“They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Bollocks! A brilliant cover can make you pick up a book you otherwise might've ignored. I am superficial - the art first attracted me to Melissa West's Taking series. Look at them! Seriously some of the most beautiful photos out there. Admittedly...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“I don't think I can do it.
“They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Bollocks! A brilliant cover can make you pick up a book you otherwise might've ignored. I am superficial - the art first attracted me to Melissa West's Taking series. Look at them! Seriously some of the most beautiful photos out there. Admittedly the scene from Gravity's cover doesn't occur in the novel, but the image is so awesome that I'll accept any reason to show it off.
The Taking itself (after which the series is named) is pretty darn creepy. Ancients can't survive on Earth without some sort of antibodies that they can only get from humans. So each Ancient is assigned a human. At midnight, the humans don a "patch", which is a mask that suctions to the face, covering the eyes, so the human can't see their Ancient. From the trees, the Ancients emerge, climb in through bedroom windows, and "Take" from their humans. Okay, I'm somewhat fuzzy on the details, because I find the whole concept of Taking rather scary and perhaps a bit rapey.
Another thing I'm foggy on: the Ancients themselves. They're supposedly really distinguishable by their golden skin and blue-green eyes. But if they're easily recognisable as Ancient, how come people don't seem to have cottoned on that [name redacted] is Ancient? I need a closer read or a better explanation.
The Australian Trinity has since been dissolved, thanks to the last leader being unable to have children to continue the legacy of the founding Australian leader. That region is now controlled by the African Trinity. What, they couldn't hold an election? Why does there have to be nepotism? Also, it's more likely that we'd be controlled by Asia. Think of soccer - we're in the Asian group. This is just nitpicking on my account, though - this probably won't bother non-Australian readers.
Gravity is my favourite kind of sci-fi - it's set on Earth. Albeit, I've heard Book 2, Hover is set elsewhere, but I still plan to give it a go. Melissa West's debut is big on action, low on romance (but still present), and abounds in science and technology that I'd love to learn more about. I've never read anything from Entangled Publishing before, but if Gravity is any example, they must be doing well. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Melissa West.”
“I don't think I can do it.
I can count the number of books I haven't been able to finish on one hand... but I can't.”
“This review is very hard for me to write, not because the book was bad or anything, it’s because I felt like I keep comparing this book to Stephanie Meyer’s Host. I blame it on the new movie that just came out. It’s true these books do have many similarities but I would say if you liked one you are definitely going to like the other. Now on to the book.
All in all the novel was great, but I do have a few complaints. I will play to the books strengths first. One, Melissa West boy do you know how to rope in your reader! The cover is so intriguing and who can’t become curious about a book when all it says is “in the future only one rule will matter, Don’t. Ever. Peek.” [it gives me chills just writing the words]. I also found the story line to be really interesting too. It constantly kept you guessing and I loved how you really can’t tell who the good guy is and who is the enemy. I found myself switching sides probably once every chapter and I am still not even sure about my decision.
The main character Ari I just adored. In the event of an alien take over I can only hope to be a badass like she was. She was strong, thoughtful and very independent which is required of her for she is in line to be the next commander and chief. Ari has an inner struggle with herself in doing what is right or being loyal to her people and her family. Given the circumstances I think she did the right thing but, I also have not read the sequel either so stay tuned for my final thoughts on that.
Then there is the lovely Jackson. I found myself wanting more of him in the book. He was so secretive and different I felt I didn’t really know him as a character by the end. But I must say he has all the things I like in a guy. He’s strong, thoughtful and he has a secret.
As far as the characters go I wanted more I felt like the story went by so fast I never really got the connection I love. There were so many unanswered questions [I hope that they are answered in the sequel]. This book is exciting and unpredictable but I just wanted more from everyone and everything. You can bet that I will be anxiously awaiting book two in August. ”
“i plan to read this book”Olivia B wrote this review Tuesday, March 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Looking forward to next in series..”sasha wrote this review Sunday, January 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! Read it in two days - fast paced! Can't wait for Hover!!!”Wendy wrote this review Wednesday, January 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I had high expectations for this one, probably cause I have been wanting to read it for a while now, and that cover is just so beautiful! Unfortunately it was just ok.
