Another review :)
Author: Melissa West
Series: The Taking #1
Release date: 18th of December 2012
Published by: Entangled Publishing LLC
Imprint: Entangled Teen
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Sci-Fi, Dystopia
Pages: 284 in Paperback format
Source: Bought for the Bookdepository
In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
I usually don’t read Sci-fi or dystopian YA, because these genres simply don’t offer what I’m looking for, but for some reason the synopsis of this book appealed to me and I decided to give it a try. And while I’m still not likely to pick up more books in this genre in the future, I did enjoy it and will find a way to fit the second book of the series in between my endless TBR pile.
The world created was unique and intriguing and the world building continued strong through the story. The central conflict of who is right and who wrong, are the actions of either party right, who is entitled to what, etc, was quite masterfully created. I was confused, then enlightened, then new information surfaces and I ended up changing my sympathy to either side as often as I change my underwear, and that’s a lot. There were motives and justification on both sides and I guess the lesson to be learnt is that neither is correct or incorrect in their beliefs, means and fears. And communication can go a long way if you are willing to do it, if not, then everyone take cover.
I liked that the scientific text and the explanations of how this current state of life came to pass wasn’t too heavy and didn’t take over the basic plot and characters. The overall pace was also fast and there was constant action and plot development, I think I finished this book in record time, it just flew by.
The strong, confident and knowing-right-from-wrong heroine was one of the highlights of this book. I also thought the hero wasn’t too shabby – mysterious, charismatic and on a mission. These two, I was hoping, would create an explosive and engaging couple, but there romance for me didn’t really take off. There were some sweet and successful scenes between those two, but nothing that entirely impressed me. BUT, I still spot potential there, so maybe there is more to this in the second book.
Something more to whine about: I wasn’t really wild about any of the secondary characters. They were too bland or annoying, but I guess this comes down to preference. Also, why does there have to be a cliffhanger? This one left me too frustrated.
Ari was a great and admirable heroine. She worked hard and she made the right choices on her own, despite the situations being overly complicated. She rebelled when she though lines were crossed that shouldn’t have been, even though, the consequences of her actions would result in torn loyalties and being in conflict with people closest to her. She took responsibility and didn’t turn a blind eye and that’s what made her awesome. From her attitude you could never guess that she is basically “elite” in every way, she was too down-to-earth and relatable for that.
Jackson and everything related to him was a mystery for the most part of the book, yes, he’s an alien, but his motive, past, identity, etc were all vague and made you hesitant about everything that was revealed. Otherwise, I liked that he was a rival to Ari in training and school and they were quite compatible in a sense that either could outsmart, out beat, etc the other in any way. They came across as equals in their abilities and roles.
I liked as a strictly no sci-fi and dystopia reader, so that has to count to something. Unique setting, great main two characters, girl power, fast-moving plot, endless potential – so give the book a shot!