Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting


The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Book One of The Taking series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. 

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

What I Liked:

While my rating of this book isn't super high, I enjoyed the story! I honestly didn't know much about this book before reading or even downloading it - I just saw the author's name and clicked it. I've read a few of Derting's novels, and while I didn't love them, I didn't hate them. I usually enjoyed them, but really had no desire to keep reading the series. Unfortunately, this book fell under the same spell as the other books of Derting's that I've read. I enjoyed it, but I really don't care enough to keep reading the series. We'll see - if I can get a review copy, then maybe I'll read the sequel.

Kyra disappeared for five years, without a trace - but to her, it was only a day. She hasn't aged to twenty-one, as she still physically looks and feel sixteen. Everything is the same for her, except life moved on. Her mother and father are no longer together. Her mother has a new family. Her father is a raving lunatic and drunkard. Her best friend and boyfriend are faithfully together now. The younger brother of her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, Austin) who is Tyler is now seventeen and incredibly attractive. But Kyra wants - no, needs - to know what happened that night, why she still seems the same, except not the same...

I was a little scared that I'd be bored for some reason, but the good thing was that I basically zipped through this novel. The plot isn't anything extraordinary, and in fact, it was a bit predictable, but it was a pretty enjoyable story. It seemed like a lot of it focused on the romance, between Kyra and Tyler. But then, a good portion dealt with Kyra's adjustment to five-years-later life.

That is something that I think Derting really hit on the head - Kyra's adjustment to life that left her behind. I kept trying to put myself and Kyra's shoes, and Derting made it easy for readers. It seemed very realistic and plausible, the way Kyra reacted to all of the changes - especially considering that Kyra is a teenager. She hates her mom's new family. She hates her best friend and ex-boyfriend. She can't stand the questions. Somehow, Derting really brings out Kyra's (teenage) reactions to everything, without over- or under-doing things. This was well done.

My second favorite part of this novel was definitely the romance. I loved seeing sparks fly between Tyler and Kyra, in a really subtle, adorable way. Of course, I think Tyler is entirely too perfect, but maybe it seems that way because he has been in love with her for so long, and he has had time to perfect ways to seduce her. Or something. Either way, I liked the romance. I like that Kyra got a second (better) chance at romance, even if the rest of her life was a mess.

Other than Kyra's reactions and the romance, there wasn't anything super remarkable about this novel. It's your typical "superpower" novel, in my opinion, with an alien twist. It didn't seem very original to me, but that's my opinion. See more below.

What I Did Not Like:

Some things that bothered me: the overall story seemed unoriginal, the plot was predictable, the love interest was entirely too perfect, the climax and ending was confusing.

I'll start with the overall story seeming unoriginal. Maybe I've read many, many science fiction stories that deal with something causing teenagers to have incredible powers. Or some unnatural event that makes them superhuman, and so on. Take Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Actually, now that I think about it, this book (The Taking) is very similar to that of Armentrout, with the exception of the actual "taking" part. It's just so unoriginal, the alien thing, the superpower thing, the unnatural event that causes all of it. I'm not saying that other topics in literature AREN'T unoriginal, but this bothered me, in this book. I guess I expected better - which is funny because I didn't know much about this book before reading it.

The plot was predictable. I guess this goes along with an unoriginal story. I could see what was coming way before those things happened. There weren't many twists and turns in this book, which didn't help with the predictability. The predictable plot and unoriginal didn't quite hold my attention as much as I had hoped it would. As a university student, I need books that will grab my attention and not let go - therefore, the less attention-grabbing books are a little painful to read. It wasn't boring, but it wasn't super interesting, either.

I already mentioned that I thought that Tyler was a little too perfect. It seemed like he was the perfect Don Juan, except he only has eyes for Kyra. He is the nerdy type, so his attempts at seduction and flirtation seemed adorable and a bit awkward at times. Don't get me wrong, I really like Tyler. But I feel like he had very little depth. His purpose seems to be ONLY to chase Kyra (as a love interest). It doesn't seem like he is more than that - it doesn't seem like he is an actual person with a purpose in this book (except to whisper sweet nothings in Kyra's ear). No thank you.

The climax and the ending was confusing. I feel like the pacing was off - it all happened very, very quickly. That sounds super cliche, but you know what I mean. The author threw events at the reader and expected us to keep up with what was going on. I couldn't figure out what was happening - I'm not entirely sure what happened with the river, and directly before that. You'll know what I mean if you read the book. It was confusing. And I don't exactly know what happened in the ending. I won't spoil anything, but it ends in a sort-of cliffhanger. Just warning you. 

Would I Recommend It:

Hmm, this is difficult to say. On the one hand, I enjoyed the story (for the most part). On the other hand, it didn't seem super original or attention-keeping (whatever the phrase is). I'm a science fiction fan, yet this one still didn't really appeal to me. So, I suppose if you like this author's other books, check this one out. But otherwise, skip it. 

Rating:

3 stars. I might look into reading the sequel when it comes (or review copies are available). It's not a priority, but I'll definitely consider it (assuming my 2015 review and TBR lists aren't overflowing with fabulous titles). 



Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

12 comments:

  1. I finished this one last week. I rather enjoyed it, at least more than you. I actually found the romance to be too quick. I mean, I understood Tyler had this crush on her, but that was 5 years ago. And you mean to tell me he hadn't moved on from that or had a girlfriend of his own (I think this would have made the plot a bit more interesting on the romance front).

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    1. I'm glad that you liked it! I wasn't impressed, overall. I agree about the romance - it was definitely thrown at readers. Tyler brought his A game, but it seemed weird. And that DEFINITELY would have made things more interesting - if Tyler had a girlfriend of his own. Honestly, if he is that magnificent and handsome and charming, shouldn't he have a girlfriend? Maybe not though. Whatever.

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  2. I found the synopsis quite interesting and I'm still curious about this one after your review, even if I'm not terribly intrigued.
    Thanks for a great and honest review as always, Alyssa!

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    1. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it! You're very welcome, and thank YOU!

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  3. Nice review. I have to admit I am dying to read this one! Yet another title Edelweiss rejected me for numerous times. Since we're in its release month, I'm just going to wait now. Got plenty to read in the meantime.

    I loved Kimberly's Body Finder series so I was anxious for this one to begin. Her dystopian series didn't really capture me. Probably like this one did for you. But still I must give it a try come release day!

    Again, very nice review!

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    1. Aww, I'm sorry to hear that, Jessica! I'm sure you'll start to get more approvals soon. I hope that if you read this book, you enjoy it! You'll probably enjoy it more than I did :)

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  4. Yeah I agree, I have that same trend with most of her books. They're good but there are some flaws overall with it. And I hate when love interests are way too perfect and glorified because characters are supposed to have flaws. Glad you liked this this one in general though :)

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    1. I think I'll stop with this series (if I even continue with this series) - unless she pulls out a super awesome fantasy book or series. I'm happy that I gave this book a chance. Thank you!

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  5. I remember seeing this title some time ago, and the synopsis never grabbed me. I'm glad you still somewhat enjoyed the story. I'll probably be skipping this one. Thanks for the review! :)

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    1. I think skipping it is probably smart. It isn't a must read. You're very welcome, Kel!

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  6. I like your honesty! Great review!

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