Review: ‘Taste’ by Kate Evangelista

TastePhoenix McKay immediately breaks the number one rule at Barinkoff Academy: no students on campus after sundown. The punishment? Immediate expulsion. This is the only thing on her mind as she tries to race off of the school property before she’s too late. But it is too late; the parking lot is empty and she is stranded at the top of a mountain. What begins as a search for someone – anyone – that can take her back to the dorms takes a turn for the bizarre. She finds students on campus. After sundown. Dressed from a previous century (or two). And the predatory feeling she gets from the encounter is eerie. They are the Night Students, pupils that Phoenix is pretty sure the Day Students know nothing about. And they want to taste her flesh?

Saving her from the odd group is Demitri, a handsome fellow Night Student, who whisks her away from the leering clique and back to the dorms where he tells her she must never miss curfew again or speak of what she has seen. Like any intelligent, clever girl – she ignores him and stays late the next day to see what is going on at the Academy at night.

Drawn into a secret that keeps the Day and Night Students separated, Phoenix begins to learn of the strange goings-on that are happening right beneath her very feet. An entire kingdom of people (called the Zhamvy) who are deteriorating without their knowledge due to a law invoked hundreds of years before. A law that some want to break immediately, which will put the Day Students in unparalleled danger. An exiled king, a reluctant prince, a jealous fiancee, a scheming prime minister, a mysterious idler and a mad scientist (along with her mother’s death and her subsequent estrangement from her father) are the catalyst for her choice to help Demitri, the Zhamby and herself.

As with many self-published books, there were frequent grammar issues. Looking back at my notes, I laughed when I saw two other things that bugged me: one was a girl who is supposedly 12 (in human years) wearing 6-inch heels. The other was Phoenix saying “The last thing I wanted was to think of Preya as a double cheeseburger.” Preya is her roommate. Her INDIAN roommate. I wrote “Culturally insensitive?” You decide.

This was a hard book for me, mainly because of the subject matter. I can’t explain it, exactly; I have read all sorts of books about monsters and vampires and etc., but for some reason, I had to forget what these people actually do in order to read it. It’s not like it grossed me out, exactly, but it was, I guess, weird. I did enjoy reading the book. The writing was pretty well crafted, the story was different and the characters were interesting and believable. Now I’m hungry for pork rinds.

3 of 5 Stars

Taste by Kate Evangelista was published April 30, 2012 by Crescent Moon Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.

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