I LOVED The Informationist.
I read and loved The Innocent. And The Doll.
So it’s no surprise, really, that Taylor Stevens’s latest, The Catch, was another winner for me.
For one thing, I love the specific-countries-of-Africa that we get to know a little and Stevens’s treatment of them (in this book and The Informationist). We don’t get a generic setting, or a generic Africa. We get specifics and distinguishing characteristics, while still acknowledging that some overriding truths do apply across the board.
For another, I love the role language (and languages) play.
Mostly, I just love Michael Munroe.
The Catch wasn’t as jaw-dropping as The Informationist or The Doll, though. I think the factors that make me respect The Catch the most are the same things that make it not as much of a thrill ride as the earlier installments of Vanessa Michael Munroe books.
Michael is healing, you see. As the series has progressed, she’s becoming more in control of herself. She’ll never be normal (“normal” is a fallacy anyway), but she’s getting much closer to that than she was when we met her in book one. This is a very good thing; Stevens has allowed her protagonist to grow in a logical and believable way. But I’m afraid it’s also a bad thing. Will this be the end of the series? Will we as readers never again get to watch Michael work simply because she’s more capable of dealing with her past than she used to be?
This installment, because of the character’s growth, is much more character-driven than previous books were. But again, this is something I like in a book, yes, even in a thriller.
The world still has a place for someone with Michael’s skills; I certainly hope the book world still has a place for her, too. I may be better at delayed gratification than I used to be, but I’m not perfect. There’s still plenty for me to learn and do. Perhaps that’s an appropriate corollary? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Do you like character driven books? Have you ever read a book where character growth made said book unpalatable?
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