The Taste of Night (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 2) by Vicki Pettersson

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Rating: 3/5 stars
Pages: 440

Vague Spoilers for the first book!

Summary: Equal parts Light and Shadow, Joanna Archer must fulfill a destiny she never wanted. Once a photographer and heiress to a casino fortune, she is now dedicated to the cause of good . . . but susceptible to the seductions of evil.

A deadly virus is descending on Las Vegas—a terrifying plague unleashed by the powerful overlord of Zodiac’s dark side: Joanna’s father. Chaos and panic grip Sin City as agents of Light fall prey to the terrifying epidemic. Death reigns supreme—and Joanna stands at dead center of an epic and terrible war long foretold, the last hope of a damned world.

But first she must somehow conquer the malevolence that grows all around her . . . and within.

Thoughts: Ok , I’ll admit it. Maybe I was just expecting too much after The Scent of Shadows. Because even though I know this was a well-written, cleverly plotted book – I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Before I get into why, I just want to reiterate that this is an amazing series. Vicki Pettersson has created a genuinely unique universe in an already saturated market. I guess these next comments could be considered the nit-picking of a fan.

My trouble was with the main character, Jo. While I had quite enjoyed her scary-yet-vulnerable character in the first novel, she looses all sense in The Taste of Night. She goes back and forth from rational to reactionary. The plot required conflict within the Light Troup, which lead to Jo needing a massive personality overhaul for half the book. It really felt forced – a change contrived solely to fit the action – and was inevitably disappointing.

One thing that I absolutely loved in this book, however, was Hunter. Pettersson took the tension between him and Jo – noticeable from the very first time they beat the crap out of each other – and really rolled with it. Although he was a relatively prominent character in the first book, I hadn’t felt too strongly either way about his involvement in the story. In The Taste of Night, he became the sole voice of reason and logic, piercing through Jo’s muddled narration. That alone had me wanting to jump into his unfortunately fictional arms.

So, considering that, Jo’s continued infatuation with Ben Traina is pretty friggin annoying. He is made out to be the love of her life, when all they had together was a few months as teens. I mean, really? That, along with an annoying revelation towards the end, made this a book I am never going to re-read. There were actual chapters that made my eyes glaze over – no doubt in the vain hope that when I refocused, the page would have magically altered. Which is kinda depressing, when I think about it.

Bottom line?  I wish I could tell you to skip it, but you’d be missing out on a great universe.  Hopefully The Touch of Twilight will return the series to its former glory…

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