[REVIEW] The Taste of Night – Vicki Pettersson

Vicki Pettersson
The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, Book 2)
HarperCollins Eos (US: 27th March 2007); HarperCollins Voyager (UK: 2nd June 2008)
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Science and magic come together to decimate Las Vegas’s population in the second volume of the Signs of the Zodiac series.

Joanna Archer is still living a double life as a superhero and a socialite heiress, going under her sister Olivia’s name. But someone else knows her as Joanna: a Shadow initiate whose metamorphosis isn’t far away. Regan DuPree seems both a helper and a hindrance, and Jo trusts her when she probably shouldn’t. As a result, she unintentionally spreads the deadly virus that the Tupla let loose, and things worsen from there.

The Neon Boneyard is a brilliant setting as always, and Joaquin’s underground lair is genuinely creepy. The melding of science and magic is a big part of what makes this series a winner, and the plague steps this up a notch. And it goes to show that orders by troop leaders are issued for a reason: because defying them will only worsen things for everyone, as Joanna learns. I wanted to slap her a few times, and it’s rather annoying when she approaches her human lover as her true self. A high point of this series is that you don’t see readers fangirling over the love interests, because the real focus – as it should be – is on Jo coming to terms with her Light and Shadow sides. So bringing in Ben Traina is frustrating, and Jo’s jealousy over his new girlfriend seems over-the-top.

There’s clever plotting and foreshadowing – everything Jo learns early in the novel becomes important later. But there’re plenty of unfinished plot threads that’ll hopefully be picked up in latter instalments. Why didn’t teenaged Joanna abort her foetus instead of fulfilling the pregnancy and adopting out the child? When will Jo and her mother Zoe finally meet again, and what might happen?

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