ARC Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting – WTFness

The Taking, Kimberly DertingGenres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Science Fiction
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publication House: Harperteen
Number of pages: 368
Source: ARC from Edelweiss
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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’ve read my share of alien stories these past two years. There’s just something about extraterrestrial creatures that intrigue the geek in me – the unfamiliarity, that sense of other-worldliness, the knowing they come from somewhere that’s  beyond human comprehension. I’m not sure where this curiosity of mine started, but watching X Files has surely solidified that. Unfortunately, many of what I read that had this subject matter last year have been largely disappointing, and I’ve yet to read a book with aliens that could completely satisfy me. As for The Taking, while it had potential, I didn’t find it to be so special either.

Kyra was on her way home from a successful softball game. Unfortunately, she and her father have been arguing in the car about her boyfriend and her upcoming university life, and at the spur of the moment, she went out of the car only to be enveloped by a blinding white light. Next thing she knew, she woke up to the same place, but in a different timeframe, and she soon discovered 5 years has passed since anyone saw her that fateful night. And yet, she still felt like how she was that very day – the same bruise, the same clothes, the same everything. However, while this was so, everything else around her was completely different – her parents have now separated, she has a stepdad and a stepbrother, and her boyfriend (or ex boyfriend now) was in college with her best friend, Cat. Even his little brother, Tyler, who she remembered a 12 year old boy, was 17 now. What the heck happened?

THE GOOD

I loved Kyra’s reaction to what happened. You can really feel her confusion, anger, and frustrations, seeing everything has changed in a moment’s notice. I usually don’t like the lashing kind of heroine, but I felt her reaction was well-justified. All of a sudden, she had a stepbrother and a stepdad. All of a sudden, the boy she loved has moved away to college with her best friend, Cat. All of a sudden, her parents who loved each other now hated each other’s guts. Her old life has crumbled away and she was powerless to fix any of it, because five years has passed without her knowing, and it has become too late to do anything but to simply accept the situation as it was. Many times I felt like crying for her, especially when she found out about her boyfriend and her best friend being together. Even thought I personally thought it was okay since they genuinely thought Kyra was dead for 5 years, I still felt that pain. And man, did it hurt.

THE BAD

Whoo, boy. Let’s dissect this one.

1.) Instalove. What the flying monkey balls. Not only was the romance weird, it was instalove at its finest. So we all know Austin was her boyfriend, right? And this Austin had a younger brother named Tyler, who, on the day of Kyra’s disappearance, was 12 years old. When they finally see again, him finally seventeen years old as 5 years have passed, she commented on how he looked so much like Austin – the hair, the eyes, the face, everything. And next thing you know, that’s all she would think about. How gentleman-ly he was, how similar they were… not even a week passed since her “coming back” and she’s fallen for him! I mean come on, girl. I get that he’s swoony and everything, but the last time you saw him he was 12. And you could have been 21, too, for Pete’s sake, since at that time you didn’t know if you were 21 or 16. At first it was cute because awww, puppy love, then it progressed too fast, and I was no longer convinced of their love for each other, which kinda came out of nowhere.

2.) The unnecessary details. One thing that I noticed about this book was the prose. At first, I thought it was kinda lovely, because it really portrayed Kyra’s feelings in a way that moved me. But then, I noticed some patterns. Some stuff were being added that just didn’t feel necessary to the storyline. Then I got to that part where she was talking about her past, when suddenly I started reading about her taking the spaghetti from the fridge, peeling the plastic wrap, putting the fork in the center, twirling the fork, to putting it in her mouth, to fucking chewing it. But longer. Like, it lasted three paragraphs, okay?

WHAT.

WHAT. THE. HELL.

WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT HOW YOU EAT YOUR SPAGHETTI? I GODDAMN DON’T.

You know, I could totally understand that if this book were entitled Pasta Eating For Dummies, but it’s not. What was the point of that, really? I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get it at all.

3.) Internet abbreviation in a traditionally published novel. Need I say more, really? If it were in a text message or in a chatroom discussion, I would understand that, but it’s not. I know many others will agree with me they don’t think F-M-L in their thoughts. They think it instead as “Fuck my life”, not as three individual letters.

