Title: Gravity (The Taking #1)
Author: Melissa West
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: 284
In a nutshell: Not your typical sci-fi read!
|In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die. Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
I am usually not a sucker for anything sci-fi. I usually find it hard to get used to worlds containing aliens and strange technology, with my brain constantly being overchallenged with the huge amount of weirdness. Well, that has definitely changed with Gravity. Not even once did I feel bored while reading the book, mostly because of the amazing, unpredictable plot as well as the unique world building that hooks you from the very first page.
First off, I was particularly pleasantly surprised by the complex world building. Think of a mix of Divergent, The Host and Matched, adding some sci-fi elements to it. Ari lives in a world where humans have signed a treaty with aliens (which are called Ancients in the book), allowing them to “visit” the humans each night in order to extract antibodies. I am not exactly sure if the book is set in the future; however, I was constantly amazed by the technological advances West describes in the book. For example, food. People on earth have food pills now, which compromise all the nutrients a human body needs. Normal food nonetheless still exists which is reserved for the upper class only (to which Ari also belongs to) so West generally did a great job in depicting the social conflicts that arose as a result. And although I do believe that the sci-fi part could have been better-elaborated, the historical and political background is so cleverly woven into the story, it never failed to keep me intrigued and – what is more – entertained.
Both Jackson and Ari were characters that I could not instantly sympathize with. Ari was a little bit too trusting in terms of doing exactly the things Jackson asks her to do. In fact, would it not be rather logical if she had viewed him as some kind of stalker in the first place? I mean, c’mon, he has been hovering over her for over ten years and she does not even waste a thought to question his existence! So instead, I found myself gradually taking a shine to them, knowing they are not exactly the type of person they are expected to be in their society. I especially fell hard for Ari because this girl can seriously kick asses. I got ridiculously excited when I read the dialogues between her and Jackson in the training center where they have to undergo combat training, because, let’s face it, badass + badass = hilarious scenes!!
That being said, just like Ari, I found it rather hard to range myself with one of the conflict sides — humans or aliens. It is exactly this inner conflict in Ari herself that makes the story even more interesting. I sometimes felt sorry for her since she is constantly torn between her betrayal to her father as well as her desire to save the Ancients from being wept out. She quickly learns that all that glistens is not gold, both among humans and aliens, and it is exactly those grey shades that makes the story outstanding. This of course also added to Ari’s character development, making her a great heroine!
As one final thought: If you have always lurked around sci-fi books, undecided if you should read one or not, Gravity is the perfect book to start with, giving you a heart-stopping reading experience. Riveted by the bold and relentlessly paced plot and two strong leading characters, I found myself flying through the pages. Highly recommend!
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