Saturday, 2 May 2015

Untaken by J. E. Anckorn



Arc provided by Curiosity Quills Press through Netgalley

Book status: Already Released ( March 23rd )


For me the main problem with this story, is that it feels as if it suffers from multiple personality book disorder.
 
This was supposed to be a YA sci-fi story, but with a fourteen, a fifteen and even a younger kid, there's times in which this is clearly a middle grade story.
 However there are other moments in which this crosses to "the adult road" _ a lot of swearing for instance and misogynistic bullshit. I normally couldn't care less about this situation_ the first one_, but in this story it just felt strange and out of place.

But then there's a lot of "dorks", "nerds", "losers", "chicks" comments running around, so I guess that that makes this YA.

The synopsis sounded really amazing: I read it, and my mind immediately conjured images of something along the lines of "Angelfall". Something intense and focused on the characters survival.
My bad.

The thing is that for more than thirty percent we get treated to the characters backstory, and it says a lot about the story execution that despite being privy to that, I couldn't care less about them.

The characters:
For starters, Gracie sounds way younger than her fourteen years old.

"Mom and Dad always told me never to play with—or even touch—lighters or matches, and even though getting a booboo was a seriously pre-Space Man thing for a person to worry about,(..)

Brandon sounds way older than his fifteen years of life, something more than comprehensible due to the way he was raised, but for almost three quarters of the story, the guy is such a prick to the girl that I practically couldn't stand him. If an alien would come and took him away, I would just say:
THANK YOU.
 I am not sure anymore if it's on their first or second interaction that he calls Gracie a bitch...

"There was something kind of romantic about a gun."

Then there's comments like this "lying around" waiting to trip you. "A pearl of wisdom" that a friend of Brandon apparently decided to share with the guy.
Yup! Buy a gun you teens, blow your brains out!-_-

Also, the story has some severe lacunas in important parts of the story:
For instance, when Gracie and Brandon first meet they are both in a safe-house with a large number of other refugees . But then something out of a nightmare happens, and the military forces end up appearing and everything is told fast forward in a blink of an eye... and that's it. Move on.
We never have a clear image of what has happened. Where is the government? Where are his allies?
WHERE IS NATO?
Where are the other survivors?

With the exception of a few moments, the pace of a story never manages to pick up.
Strangely _ in a story like this _ this was a most boring read. I lost count to the vast number of pages wasted on boring, couldn't care less details.

Yes it has some horror moments, some alien abduction scenes, some disgusting octopus attacks, but when I didn't get to watch  a real partnership establish itself between the kids, and instead I had to watch the fifteen old jerk boss the girl around I was mostly done with this story.

Unfortunately, I found myself interested in the younger kid story (Jake), so I had to keep on reading. -_-

With Brandon's increasing stupidity as the story moves along... although it does give the fifteen old character more credibility as to his age, it was hard to force myself to keep turning the pages.
In the end, Brandon manages to grow up, because a year has gone by, but I didn't get to see that.

Bottom line: Just as I suspected, a post apocalyptic scenario isn't all that fun to live in, or to read about, not when there isn't a sense of dread of what is looming ahead.
And although the characters and their interactions change with time, this is not a story that I see myself re-reading.
What can I say?
I am not a big fan of ET.

Oh, and I also could have done without the budding romance between the main characters in the last pages.

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