The pounding in my head was back, starting behind my eyes and radiating down the back of my neck. FML.

Major, major, MAJOR facepalm.

4.) Weird verbs. I didn’t even reach 5 percent of the book yet and I encountered this… this… this “verb”. Or rather, this sorry excuse of a verb:

whisper-yell

Why. Just… why. Why can’t it simply be whisper? There are many ways to write urgency in a dialogue. That’s what punctuation is for. Use them, please. Don’t make up words.

And I swear if I see stuff like whisper-tell, whisper-cry, whisper-whimper, whisper-shout, whisper-moan, whisper-groan, whisper-mutter, whisper-exclaim, whisper-cheer and even whisper-whisper, I will lose it. SERIOUS-FUCKING-LY.

5.) Weird pacing. While I loved the angst that happened in the first half of the book, it gets to the fast-paced part in an incredibly slow pace. You need to read like half the book before it even crawls along. And then we’re given WTF situations, one after another, and while I find the alien concept here kinda… intriguing… the “superpower” stuff like levitation, superstrength, night vision, stalled breathing felt contrived. I was not happy at all.

ALL IN ALL, it was a disappointing read, BUT I have a feeling it has potential to get better. So I’m going to keep my hopes up. I’m not going to be pessimistic about the rest of the series, and will check out the next book when it comes out. Hopefully it will deliver.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Impact
Opening
Climax
Ending
Overall: 2.7
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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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    • FayeFaye says

      Awwww, thanks! I try to put humor as much as I can :D I’d like to keep you entertained after all!

    • FayeFaye says

      I knooow. I was really frustrated when I read it, but in hindsight, it’s funny as hell now. I really don’t know what it was doing there.

  1. says

    HAHAHAHA FAYE!!! You put it in the words and humour I couldn’t xD But yes, I agree with you, there are really so many face-palm worthy and WTH scenes in this book, even I couldn’t stand it :P And like Glass said, it was more fun to read your review than the book itself, so that’s a major plus xD

    • FayeFaye says

      Right?! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who felt this way. There were a lot of 5 star reviews from other people, so I expected it to sit well with me, but nope nope NOPE. :(

    • FayeFaye says

      It can be done. things like that doesn’t really bother me all that much (I mean my sister-in-law used to be in love with my oldest brother before she fell and married my second oldest brother… then again the first one was a puppy love more than anything!), but yeah, the romance here just didn’t work as well as I’d have hoped.

    • FayeFaye says

      I would have given it a 1 if Kyra’s angsty moments didn’t move me :P It’s more of a 2 than anything else, but ehh, there are other factors to consider!

  2. laila bc says

    Well, this is too bad…I really enjoyed her body finder series and I have hopes for this one…and I’m not so keen about the alien part. But I can say I enjoyed this review :))

    • FayeFaye says

      Perhaps the body finder series would work better for me… and yeah, the alien part was kinda cool for 5 minutes, and then I realized it was never explained beyond the fact there are aliens.

  3. says

    Oh dear, it sucks when a book doesn’t live up to its potential. ;( That insta-love scenario sounds weird. I find myself cringing when an mc loves a guy and then sets eyes on his brother or whatever. *shudders*

    I somehow knew this one wouldn’t work for me, even her other mystery trilogy wasn’t my cup of tea. I did love her Pledge trilogy, though. <3
    Rneu recently posted…Quotable Quotes (#4)My Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I know! :( I expected so much from this in a way, due to the sea of positive reviews. But the romance was just… weird and icky and cringe-inducing, all in one. I need to read her Pledge trilogy then!

    • FayeFaye says

      I KNOOOW! That was the first thing I thought of. Who gives a crap how you read your spaghetti! I don’t even bother knowing how I eat mine. It’s just chew chew chew! LOL!

    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you, love! Making you smile gives me happiness, too! And did you know I just finished a book where it has a whisper-yell, too? that’s the second time this month that I got that. Ugh. It’s becoming a trend, and I dread it.