The concept of the book is great. The Ancients who are trying to coexist cause their planet is dying out, so they help rebuild ours with the hopes of living here as well. The way they Ancients had to adapt to our atmosphere. The politics involved between all the regions and then the Ancients, how the world works now after having it reconstructed.
You can tell she put some serious thought into it and I'm sure in the next books there will be some incredibly twists going on, but I don't know if I'll manage to get there.
To me characters can either make it or break it, and in this case it was the latter. Even though I liked that Ari could kick-ass, I just couldn't really relate to her for some reason. Actually I couldn't relate to any of them.
Gretchen was the only one semi ok. Lawrence was ugh, I didn't get him, he was like a background person most of the book till the end when he actually did something and even then it was just for like a couple of pages.
Then there is Jackson, who I was willing to like at first, but then he would keep telling Ari to trust her and all he did was keep lying to her! I don't care if he actually cares for her, you do not keep asking for trust and not even try to return it, sorry. It just didn't do it for me.”
“When I heard that Gravity released early on kindle I was like "OMG gimme NOW!" Needless to say I dove into it the moment I got it on my kindle. What I found when I started to read was just plain awesome. First off we get this kick ass heroine Ari who is no cry baby, a mysteriously sexy built bad boy Jackson to swoon over and a plot to die for...literally. I have to say that Entangled Publishing has filled their shelves with some serious bling authors. Melissa West's is one of those authors! Gravity will take you in and not let you go. Okay, enough fan girling, on to the characters.
First off this ass kicking heroine delivers in every way. I love that West didn't make Ari all brawn and no brains. I like that she could think on her feet, and never seemed to second guess herself. Not many female leads are like this. I truly admire the author for taking the time to make Ari relatable, and down to earth. Ari is a girl who knows her mind and when she sets out to do something she does it. Even though she carries a great weight of being the future commander it doesn't make her hardened or arrogant. She sees people suffering and wants to make a difference. In all honesty Ari wants to make changes when she takes over for her dad. I am very happy to see Ari is not a follower and she has her own mind. The closer I got to the end of Gravity I had every confidence that Ari will be the one to make changes when the time comes.
*Swoons* Ah, Jackson. Jackson is a total mystery. Even by the time I had read the last page I was left wondering what his full story was. Mind you that did make me love him any less. Really, it made me love him more. We do learn several thing about him, enough to get a good taste, but not enough to satisfy. As you can probably tell I am definitely looking forward to the next part in the series. The best thing about Jackson is that he makes Ari open her eyes and see that maybe things are not what they seem. Jackson makes her think outside the box, that make a great team. One things is for sure, when the time comes for Ari to take centre stage I have no doubt that Jackson will be right beside her. They are a perfect match.
Gravity was one crazy ride. Melissa West took the everyday alien vs government story and turned it into something fresh and new. The characters were well fleshed out and the plot draws you in and leaves you guessing. Mind you Gravity is not for the feint at heart, it does have several scenes that would leave a weaker person putting the book down. I didn't find it to be excessive and needless. I found that it opens your eyes to what Ari and Jackson are facing. That this is more than just some crazies acting out, this is real, we are taking genocide real. You will feel what they are feeling in those moments, the absolute disgust and horror of it. The author drags you into this world, opens it up and makes you see that things are not all butterflies and bows. That is what makes a good author. They're not afraid to take their readers there, to make them feel uncomfortable, they have no fear to open our eyes to the darker side of life. In other words, well done Melissa, you made Gravity everything I hoped it would be.”
“Four Stars: A thrilling, heart pounding beginning to a series.
Ari panics, she can't find her patch. Her Ancient is coming for the Taking and if she doesn't have the Patch over her eyes, serious repercussions will follow. It is too... late he is coming. She flings herself on her bed, terrified to move or breathe. The Ancients come every night to take the necessary nutrients from their human counterparts. As he takes from her body, she can't resist a peek, and she is shocked to find the handsome
Jackson Locke hovering over her. Instead of turning her in, he shushes her and promises to explain everything tomorrow. But tomorrow brings a tumult of problems. Soon Ari finds herself mired in a treacherous situation. Who does she trust? Jackson the Ancient or her father? Is everything she has been taught her entire life a lie? Are the Ancients out to destroy humanity, or will humanity destroy itself?
