There are times when books that have summaries that interest you, but not in the way that the author probably intended. The whole little snippet at the end talking about James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse's love child is what had me sold. It wasn't like I wanted them to have a love child, that wouldn't be a pleasant experience, it was more that the writer of this blurb clearly wanted to prove that this book would meet the ridiculously high expectations placed upon it by comparing it to James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse, and I intended to determine whether it was a deserving honor or a farce.
The story begins with Natalia "Tal" proving herself as an expert 'Talented' who can kick butt with her mental capabilities. Whoo-hoo! Natalia is introduced along with the group she is assigned to as she is training to be a Hunter, which includes the ever-responsible Henri and the playboy Erik. With her childhood friend boyfriend, Donovan, and her new best friend, Penny, it seems as if Tal's life is an average one, even with the whole Hunter thing. In fact, Tal's life is a little too simplistic in this radically different dystopian world with people with superpowers. Soon enough, Tal is quickly caught into the net forcing her to challenge her ideals and the sacrifices she will have to make to finish her retribution. On a side note, the guy who killed her parents is kind of important here, but then again not really.
This summary that I have crafted is full of contradicting statements. I know, it is ridiculous. Well, the reason for that is because truthfully, I have no idea how to describe the basic plot. There are shifts from epic fighting scenes that deserved more description and detail to cute girly scenes about fashion and nail polish to highly emotional scenes that either make me want to smile or want to puke. So many descriptions to choose from, so how am I supposed to decide?
One of the things that I struggled with most was the emotions that a scene would try to evoke. Sometimes the author succeeded in her goal with certain scenes, while at other times, not so much. For example, Tal's questionable boyfriend is a playboy and everyone knows it, but her. Despite the fact that they know it will crush her, the teammates that Tal lives with, Henri and Erik, don't even tell her because they are afraid that it would ruin the karma within the group! In other words, they think that Tal is too weak to handle her cheating boyfriend, so they just let him continue cheating on her! It is ridiculous and totally hypocritical for a book that seems to advertise the girl power.
There were scenes that had made me start tearing a bit, though they were few and far between. When Tal, Henri, and Erik are assigned a Kill Mission to assassinate a scientist, the author was able to capture the conflicting emotions that everyone was experiencing. Most books about spies and assassins tend to skim over the nitty gritty emotional conflict one may experience when killing another human being, but Talented instead used it to make the characters that originally seemed too uppity become more relatable.
Even with all of the flip-flopping feelings I had about the characters and their decisions, Talented was an extremely enjoyable book. At times, it was hard to decipher what direction the author intended to take it. One of the most important characteristic that a protagonist must have is to be flawed, which Tal excels in. Her mistakes and teeny bit of arrogance make her a heroine I love to cheer for because it is always a surprise whether or not she succeeds. The dystopian world that Tal lives in is one that is quite fascinating, full of facets, that I cannot wait to discover when continuing on with this series!