Sunday, May 4, 2014

Review: The Doll by Taylor Stevens

I'll start by summing up my review: I loved this adventure with Vanessa Michael Munroe!!!!! Taylor Stevens has made a fan of me after only reading one novel, out of order in fact. Sure it's not flawless but is exactly what I want in an action, suspense thriller.

The novel begins with Bradford checking out leads for where Vanessa Michael Munroe could be. The teams' intel suggests that she was involved in an "accident" that set the stage for her kidnapping. This kidnapping was orchestrated by the infamous Dollmaker. He specializes in ripping women away from their lives in order to supply an endless variation of young women for his wealthy clientele. Only this time he's chosen to kidnap the wrong person.

The Dollmaker forces Munroe into an undesired mission by holding the fate of the person she loves most over her head. Munroe reluctantly agrees to completing the mission so long as the one she holds dear remains alive. Although she isn't naive, and is convinced she's dead along with Logan once the Dollmaker's requests are granted, she still moves forward with moving precious, human cargo to the big-wig that's demanding the product. Not only is she faced with delivering this famous cargo in one piece, she's responsible for maintaining the "doll" in a certain condition.

Enter Steven's weak link. Neeva is probably one of the most recognized faces at the time she's been kidnapped. Her celebrity makes the mission especially difficult but to add insult to injury, she's one of the worse hostages possible. Initially she comes off as a brat. I personally couldn't stand her but I understood that her role was necessary in moving the story forward. I guess I was so busy rooting for Munroe that I failed to realize that Neeva was fighting for her own life just the same. 

Pushed up against the ropes, Taylor Stevens presents to newbies (like me) a woman who's more than capable of holding her own. A master of disguise, a true polyglot, and skilled in the art of complete badassery. I mean really!!!! Is there nothing Munroe can't do? Actually, that brings me to my first gripe. Stevens wastes no time to remind readers, newbies and dedicated fans alike, of the many ways in which Munroe is not to be messed with. After hearing for the umpteenth time that the men were speaking languages, assuming she couldn't understand but in fact really could, it got a little redundant. Then to keep reminding me that she's able to use anything, I mean absolutely ANYTHING as a weapon got to be grating. In my opinion, Munroe's Rambo-esque ambition needed no more justification.

My final gripe is one of my own doing. When I entered in the Goodreads Giveaway to win this novel it was only because I was slightly interested in the blurb and wasn't going to be heartbroken if I'd lost. To top it off, I didn't pay attention to the fact that this was a part of a series. Usually I can read books out of succession so long as the author is good enough to keep me posted on trivial background aspects without ruining previous novels should I read them at a later date. Ultimately, I felt that all the characters, even Munroe, were a little one dimensional. Again I say that's my fault because I didn't take the time (time I really don't have) to catch up with all the characters in a manner that wouldn't leave me wanting more. I take some of the blame, but for the rest I'm giving Taylor Stevens the honor. A great author writes each novel, even in a series, as if they are reaching out to an audience that hasn't been following the characters from inception.

My gripes aside, The Doll was gripping from page one. Taylor Stevens manages to never allow me one moment to become bored with her story. She goes inside of the corrupt, despicable world of human trafficking and forces readers to consider what morals they will dismiss in the hopes of saving the one they love. And then leave you wondering if the life of the one you love is truly worth more than the life of an innocent. I look forward to reading another adventure of Stevens' featuring Vanessa Michael Munroe. Munroe proves that you don't send any man in to do a woman's job. Yes!!!!!!   ****

Copy provided by Broadway Books (Random House) via Goodreads Giveaway

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