What I Liked:
*I loved that this book took me on a terrifying, heart pounding adventure. We are thrust into a future society in America that has rebuilt after the fourth world war. This civilization has a strange symbiotic relationship with the Ancients an advanced species on another planet who need Earth's water to save their dying world. The Ancients bailed out Earth after the last world war and in return humans must enable them to habituate their bodies to Earth so they can cohabit the planet. Of course, having two different species vying for the same resources creates a whole host of problems. Ari finds herself forced into opening her eyes and questioning everything she knows. Are the Ancients really the bad guys or is her father and the rest of the leaders at fault? Do you go against everything you know to be true and betray your friends and family or trust the boy who stole your heart? I loved that this book presents so many hard decisions.
*This book shows us the dark side of the human nature. How we are so quick to mistrust and hate people who are different. We are exposed to some horrible situations where the Ancients are tortured and experimented on and abused. My heart hurt for these victims and as I tried to reassure myself that it was just a story, I knew it was a lie. For as much as we want to deny that their is much darkness in the human heart, there is and situations like the ones in the book have occurred countless times in history. Ms. West forces us to face the evil nature of man and reminds us the consequences of our actions. The humans so quick to destroy the Ancients may instead end up decimating their own population. I appreciated that this book is thought provoking.
*I liked that this book presents a strong, capable and intelligent main character in Ari. She has trained her entire life to be a warrior so she is quick and deadly. Yet, she takes time to think things through and realizes that not everything falls into the category of right and wrong. She finds herself questioning all of her father's teachings. Ari shows tremendous courage in going against all she knows. Would you be brave enough to step up?
*The romance in this one is difficult...It is a forbidden romance and so that makes it all the more sweet. Of course, it is fraught with complications and the reader is left teetering wondering whether it will work out from one chapter to the next.
*I enjoyed the suspense and edge of your seat feel in this one. It isn't one where you are clutching your book in fright, but it does put you on edge and you have a subtle sense of anxiety throughout the book. I love books that keep me eagerly turning the pages and this one does just that!
And the Not So Much:
*I was perplexed that there was not more explanation regarding the Taking. In the beginning, the reader learns that the humans are subjected to this ritual every night. They must lie on their bed with a special Patch over their eyes while the Ancients come and draw nutrients from their bodies. What are they taking and why? Is it to help acclimate them? Do they need to do this every night? Do the humans feel anything after this event? Are they weakened by the Taking? What happens if The Ancients don't take? This event was confusing and definitely needed more detail.
*The other area where the story was lacking was in the details on the Ancients. So little is known about this species and their world. I kept thinking that details were forthcoming and was disappointed that there was so little to go on. It was apparent at the end of the story that the next book would give us more information on The Ancients. It is frustrating, though when it is missing in the first book.
*The villain, Zeus, remains a mystery. He plays such a little part in the book and I wanted to know more about him.
*Finally, this book ends on a cliffhanger so I was left with a bunch of questions after a nerve racking ending. After a violent episode, I didn't even know the repercussions and who survived. I detest cliffhangers and this definitely lowered my final opinion of the book since that is the last impression I had of the story.
Gravity is a compelling dystopian book that forces us to examine the evil side of humanity. Would you have the courage to stand and fight against popular thinking, against your family and friends and push to do the right thing? Ms. West thrusts us into a world where a girl is forced to make these difficult decisions. It is a thought provoking and suspenseful read. I enjoyed Ms. West's debut and can't wait for the continuation of this story!
"Now...I’m not sure how I feel. While fear is part of it, if I’m honest, completely honest, there is something deeper than fear inside me for this thing that climbs in my window."
“Danger lies with those who ignore the signs.”
