Review: Taunt

Taunt by Claire Farrell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Supernatural misfit Ava Delaney only just survived the last book, and barely a fortnight passes before she’s once again up to her neck in even more sturm and drang. Her new employer is costing her in more ways than one, groups of strange vampires are hanging around outside her home, and to cap it all off her rent is way overdue.

With this to contend with the first half of this book, the followup to ‘Thirst’, is almost exhausting to read. You get a great sense that Ava’s life is spiraling out of control and at first she is utterly helpless against the greater supernatural forces that are playing her. She has no idea who to trust and is still finding her way, whilst remaining utterly loyal to her own principles of not hurting humans, or drinking blood despite the edge it gives her. This mindset and her trust issues were frustrating but realistic, and it makes Ava a more vulnerable, and heroic character, particularly as she never once feels heroic and is constantly questioning her own morals and abilities. Ava seems to live with an overriding sense of guilt but she is also defiant to the last.

In Taunt we learn a few things about Ava which will hopefully be further explored in Book 3. Because there’s so much going on it would be a shame to say more to spoil the surprise. Basically, Taunt is a perfect example of how to bust up your protagonist’s once sequestered little world, and then keep the reader totally on her side as she fights for survival, while the character remains almost entirely herself. Ava is a strong character even when she’s trying desperately to catch up with the threats and conspiracies surrounding her. In Taunt she’s a bit less scatty than before, but no less stubborn, and prone to insulting super-powered beings when threatened, which I enjoyed very much.

‘Taunt’ has ended on a very interesting note, just as some very cool stuff was revealed, so I’m glad I have the next in the series ready to go, and I’ll look forward to hanging out with Ava Delaney again very soon.

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Reading 100 books in a year

I’ve always been a big reader. Ever since I was able to read the longer sections of ‘Puddle Lane’ I’ve devoured books by the truckload. So, 26 years or so after I was first able to make sense of the squiggles on the page, I realised I had no idea how much I was actually able to read within the space of, say, a year. Also, I was awful at remembering coherently exactly what I had been reading. I knew it when I saw it, but I didn’t always keep those books around.

In 2010, then, I started to keep a very nerdy list in the back of my diary. It grew at a decent rate, coming in at about 55 books by the end of the year. This was not bad going, considering we’d moved house and cities halfway through the year.

So, I thought, 55 books wasn’t so bad – if I read a few more each month, I’m sure I can get to 100 easily enough. So I started again, amassing a lot of books as I went, whilst still inexplicably taking even more out of the library.

2011 passed in a rush of reading, Lovefilm movies and yet another stressful house move, this time from Cambridge back to Southampton.

But, somehow, I have ended up with four weeks to go and another 25 books still needed to hit the deadline. This then, is the final countdown towards those last 100 books. I have to add that I received a Kindle for my birthday in October, and it has pushed me on towards my goal very efficiently. I have always had a few books on the go at one time, and the Kindle just ensurs that I have a light copy of War & Peace hanging around, should I get the urge. It’s stuffed with 112 ebooks, most of them acquired free thanks to Amazon and Project Gutenberg.

Can I reach my goal? The race is on, and here is where the battle lines are being fought:

  • On the loo – ‘A History of the world in 10 and a half chapters’ – Julian Barnes
  • In the lounge – ‘Aleisteir Crowley: The Beast Demystified’ – Roger Hutchinson
  • On the Kindle – ‘Thirst’ – Claire Farrell

There’s usually one on the go in the bedroom, but that doesn’t usually get read all that quickly.

The clock is ticking. And there’s still time, just about. All this, and working and writing, and seeing the outside world, too!

I’m going to set my additional challenge of reviewing the books I’ve completed, so hopefully the blog posts will come thick and fast once I get going again.