Publisher: Crescent Moon Press (April 29, 2012)
Format: Kindle edition
Reviewed by: Judith
Apparently, there’s some sort of Zombie addiction sweeping the nation. And no, I don’t mean people are turning into zombies. They’re just getting carried away with how awesome it would be should a zombie apocalypse happen. Now, am I the only person out there who’s all, a) No! That would not be amazing or awesome in any way. I don’t want my flesh or brains to be eaten. And b) get off the zombie bandwagon! It sounds stupid because it won’t happen and it’s honestly disturbing that you all want friends and family to start eating flesh or brains. So when Amazon suggested Kate Evangelista’s Taste my first thoughts were: OOH! Nice cover, me likey. And also, oh god no. For the love of all that is sweet and pure, quit it with the flesh eating zombies. I almost passed it over. Almost didn’t give it a chance. But THANK GOD I did because much in the same way Jennifer L Armentrout made aliens hotter than hot this book made flesh eating zombies oh so sexy! To quote Ellen and her often confusing vernacular, this is awesomesauce! But more on that to come.
Over the last few years, Phoenix McKay has been in more schools than she can remember. She has a rich, absentee father and a dead mother so there’s no one left in the world who really cares about her. She hopes that Barinkoff Academy will be the one place where she makes some lasting relationships but then she breaks its only rule: no students on campus after curfew. Fearing expulsion, she rushes for home but is stopped when she encounters a group of preternaturally beautiful students who call themselves Night Students and threaten to taste her flesh. Luckily she’s saved by the mysterious and wickedly sexy Demitri. Their brief encounter kicks off a chain of events that makes her question everything that’s real in the world. Because beneath Barinkoff Academy is an entire civilization of flesh eating beings who desperately want to be human and they view Phoenix as their only chance at survival. Along with the stoic Demitri, Phoenix is joined by the sinfully gorgeous Luka and a handful of others on the quest to find a cure to their need for flesh.
Shut the front door, it’s about to get real in here! When did zombies become sexy? I mean, did I miss the memo cause Demitri and Luka are hot! No, they’re more than hot, they’re (and god, it pains me to do this) HAWT. But maybe I’m getting away from what’s important about this book…naw! Who am I kidding? It’s the hotness that grabbed me but the great storyline that kept me interested. Phoenix is a strong female lead who’s constantly trying to win her dad’s approval and give herself some redemption for not being able to save her mother from an unknown disease. When the opportunity arises for her to attempt to save an entire race of flesh eaters, she can’t say no. Now, if I had heard the words flesh and eater any where in my vicinity while away at boarding school, I would have run screaming in the other direction but Phoenix manages to handle the revelation of this other race with a clear head and the constant thought of, How can I help? This attitude brings her into contact with Demitri and Luka, two gorgeous flesh eating boys who each want the best for their people. In addition to attempting to help discover a cure for the flesh eating, she must fend off the advances of two oh so tempting men both intent on making her his and it’s the constant give and take between the two of them that helps spur on the race to discover a flesh eating cure. There are a few plot twists that you won’t expect and the love triangle makes for some pretty steamy scenes. Sometimes the writing did seem a bit juvenile and even stilted but it was easy to suspend belief and assume that being a flesh eater didn’t lend itself to knowing how to speak slang or with contractions.
The one thing I liked most about this book though was that even though it has obviously been set up to be the first in a series, Taste reads as a standalone. It is wholly contained in this one book and the only loose end leaves you wanting more but not in a “gah! why did she leave this enormous cliffhanger that I’ll have to wait months or years to have resolved?!” way. I love the fact that the story has action, a rising storyline, a climax, and then resolution. It’s been extremely rare in the last year for me to pick up the first in a series and not feel a bit cheated in having to buy at least three books in order to know what happens to one character. I mean, sometimes it seems as if the plot lines drag on just to get you to buy more but let me tell you: Phoenix’s story has a definite conclusion which gave me a lot of hope for what Kate’s planning on doing with book 2. I won’t give anything away here because the book was extremely fun to read knowing absolutely nothing about it. But I will say, the person who doesn’t get picked in the love triangle is going to be the focal point of the next book! The author herself confirmed it!
So in the end, I’m giving this 9/10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Okay, ridiculous and rather heavy handed first name aside, Phoenix was a fabulous heroine! She was gutsy and compassionate, with just the right amount of naivete when it came to dealing with sexy Luka and Demitri. She did not let either man sway her from doing what she considered right and moral and she was always ready to fight any battle for the flesh eating underdog!
How much did I like the love interest: 9. Awww, we got a two-fer! Demitri is sinfully dark and sexy with a somber personality and the ability to sizzle in just about any scene he’s in. Phoenix’s first kiss with him ranks right up there with hottest first kiss scene ever! Now, Luka is fun and playful and you never really know if he actually likes Phoenix or is just toying with her. This makes for an interesting love triangle but about midway through, I gotta say, you’ll just know who Phoenix herself is rooting for and it may not be whom you’d expect.
How believable is the plot: 10. Uhh, it’s a book about flesh eating beings who live in a cavernous world beneath a private boarding school somewhere in Europe. Hell yeah it’s believable!
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 9. Kate has the knack for describing lush and rich foreign worlds without seeming smarmy or unbelievable. Her dialogue is amazing and she manages to convey the stilted Flesh Eater speech pattern perfectly by taking out contractions and slang whenever they talk. That’s no mean feat when Phoenix’s whipping out “can’ts” and “won’ts” all over the place! Great pacing and finally! A series with the first book acting as a standalone.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Wahh! When do we get the sequel?
Final Score: 9/10. Great read with an interesting premise and a refreshing take on the paranormal elements. In a sea of vampire/shifter/witch novels, this debut really stands out. It’s well written, fun, and just so unique. Buy it! Now! Go, you’re wasting precious reading hours…