"I don’t know. I feel like I’m losing myself. He’s all I can think about. It’s like gravity disappears when he’s around and I’m floating, lost. I think...I think I might be...” I tug at my ponytail, twirling it around my finger again and again."
"I’ve never understood why we send our future into the fight, but that’s how it has always been, and how it will always be...if we survive this."
"I try to look anywhere but at him, knowing that if I allow myself to look into his eyes, I’ll melt. The reservoir will spill over, exposing just how wrecked I am inside."
"I’m sure going to training today will be hard, but that’s what being an adult is, dear. We have to face things that frighten us head on."
"Real is loving someone with so much passion that they anger you as much as they excite you. Real love grips you in a way that never releases, and while you may hate that person in one breath, one look from them melts your heart."
"Sweetie,” she says, taking my hand, “there is a lot of gray between life and death. Life isn’t worth living if you aren’t with the ones you love."
"Another time, I would have called them cowards, but I was ignorant then, not understanding that war is about a lot more than courage. It’s about what’s right, separate from expectation or orders."
A big thanks to Entangled Publishing for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@ Rainy Day Ramblings
“Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-play-list-gravity-blog-tour.html
I am, of course, inextricably drawn to all dystopias, but the gorgeous cover on this one bumped it up my TBR pile. Plus, the fact that it's about aliens intrigued me. A straight up science fiction plot line sounded refreshing and like it left room open for serious originality. Gravity did not turn out to be quite what I was hoping for, but still proved an engaging read.
The world building of Gravity left me with copious amounts of questions. For example, I would dearly love to know what the first contact between the Ancients and the humans was like. Surely, this would be remembered. However, what I do know is pretty cool. The Ancients are fascinating. Driven from their home world as it dries up, they have been moving to Earth slowly in exchange for keeping peace there. They have the ability to look human, although oddly tanned, beautiful and with strange eyes that shift from blue to green (my eyes totally do this, so if I ever tanned, I would totally look like an Ancient...minus the insanely beautiful thing). I would also love to know more about how they gave themselves a human appearance.
Well, there is one other weird thing about the Ancients. Their bodies consist largely of a different substance than water. As one might expect, they are biologically different. Per the deal with the leaders of Earth, the Ancients obtain their nutrients by taking them from humans every night. People put on immobilizing masks and sleep and Ancients come in the windows and leech nutrients. If they wanted to, the Ancients could kill via this same method. This process is called 'the taking.' Criminals must love this society, since everyone's got their windows unlocked and is lying immobile in bed, but whatever.
Ari is studing to be an Operator, sort of like a police officer/soldier/special agent, so far as I understand it. Her father is the Commander, the second most powerful man in the United States' government. She will inherit this role. Though she's only seventeen, she is engaged to be married to the President's son, Lawrence. She likes him, but not romantically; their engagement is solely political. Ari's training involves a lot of fighting and she does kick butt.
While all of that stuff makes a captivating premise, Gravity sticks much too closely to the standard romance formula. Ari falls into the category of gorgeous heroines that feel average and that every guy wants, complete with a less attractive and talented best friend to envy her success with menfolk. The two most popular guys want to be with Ari. Go figure.
The book opens with Ari unable to find her sleeping mask. As such, she is awake when her Ancient comes for 'the taking.' She discovers that he is just as attractive as she imagined, and also that he goes to her school, none other than the gorgeous Jackson. Now that they have this bond, they have no choice but to instalove. In a matter of weeks, they go from never having conversed to being in love forever, despite the disapproval of their parents. Pardon me while I hurl. Even worse, Jackson does that thing where he tries to end things because he's no good for her. This trope makes me crazy!
My other issue was that, though I read everything, it felt as though I had missed things. For example, Ari and Jackson were working together to try to figure out a way to prevent war between the Ancients and the humans, and Lawrence (nicknamed Law apparently, which is stupid) was jealous of this guy (who had a girlfriend) edging in on his lady. Then, all of a sudden, Lawrence is part of the plan and calling Jackson 'Jack.' When did they bond? Some things just felt like they came out of the blue.
This first book of The Taking reads quickly, and whets the appetite for some darker books. I hope to see more world building and less of a focus on romance in the next installment. ”