  4. says

    Yep. Totally waiting to see how the series goes before committing to this one. AND DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT HURTS TO PUT AN A-L-I-E-N BOOK ON HOLD?! Do you??! Gah. PS–I don’t care how anyone eats there spaghetti either. It could be Tom freaking Hiddleston, and I still wouldn’t care. I might stare. Probably drool. But I’d have no idea what he was doing . . . b/c eating is BORING. Don’t waste my time by describing it at length, you big weirdo. Fabulous review, Faye ;)
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    • FayeFaye says

      I’m not going to put much hope in it, but I am curious to read the sequel, so I’ll let you know how it goes :P And i knooow! Alien books! The heavens know how much those are in demand (I mean, in demand FROM US AWESOME PEOPLE). Why must the few ones be so dreadful >_<

  5. says

    I felt the same way as you did, Faye. This was a terrible book and nothing about it appealed to me. The romance was probably what I hated the most. Without it and with more focus on the actual plot and the world-building, this could have been a decent read. But yeah, this was an utter disappointment. So many people loved it though, so maybe it’s just us. I’m glad I’m not the only black sheep though!
    Great review, Faye. Hope you read something fantastic soon! :)
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (70) : Winterkill by Kate A BoormanMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Yay, I’ve found a kindred spirit! *sends you a thousand virtual hugs because we are awesome like that* And it’s understandable the romance was a null for you. It took up a lot of the book! It kept on emphasizing about Tyler, when 5 minutes later she would think about Austin, and then she would go back to Tyler. UGH!

  6. says

    It is now my life goal to write a book and use ‘whisper-whisper’ in it. Ha!

    Also, Pasta Eating for Dummies. Lololol. It sounds completely unnecessary and a little weird!
    But what sounds exceptionally weird is the romance O.o Like, no thank you. I’m glad I skipped this one, tbh!

    Lovely review, Faye <33
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    • FayeFaye says

      Oh, lord. Celine, you know I love you, but as a friend who has your best interests at heart, DON’T! SERIOUSLY, DON’T!

      Kidding aside, the descriptions were pretty overkill sometimes. I’ll never forget that paste episode. It’s one of the fails this years fer shore. /shakes head

  7. says

    LOL Faye i couldn’t get through your review without cracking up!
    This one was on my TBR and i was looking forward to it so much but now i just don’t think this one is for me. i’m not into insta-love and i have to admit the age difference thing had me CRINGING when i read it in your review.
    Great review Faye!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog
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    • FayeFaye says

      Ugh, when you get to it, I seriously hope you like it way better than I did. Although another humorous negative review won’t hurt either ;)

  8. says

    I’m cracking up! You don’t know what a wishper-yell is? Ha ha, now you know. And it is very, very important ti know how to eat spaguetti!!!
    Obviously, I won’t be reading this one. From the blurb it sounds to me like one of those parallel universe stories that I just hate. Alliens, I love. Is it parallel lives?
    Such a same; such a beautiful cover.
    lectus recently posted…Dear Killer by Katherine EwellMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I do know what they are, but I could probably portray them better than combining two words. Like:

      “Hey, stop doing that! It’s inappropriate!” he exclaimed with a hiss, his eyes widening in panic.

      Or something like that ;P

    • FayeFaye says

      Super glad you enjoyed it Janina! :D I really wish I enjoy the second one, too. That cliffhanger was kinda cruel :(

      And yes, the pacing was incredibly annoying. It kept teasing us and teasing us.

  9. says

    Damn, I was quite excited about the sci-fi aspects of this book, but it seems that thought the climax and the impact of this book was good, the rest didn’t live up to your expectations… sorry to hear it was so disappointing for you, Faye!
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    • FayeFaye says

      Thank you, Pili. The sci-fi aspects were pretty lacking… the world-building wasn’t that great either. We just know that aliens exist and they’re abducting people. Teenagers mostly because “they won’t be missed” which is a pretty laughable and lame and convenient excuse. Haha.

  10. says

    Aww! :( This one had such an intriguing plot. I’m sorry it didn’t live up though! I definitely can see where you’re coming from though. There’s a fine line between detail, and… detail, you know? And the romance? *shudders* Definitely not something I’d probably like.

