Author: Kate Evangelista
Published: April 30, 2012
Amazon Summary: 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.
'Taste' was one of those books I had my own doubts about but that has gotten great reviews from fellow readers. I read the sample of it and just wasn't hooked, which rarely happens anyway. I guess I wasn't in the mood for a paranormal romance at the time so I ended up putting 'Taste' on hold and picking up a contemporary instead, which was 'The Duff' (previous review.)
But then I went back to 'Taste' and decided I wanted to find out more about Demitri and Luka.. and if they really have this allegedly irresistible pull and crush-worthiness; because it's the boys I'm thinking about and not the "flesh eaters" or "ancient civilization." I'm a YA romance reading junkie, give me a break.
And bo-hoy do these gorgeous flesh-eating guys spoil you with their protectiveness and sexiness. Is a girl ever this lucky?!
Firstly, I want to comment on the flawless pace of the novel - the beginning instantly lets you in on introductory action. In other words, not a slow-going beginning. Secondly, there aren't any awfully "educational" parts that I absolutely dread.
Thirdly, if you're hesitant because of the "flesh eaters" and whether this book is about zombies - don't be! There is absolutely nothing stereotypical about the Zhamvy (as they call themselves) to what we know as zombies except for the flesh eating and, I don't know, pale skin.
I felt that, instead of the Zhamvy being an inhuman, supernatural race, they were an enhanced version of humans.
I found how Evangelista created the world of the Zhamvy to be original and natural, it definitely didn't feel forced. I loved the idea of having a civilization hide under a school with its Day Students and Night Students, and just other similar ideas in the storyline that I haven't read anywhere else. There's action and emotion and closeness.
Everything was in a perfect medium - not going overboard nor being underwhelming.
We've already established I liked Demitri and Luka. And then I'm going to say, I really liked Luka and his less pretty-boy ways. I mean, holy hotness.
[Spoilers starting!] It's common for me to always look for the boy the heroine ends up not choosing - if there's been two worthy opponents, that is. I so wanted Phoenix to have had more mixed emotions about the two and have a stronger phase where Luka was a consideration.
Or maybe it's the insta-love that throws me off.
Phoenix is kind of, temporarily turned into a Zhamvy and bites Demetri - therefore "marks" him which will automatically make the two insanely attracted to each other, and those kind of supernatural stunts always make me wrinkle my nose a little. You don't want two people be attracted to each other without question because they're marked or imprinted or whatever. That's playing with the fact that it may or may not be real feelings. [Spoilers ended!]
I really liked Phoenix's personality. She would be herself and her own person even through exceptionally odd circumstances. She was courageous and curious and had a witty banter.
However... she was vastly the damsel in distress (!) despite having good potential of taking care of herself. I mean , yes, it was fully comprehensible she needed a hand every once in a while when in a sticky situation but I found myself actually putting the book down to scoff at how many times this girl could be saved! This was my biggest pet peeve with 'Taste.'
It's gotten so rare finding a stand-alone paranormal novel and I loved that 'Taste' ended in one book (on a perfectly satisfactory last note) but I will say, if it'd been a series I definitely would've read the second installment. I really enjoyed this book and how the story unfolded and yet again am torn about how to rate it - between a four and four-point-five. God, I'm getting pickier with ratings.