“The Innocent” by Taylor Stevens is the second book in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series. I am completely captivated by these books. Taylor Stevens is extremely talented and Vanessa Michael Munroe is a fascinating character. I cannot get enough.
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE VANESSA MICHAEL MUNROE SERIES
This book starts off slightly different in that the story opens with Logan as the storyteller. As we learned in the first book, Logan is like a brother to Munroe and one of the few that she has allowed to become emotionally close to her. Upon arrival, Logan is distraught when he realizes that Munroe has been dulling her personal demons with medication. “He left her room for the guest bathroom, irritation and anger washing over him. He needed her right now, needed her to be herself, lucid, aware, not this – brain-and-emotion-numbed, and half-alive. No matter the reasons, what she was doing was such a goddamn fucking waste of brilliance.” (The Innocent, pg 18). It is understandable that she is behaving this way after “The Informationist” ended with her losing Beyard, a man she described as ‘a rare equal’ and whom she had, in her own way, loved.
In “The Innocent” Munroe has been recruited to help Logan save a little girl from a religious cult that Logan had escaped from years ago. He has been trying to find a girl, Hannah whom was kidnapped by her mom’s boyfriend eight years before. He finally has information on her whereabouts and knows that the only way to get her out is to get Munroe involved. “In the stories of the children of The Chosen, in the sincerity of their pain, she understood the insanity of accepting the assignment and exactly why she would. There was no logic in it, no list of pros and cons; it defied the calculation and the meticulous exactness that had thus far defined her career. This desire to accept welled from deep inside; a child’s innocent yearning from years long past; the prayers for rescue never answered.” (The Innocent, pg 55). I thought this was a great insight into how Munroe thinks and feels. Her hardened exterior is to protect the damaged child within.
““Superheroes defend what’s good and destroy evil,” she said. “They mete out justice, and everybody cheers. Nobody ever talks about what it feels like to kill.” She turned her palms upward and stared at them. “They don’t discuss the rush, the savage ecstasy of bloodlust, the sense of satisfaction when it’s finished.” Her eyes cut to his. “Superheroes are glorified serial killers, Miles. Sure, they only kill bad guys, but aside from the moral labels, what makes them any different from the madmen?”
“Have you ever considered that it’s not always wrong to kill?” he said. “Maybe some people need to be killed, maybe by taking them out you break the cycle of pain and suffering.”” (The Innocent, pg 189). I loved this quote, Miles Bradford makes a really interesting point that sometimes, it is necessary – and can be – good to kill. I also liked how Munroe views superheroes; I thought it was an uncommon description.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, I think that Taylor Stevens really has something here. Vanessa Michael Munroe is a rare character, a woman that takes care of herself and others, someone that has the strength, skill, and intelligence to blend into whatever role she needs to be in order to complete an assignment. Most importantly, in my opinion, she is a woman that gets herself into sticky situations and then gets herself out of them. She doesn’t wait around for the menfolk to come and rescue her – she saves herself. I think that is a very atypical quality in a female character. I have the next book in the series already and was very pleased to find out that there is another coming out in summer 2015. This is an exciting series that I believe appeals to a wide range of people.