Format: Review ARC
Review by: Onnica
Genre: YA Paranormal
Plot: Dakota Collins is in her final year of college and has dreams of taking the photography world by storm. On an assignment one night at a club, she meets rock band Vicious. Although not well up on their music, she is drawn to the enigmatic bassist, Luka Visraya. Driven to succeed, Dakota is convinced that Luka will make an amazing subject for her final project – the showcase introspective. She’s convinced, but she needs to convince his manager and the man himself.
Luka is broody, enigmatic and focused 100% on the music. The night he meets Dakota Collins, he’s intrigued. She’s confident, wears an eye patch for some reason and seems set on proving to him why he should let her take his picture. He strikes a deal with her that night – if she can take a good shot of him and the band and he’s satisfied with it, he’ll agree to her taking a series of photos for her final project. Things progress well and before she knows it, Dakota has a subject for the introspective. Not only that, but her good fortune continues when she’s offered the chance to tour with the band for a month as their official photographer. Life finally seems to be giving Dakota a break. The only hitch? She can have little or no contact with the outside world and has to sign a contract stating whatever she learns on tour, stays on tour.
Dakota is nervous, excited and apprehensive – is she prepared for the all-consuming presence of Vicious? Can she trust herself around Luka? Will she escape their secrets unscathed or lose herself in the process?
Review: First, let me start by saying how much of a fan I am of Kate Evangelista. Judith and I loved Taste and I read and reviewed the Reaper series and loved both books. Kate isn’t afraid of mixing up the genres and letting her imagination take you on a crazy journey. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book – we’re revisiting some well-loved characters from Taste some years after Barinkoff Academy and we’re learning about them again in a completely different setting. Intrigued? Definitely. Nervous? A little.
Dakota is an interesting character – she’s the interloper allowed to observe a very established, close-knit band. We see the new world through her eyes. (Sorry, make that eye. She wears an eye patch, remember?) She’s fighting off her own demons and despite her curiosity to learn about their secrets, she’s extremely reluctant to bare her soul to Luka or the rest of the band. The setting of the Manor, where the band lives is vivid – I could almost taste it, it was so well-written. Seeing vignettes of how the band interacted with each other was also very engaging.
Where the plot fell down for me, was the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Dakota and Luka. For me, something was missing – maybe it was because there were so many secrets that couldn’t be revealed that prevented them from forging a link that was palpable. So that’s why I’m giving it 7/10.
Review based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 8 – Dakota is strong, no-nonsense and is driven to succeed. I liked viewing the action from her perspective. She doesn’t take any crap from Luka and is a worthy love interest (potentially) for him. She’s carrying around some pretty heavy demons – the full extent of which, we don’t find out about. It’s clear something terrible has happened to her but we don’t know why or what.
How much did I like the hero: 7 – Luka stole a piece of my heart in Taste, as he was cool, fun and very sexy. In this book, we’re meeting him some years later and it’s clear that life has knocked him about a bit. He’s no longer the carefree person he was before. He’s brooding, prone to hysterical outbursts and generally unstable. Did I find him an attractive hero? I wanted to – I really did, but he seemed quite childish and unsure of what he wanted with Dakota. The chemistry between the pair varied so much, that I didn’t believe they could ever get it together.
How believable is the plot: 9 – No problem on the believability front – I’m not sure whether Savor is YA or paranormal or what. Are the band still flesheaters or were they all cured? Who knows? I certainly don’t and I read the book! Savor raises a lot of questions and rarely answers any. This really frustrated the heck out of me, as I found by the end of the story, I knew only a fraction more than I did at the start of the book.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc.: 7 Kate’s writing style is something that you can always count on. It’s rich, original and she always gives the reader a clear picture of the world she’s created. The scenes between Dakota and the rest of the band are humorous, sensual and I felt as though I was really there. My only beef with this book is that it was so intent on being suspenseful, that it didn’t give up a single secret. I’m guessing that maybe some of the secrets will be answered in Book Two, Relish, but I’m not sure. (It’s possibly a four-book series.)
How much did I want to keep reading: 9 I read Vicious pretty quickly, as I was hoping to find some answers to my questions – what are her recurring dreams about? What is Luka hiding and what happened on tour to cause his episode? Are the band completely human now? The answers are out there, but I’m none the wiser. It was a fun beginning to the series and if you’re determined to find out the answers to these questions then hopefully you’ll be rewarded for your patience.
Final Score: 7/10 So there you have it – there’s a lot of potential there, but for me, this book was about setting up the story for the subsequent books in the series. I sincerely hope we’ll learn more in Relish, as there’s only so much suspense a girl can take…