*gasp* Are you seeing this right? Am I actually writing a book review? After all this time?
Well yes. Because I’m crazy nuts about this book. But first, a bit of background:
Ever since I joined #StrangeLit I felt like I had to read more Filipino genre writers (outside of the Komikon stuff—I’ll get into that some other time, after I get through what passes for my Komikon haul). It’s not very hard for me to find Pinoy authors now, by the way; the very act of joining the workshop introduced me to a bunch of great writers.
One such great writer is #StrangeLit mentor Kate Evangelista. We were required to read one of her works prior to the class, and I became an instant fan.
Which is why I bought a copy of her book “Savor” as soon as I saw it in National bookstore. Took a while to get to it thanks to my mountain of books backlog; but when I finally read it…let’s just say I lack sleep and am now WAY behind on my writing revisions.
Totally worth it, though. Read on to my review!
What do I think of the plot and treatment?
Full disclosure: this falls firmly within the New Adult category, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, I have to admit that it takes a lot for me to pick up those types of books because I’ve come across so many that fell short for me (if not at first, then at some point in the series).
“Savor” happens to be a New Adult book worth reading. Especially if you like things steamy. *fans self*
The story follows Dakota Collins, a one-eyed (but gifted!) photographer who manages to convince an ultra-private but super-popular rock band to let her use them as the subject of her final school project. Over the course of a month, she grapples with her mind-numbing attraction to the bassist and comes face-to-face with what seems to be some really dark mysteries…including a terrifying recurring dream. All this, while she’s stumbling about in an insanely huge and well-run
If the premise sounds like a run-of-the-mill NA novel, it’s because it does, admittedly, share many of that genre’s elements—first-person POV, ultra-gorgeous love interest (in a band or a motorcycle club or whatever), some kind of past trauma that creates some trust issues, mouth-watering smut. But here’s the thing…
This was written by Kate Evangelista, and she knows how to make POV characters come alive. Dakota Collins is far from a cutout heroine; she’s a real person who has very complicated thoughts and feelings. What’s more (and this is key to me), the way she acts is believable. She’s not perfect and you may not agree with everything she does, but you understand WHY she does it.
All the other characters are interesting too—the cutthroat lolita-clad manager, the mad scientist, the secret lovers, heck, even the servants. They all sound like stereotypes at first, but then you actually get to know them.
The fact that the structure of this thing is influenced by Dakota’s project also adds to this story. The protagonist constantly makes observations, makes an effort to get a feel for everyone else’s character, and tries to piece the mystery of the band together.
But at the same time, Dakota’s own trauma prevents her from digging too deep and looking too closely. And I think it’s amazing that this is, in a way, paralleled by her compromised depth perception (thanks to the loss of one eye).
All in all, this was a VERY enjoyable read for me. It doesn’t just rely on the complicated emotions and intense sexiness. It draws you in with compelling characters and storytelling.
Oh, and there’s that twist at the ending.
Will I watch the movie/TV series?
If it’s REALLY well-done with the right casting? Hells yeah.
I really want to see mad scientist Dray in action. Seriously, Dakota can have Luka and Phoenix can have Demitri. But I’m hugging Dray and never letting go.
…wait, what was I saying? Oh, yeah.
I’d watch it.