Author: Kimberly Derting
Release: April 29th 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Aliens, YA
#1 in the Taking trilogy
Sequels: The Replaced (#2), The Countdown (#3)
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?
No fair. This started out so good, and I was almost starting to question all the other 2 and 1 star ratings I have seen. But then, round about page 100, I was starting to realize that I was led into a trap.
See, this novel gives the illusion of being really interested, and being good. It makes you feel safe and secure in the knowledge that you're in for a good sci-fi mystery, when in reality, you've just signed up for unrealistic teenage drama.
In all honesty, that was its breaking point: it was just way, way too unrealistic. And it's not even the alien aspect that is unrealistic, no, it's the entire human part of it, the characters and their relationships. There was something ringing my alarm bells right from the start, and that is Tyler's and Kyra's feelings for each other. If your sibling's significant other suddenly vanished without a trace, leaving them devastated and shocked for over a year, would you really pursue that person once they come back after five years? Would you try to act like nothing happened, like it's not strange at all that they've been missing for five years without a clue where they could have been? And even if you've always had a kid crush on them and your sibling has moved on in the meantime, would you still try to flirt with them, especially since technically, they're still four years older than you? Seriously?
And would you, fresh amnesiac missing for five years without any recollection of it, really be falling for them? Around all the crazy, in between of discovering your dad's gone off the deep end, realizing your mom has started a new family in your absence and that your boyfriend and best friend are now dating, and trying to sort out your life now that you're back, would you honestly have time to drive around town with your boyfriend's kid brother, who may not be a kid anymore, but who still should be a kid to you since the last memory you have of them is them drawing with chalk on the streets on their chubby 12-year-old ass, and appreciate their dimples? I dare you to tell me yes, you would. I double-dare you.
I just couldn't stomach the ridiculousness of it. It was so absurd, so completely out of the question for me that I never for a second bought any of it. Sure, I did think their interactions and stuff were cutesy and harmless at first, but I never would have thought they would really take that serious a road. You know, after figuring the alien stuff out, Kyra decides to tell Tyler that she's supernaturally enhanced now, and he just takes it in stride. Like it's nothing. His reaction was so unbelievable, I'm not sure who's the weird freak here, Kyra or him.
Apart from the wholly irritating relationship, I was really intrigued by the whole set-up at first. It was interesting reading about Kyra coming back after five years and having to adjust to a whole new life, adjust to her friends and family having tried to move on. The first 100 pages thus were the best part, because those were still about discovering how to deal with revelations like those, and I also think that at least in that respect, Kyra's reactions were mostly appropriate. At last, she has some common sense. All of that whole trying to mend relationships but realizing it's never going to be the same again, it was nice and well done. I wish it could have been that way the whole novel.
The whole alien aspect, it was ... well, it wasn't terribly executed, but Derting also didn't manage that well, either. I liked the whole firefly aspect and the stalker agent creeping around, as well as all the other crazy "coincidences" because it added to the whole mystery aspect, which kept me wanting to read on, trying to figure the stuff out. However, Kyra gets sidetracked by the whole teenage drama things, and thus, the science fiction aspect gets drawn out for way too long. Like, I wanted the damn answers at first, but then I got bored by everything insignificant that was going on in the meantime so that when the "answers" finally came around, I wasn't interested anymore. Too late, buddy.
Sooo. I was hoping I'd really like this, but I think Derting has some serious issues with romance. All of her relationships have been badly executed so far, and while I could overlook the flaws in one case and actually like the couple (in The Pledge), I couldn't in the other two cases, and it's really ruining her books. This could have been a pretty nice read, if she had focused more on the actual plot and maybe thrown a bit of reality in there, too. As much as you can in an alien novel, at least. I will say, however, that the ending did pique my interest again, so maybe I'm going to read the sequel. If I feel like it when the time comes. Who knows.