agents of Dark release a terrifying epidemic on the city that will kill both Agents of Light and innocent humans, it will be up to her to put things right and by doing so fulfil the second half of the Kairos prophecy.

I enjoyed this book very much, but I didn't like it as much as the first book - hope that makes sense. More about my quibbles and niggles later in the review. First the stuff I liked.

This book like the first is full of quotable dialogue, snappy banter and backtalk. Regular readers of the blog will know this is one of the things I love about UF. And Joanna is another UF heroine who has a fine line in the bitchy comment department.
Troy was full of shit, but I wasn't going to say that to Suzanne. I made it a rule to never say anything bad about my friend's boyfriends until I was sure they were well and truly out of the picture - preferably dead.
This is also probably the only UF you'll read which features the pencil test. :)

Joanna is so sure of herself and her beliefs, she gets very tunnel-visioned. This kind of application of self can be both constructive and destructive. It's ultimately only the fact the she's able to pull herself out of this focus that saves her. And will probably save her future as well, at the end of the book, she's no longer the same person she was at the beginning. I'm hoping this character growth is carried on into the next story.

She's not a heroine that you instantly warm to, probably why book 2 has been on my TBR pile for a while. She's ambiguous and I actually quite like not knowing which way she may go. It's quite clever that Vicki Pettersson leaves us with the possibility she may join the Agents of Darkness and you believe it could be possible.

It's the other characters that fall into Joanna's sphere and humanize her, that help you root for her. Hunter mentioned later on, and Cher (Olivia's friend) who while apparently ditzy comes out with some great lines.
"Olivia's trying to decide if she wants to munch rug, but first she's looking for cheap sex with a stranger and no strings attached, just to make sure."
The sort of character who'll be quite happily talking along and then all of a sudden will say something that makes you double take. :)

Just like the previous book I think most of my favourite bits happen in the comic store. I just love the whole idea of the manuals and the light and dark comics. And ordinary people reading them - including Olivia's best friend - without knowing what it is that they're reading.

Quibbles

This second book took a little getting into, it didn't hook me from the start. It wasn't until around page 67 that I'm completely 'into' the story.

Hunter and Joanna have great light the page up chemistry, you can practically feel the hormones coming off the page. But she is still hung up on Ben, the boyfriend from her past life. My problem is when she's not with Ben (which is the vast majority of the book as he believes she's dead) I want her to be with Hunter. But when she is with Ben I can see it's kind of sweet and then I'm just left wanting her to make a decision. Because it feels obvious to me that she cannot be with Ben. Then I'm left feeling frustrated, which might be the effect the author is going for? But I hope this issue is going to be resolved soon.

I am still confused about Joanna's secret identity and who does and doesn't know who she actually is. This is something I have to try and forget about as I'm reading, as thinking about it too much causes my brain to turn to mush. Speaking of being confused - the original manual - one master copy, or one copy per city? I get the feeling at some point Joanna is going to be looking for this important book but I didn't quite grasp how many there are. Although I think the worldbuilding is fascinating and original, some of it just goes straight over my head.

Even given the men in her life and the fact that she's had to take on her sister's friendships to maintain her secret identity. I felt for a lot of this that Joanna is quite isolated as a character, now my feelings on this did change slightly, I feel maybe she is making a place for herself. At the end of the book I think I am quite hopeful about the next installment, which I've already ordered. :)

Book 1 - The Scent of Shadows
Book 3 - The Touch of Twilight
Book 4 - City of Souls (Jul 2009)

4 comments:

Jan said...

I read the first book in this series and also liked it. I have the second and haven't read it so I'll have to move it higher in my stack. Thanks for reviewing the book and reminding me of it!

LesleyW said...

Jan - that's exactly the same situation that happened to me. If it wasn't for TBR Wednesday I'd probably still have it in my TBR pile.

Darlynne said...

I've read all three books and was monumentally frustrated with Joanna's insistence on doing things her way, damn the consequences. She is learning to play with others and I believe this is what Ms. Pettersson intended, but it makes for tough going in terms of warming up to her. Joanna and Hunter are definitely good together and Ben's situation is simply heart-breaking; really, can that one possibly end well?

LesleyW said...

Darlynne - I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets a little frustrated with Joanna. :) But I think you're right that she's growing. I think it's hard when your motivator has been revenge to give that up and hopefully it shows she's maturing. I'll have to wait til I get my hands on book 3, to see how it pans out.

I am such a Hunter fan, but then when Joanna is with Ben it's sweet. So I think VP is balancing that reasonably well. Though I'd probably still come out a Joanna/Hunter 'shipper.