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?
I enjoyed THE TAKING and it was a pretty quick read, but there were a few things that just felt a bit too underdeveloped for me, making it frustrating as I couldn't quite get fully immersed into the story. Don't get me wrong, the book was good, but as I'm writing this I'm going back and forth between a 3 and a 4 star rating in my head. The concept of the taking and the aliens was rather left field for me, it just didn't make any sense, especially when the firefly aspect was brought in. Also, the whole bleeding issue really really made no sense to me, and honest felt more like a ploy to have a conflict/explain the crazy complication that occurs in the book. Frankly I understand the reaction from a certain group because of that complication, but it seemed too little too late. It's a pretty big deal, so I don't get why they weren't all over it sooner, thus pulling out me out of the story as it was that off kilter. I realize that was incredibly vague and won't make much sense until after you read the book, but I don't want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say that the handling of things, and the "complications" require more than a little belief suspension to follow along.
Another thing I'm not entirely sure about was the romance. I loved the two characters together, and I even understood the instalove between the two as Tyler had a terrible crush on Kyra when he was younger, and on her side of things, well he was the only stable thing she could grab onto in her turned upside down world. So as I said, I get that instalove, but what I couldn't get behind was the plot ploy thrown in that I vaguely mentioned about. Again it seemed to be just thrown in there for no other purpose than to add conflict, and since it wound up directly messing with the romance, it bears repeating here. It left me feeling a bit disconnected from the romance as I think that issue/roadblock was thrown into things too soon as I was just really getting on board with them together before the rug was thrown out from under them. So basically, instalove can be okay in my book as long as it isn't torn right back away.
All in all, THE TAKING was a decent start to a new series with a few kinks that can easily turn around in the next installment. If you're a fan of lighter scifi with action and a bit of suspense, and don't mind having to suspend a bit of disbelief, this one is for you.
(Received a copy from the publisher via Edelweiss)