    As much as I hate to say it, I think I’m going to give this one a miss as everything you’ve mentioned here would probably annoy me as well. Thanks for sharing your opinions though Faye, and, as always, brilliant review! <3

    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, absolutely. Please give me natural details, and not those contrived ones that aren’t relevant anymore! I remember reading one where it described a tavern FOR THREE FRICKING PAGES!!! :(

  11. says

    This one does seem quite full of potential and promise. However there seems to be a lot of odd things going on O.o Like that romance??? um what even is that?? Not only is it insta-love but it just seems so strange with the age thing and just no thank you. Along with the text talk in normal speech and extremely detailed to the point of absurdity descriptions, The Taking doesn’t look like it’s the one for me.

    Awesome review! (:
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  12. says

    Oh boy! Where to start. Like you I was always fascinated by aliens. They are maybe the closest to real we can get. So yeah it was always great to read about them. But not in a book like this one, obviously. What’s wrong with all damn normal verbs? There are enough of them, so why doing that*? And internet slang in character’s mind is just a big NO-NO. So sorry that this one disappointed you. Great review, Faye :)
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    • FayeFaye says

      I have always been fascinated with them myself! There are times I check out the interwebz on news about them, if we ever progressed with communicating with anything extraterretrial. HAHA!

    • FayeFaye says

      I KNOW! It was so strange reading that. And hello, she could have been 21 (I mean she was still 16, but when they met again everyone assumed she aged together with them). He was still a minor! >.>

      Hah, perhaps the step-by-step of Kyra farting is of vital importance as well? HAHA!

  13. says

    It’s good that you were able to connect to the main character enough to feel for her! If I can’t bring myself to care about the MC I end up pretty disinterested in the entire book.

    O.O That romance sounds … so strange. I’m not even sure what’s going on there xD Wasn’t that kind of creepy too? And boo, instalove. This one isn’t making too many points so far.

    YES. I said the same thing about prose in my review of Prisoner of Night and Fog, it’s nice at first but then it gets repetitive and makes the book just drag on.

    GAH the text talk thing KILLS me. It brings the maturity of the book down like three notches, I can’t even. I remember reading that in one book and just HATING it. -Just went to look it up, it was in the 5th Wave where she says: “God, like WTF?” (Might have been more but I DNFed that book xD ) It’s just not even realistic. This one actually reminds me of the 5th Wave even in general. I will be skipping this one!
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    • FayeFaye says

      I agree. Sometimes I DNF books where the heroines or heroes just don’t connect with me at all. Of course there’s that need to finish, but if it’s not working, why push it, right?

      And yes, the romance was strange. I didn’t like it at well. It sounded cute at first, but it was just bizarre with all of her comparing Tyler to Austin and then gushing about how more awesome he was than her ex-boyfriend. LOL.

  14. says

    Some people have commented on how your reviews are sometimes better than the book and I have to agree with them! I love it when you go on rants, Not only are they funny, but they are justified to!

    I have read quite a few reviews for this one. People either think it is amazing or that it is awful! One thing that everyone seems to agree on is the instalove aspect. For me personally there is nothing worse, I despise love triangles but I can deal with them better than I can instalove. I know books aren’t here to teach us all the time but they should throw insta-confetti out either!

    Great review , my dear! I hope your next read it better! <3 xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries
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    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, there were seas of glowing reviews before I read this book, that’s why I was partially optimistic about it (heck, excited even!) but yes, that instalove was just horrible. You’d think with all the complaining and moaning and whining readers do about this factor, authors would know better than incorporate it. /disappointed

  15. says

    Hahaha! Despite the 2.7 rating, this honestly sounds like crap. The romance sounds disgusting, and long descriptions easily bore me. I cannot handle text language in books! It’s just really bothersome and it comes off as unprofessional. -_- Awesome review as always, Faye! <3
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  16. says

    This book actually sounded so promising, but I’ve been reading similar reviews from bloggers who have really disliked it. Seriously, that romance wtf. She could have ANY romantic interest, and she chose her ex-bf’s BROTHER? *facepalm x 1000* I actually wanted to read this book, but I don’t know anymore. So many subpar reviews for it…maybe one day! :P
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  17. says

    Your Spaghetti rant cracked me the heck up! I can see why that would be annoying. I hate unnecessary details that completely slow the plot down. Sorry this didn’t quite work for you, Faye. I hope you end up enjoying the next one better if you do decide to give it a go. Great honest review! :)
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