by Truth Devour

"If it feels so good loving the wrong person, imagine how wonderful it is going to be when you love the right one."

Wantin, the first book in a romantic trilogy, is about a young woman's search for love amid unresolved conflict from her past. As a young child, Talia is accustomed to traveling with her parents and having various nannies care for her while her mother and father are off exploring. But at six years of age, Talia's life abruptly changes after the unexpected death of her parents in Haiti, and plans are made for her to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Australia. Prior to her departure, Talia's Haitian nanny offers prayers on behalf of the orphaned girl. It is not until Talia becomes an adult that she understands the full effect of those mysterious incantations, especially in her love life.

Rising author Truth Devour has produced a story with strong character development woven into a fascinating plot. Chronicling the life of Talia Jacobs, Devour's first person narrative portrays a girl who is clearly struggling with her past. Devour deftly juxtaposes irony within Talia's character. For example, Talia is unable to deeply love her caring Australian family, with the exception of Brad, one of her Australian cousins. Talia's taboo relationship with Brad not only creates frustration, which only exacerbates emotional instability with her future lovers, but it also thrusts her out of her home and into traveling. As she roams about from place to place, Devour once again uses irony to describe Talia's naiveté (coupled with her frustration) when she explores various adult experiences (drinking, smoking pot, and even promiscuous sex) often times with reckless abandonment.

While Devour's protagonist is riddled with dysfunctional qualities, she is by no means a static character. Talia's character structure is dynamic. Amid the underpinning theme of constant tension between Talia and Brad's relationship, Devour incorporates a number of unexpected additions that offer contrast and are used to force Talia into times of deep reflection that, little by little, help her face her past. Good examples include Talia's recurring dreams, her encounter with an older Thai couple, her involvement in Martial Arts, and one Hungarian gypsy women who confirms nanny's prayer.

Another interesting literary tool is the handful of minor but handsome and physically attractive characters that Devour designates as Talia's lovers. Indeed, they are not as strong as they appear. Amid many spicy and erotic moments, Devour keeps her narrative flowing through several scene changes, particularly when these men fall prey to Talia's sadistic cycle. Blinded by Talia's shortcomings and viewing her instead as mysterious, these men are thrown off guard and emotionally crushed—sobbing even—when she abruptly cuts them off after they profess their love. Yet Devour goes beyond these episodes of obsession and indifference by drawing attention to a more passionate issue: the human condition. Unbeknown to Talia, her personal struggles help build compassion for those less fortunate, such as her Hungarian grandparents, as well as the aforementioned older Thai couple and Hungarian gypsies.

Of course being a part of a trilogy, Devour's debut novel slowly but deliberately builds up to a tender cliffhanger for the purpose of titillating the curiosity of readers for its sequels. More than this, what truly makes Wantin an alluring read is the reminder that—just like Talia—all of us have a profound desire to be loved.

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