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12 March 2012

Taylor Stevens: The Innocent

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Vanessa "Michael" Munroe faces her demons again
In the Informationalist. Taylor Stevens introduced us to Vanessa "Michael" Munroe, a dangerous loner who bears emotional and physical scars from her youth, reminiscent of Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander.  Michael's  horrific past gives her a potential of ferocity to overcome her enemies. She's a great character who speaks multiple languages, skilled in martial arts, and always caries a knife.

In this sequel we see more of the scars to Michael's personality, and the dangers lurking so close to the surface. She is commissioned by some of her "friends" to rescue a teenager from a religious cult who have kidnapped her from her natural parents and immersed her in religious, social, mental and physical abuse. Michael has to face up to a different form of child abuse which challenges her mental and physical well-being.

The story is built on the personal experiences of the author, Taylor Stevens, who was brought up in a religious cult, raised in communes around the globe, denied an education beyond sixth grade and spent most of her adolescence begging on the streets, or caring for commune children. She only broke free of the commune in her early twenties. Her emergence as a major author is a fantastic achievement.

Given the background this book, it is not an easy or comfortable read and is not as good as the original in the series. The book shows the undoubted skills of the author and further develops the demons in the lead character.

Despite this it left me waiting for more adventures of Vanessa Michael Munroe to be released, hopefully on more straightforward, more adventurous and less personally emotional issues.

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