Book 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.
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Taste and Vampire Knight
The blurb reminded me of the manga Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. Both have exclusive schools, Day and Night Students, a girl caught between worlds, and a destiny that would shake the foundations of both worlds. The only difference is that Yuuki, the protagonist of Vampire Knight, was aware of the Night Students and that she was a sort of prefect that prevents the spilling of the secret to the Day Students and to prevent overzealous females from stampeding the gorgeous Night Students. Phoenix, on the other hand, would eventually discover what the night has to offer thanks to her having slept on in the library past curfew. Talk about luck and fate.
Zhamvy vs. Zombie
I also would like to add that give everything so far in the first few chapters, I really thought the Night Students to be vampires and their wanting to taste a human's flesh was just a special quirk of these dwellers of the night. As the story progressed and I discovered it was not about vampires but about Zhamvy, well, that's another thing altogether.
You see, as most of us mortals, I imagine zombies as those mindless, rotting, arms-forward walking, "Brains!" shouting creatures that could be best represented with the creatures from Dawn of the Dead, ICty of the Dead, and Walking Dead. Therefore, I had an issue, at first, regarding the romance aspect in the story. All I could think about was "Ew, a corpse. Why would you be attractive to a corpse?" But I also had another thought: vampires are technically dead, too and we, YA females, are going gaga over them. Furthermore, the description of what a Zhamvy is came and I was like: "Darn the perversion of Hollywood!" Of course it helped how Demitri, Luca and Dray were described. Let's just say that the teams are now drawn but you couldn't possibly decide which team you'd like to be a part of.
Strong, intelligent, sassy and brave. Just the way I like my heroines to be. I just can't resist how many times I hate weak-willed, totally dependent on males, always the damsel-in-distress, characters. That's a sure way to make me chuck the book in the bin. But Phoenix? Aside from having a really cool name was no wilting flower. After all, her character was what pulled her into the adventures in the first place despite being warned and having the taste of the dangers waiting when night falls. One would surely call it stupidity, I did. But then nothing will happen to you when you cocoon yourself. After all, one must be ready to face dangers in order to really enjoy adventure.
Demitri vs. Luca
I was a solid Team Demitri. I have this habit of attaching myself to the male character that is for all intents and purposes The One for the heroine and I would remain attach to him like a barnacle till the very end. But then, Luca came...
I honestly thought Luca would be a Damon-like character - you know Damon Salvatore. The one with a tortured past, the unhealthy obsession, the cruel streak, the anti-hero, the dark one. I know Damon is really attractive and it helps that he's being played by Ian Somerhalder but I was always been Team Stefan and nothing and no one could shake me from it. However, Luca's character was not written in that way. He was just so open and sunny behind which he hid his painful past. Demitri was the one who was withdrawn and aloof. Luca reminded me of those characters in koreanovelas (Korean TV series) who are the happy-go-lucky-ones, who's always there for the girl, who always do not end up with the girl (I'm still smarting over the fact that Ji-heun chose Young-jae over Min-hyuk in Full House and Chae-kyung chose Lee Shin over Yul in Princess Hours).
So there. While I still cleave to Demitri, I am also leaning towards Luca.
Kate Evangelista created a world entirely its own and a background on zomb... pardon, Zhamvy that would totally lose your initial imaginings of a zombie. They're gods! Hot and gorgeous. It makes you wish that you attend an exclusive boarding school since you never know what's lurking in campus.
The action and excitement started right from the very beginning. Fast-paced, no dawdling, eat-you-heart-out storytelling. It was worth reading till the wee hours of the morning.
Now, I'm craving for some kikaron.