"Fate is relentless in its pursuit of Talia Jacobs. Presented with unimaginable turns of chance, she is drawn into the depths of tragic losses then catapulted to the extraordinary heights of life's joy. Take the journey with Talia as she undergoes her sexual, social and physical metamorphosis from a vulnerable girl into a mature young seductress. Nothing in life is ever as it seems. Is she blessed or cursed? Will she ever find the man who will love her like no other, fearlessly caressing the deepest part of her being while intertwining his soul to hers in a dance that holds the unspoken promise of forever?"
Where to begin?...
Plot lines either spring up out of nowhere with little to no build up or build slowly for ages only to drop off the face of the earth with no warning.
The main thread of the story is her awkward relationship with her cousin who one evening, randomly admits to having loved her his whole life without the reader having been given even the slightest suggestion that this is the case. Talia responds pleasantly to this advance, suggesting she has similar feelings but again, the reader is left pretty much in the dark.
Then there’s the long, boring sections with her learning Tai-Chi in Thailand. I say long sections, they’re short, they just feel endless. For some reason the author decides at this point to lay down mind numbing levels of repetitive detail and the reader is left thinking…oh, wait…is this the point of the story?....Is this book about…Tai-Chi now?
No, Talia masters the ancient art over the course of a weekend, returns home, books some Kung-Fu lessons then never mentions it again. Rendering the previous three chapters absolutely pointless.
The rest of the novel continues on along this path. Talia jumps from country to country with no particular rhyme or reason, meets some guy and beds him, the text of the book going from vague, pretentious travelogue, to oddly pornographic sex scenes within the space of a few sentences. A transition which is jarring to say the least.
Talia’s sexual conquests are some of the least rounded characters I’ve ever come across. Immediately following their respective love scene every male character in the novel suddenly becomes a wide eyed puppy dog willing to follow her to the ends of the earth and obey her every command. This happens about five times over the course of the book and every character’s arc is exactly the same: Meet Talia – Sleep with Talia – Beg Talia for relationship – Be Shot down by Talia – Annoy Talia by expressing emotions.
Not that Talia’s character is much better, in fact the author seems to forget to give her one until halfway through the story, a fact she makes up for by spending the rest of the book ramming her personality down your throat. Talia may as well spend the second half of the novel screaming “I AM STRONG AND INDEPENDENT! I AM A FREE SPIRIT!” at the sky for all the subtlety the author provides.
She’s a remarkably unlikeable character, a shameless Mary Sue who constantly acts so hard done by but who’s problems are so insultingly slight that you’ll be left in awe that the writer dared to include them. For example, after returning from her two month trip to Thailand (which she takes out of the blue without bothering to tell her roommate) she returns to find that her roommate has opened one of her letters to get some sort of proof that she’s not dead. Talia takes this as proof that she can’t trust her roommate anymore and the poor girl is forced to move out and buy a beautiful flat in the fancy side of town…my heart bleeds.
I don’t have a problem with books not having a straight forward three act structure, many of my favourite books are quite the opposite of that. The difference here is that Wantin’s lack of plot doesn’t seem deliberate. The whole book is just a jumble, trivial details are magnified and pivotal plot points are glanced over. Even the main relationship with her cousin just randomly stops dead near the end of the book so Talia can open an exhibition of fetish photography (Another skill she masters over a paragraph or two).
It’s a horrid amalgamation of travelogue, philosophy, spiritualism and porn that just doesn’t work. The characters are horrible and the plot is non-existent…..I didn’t like it…
I received this book for review through GoodReads FirstReads