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.
Gravity (The Taking #1)FeaturedHot
Gravity (The Taking #1) is one of the most unique, creative and interesting alien stories I've read in a long time. There's action, adventure and a swoonworhty romance that will have you wishing for your own close encounter of the third kind.
Ari, the heroine is one tough cookie. She's been training for Special Ops her whole life and takes her future as a military leader very seriously. She's loyal to her family and her country but the one thing she's never been okay with is the Taking. Ari knows the rules and she's been warned against peeking but her curiosity gets the better of her one night and she opens her eyes. She's shocked to discover Jackson Locke is assigned to her and from that moment on, life as she's known it will never be the same again.
Ari expects to be at odds with Jackson, especially now that she knows what he is but she never expected to want to help him or worse, to develop feelings for him. He shows her that they really aren't that different and that together they might be able to keep their worlds from going to war. Ari struggles with betraying not only her country but her family as well and she doesn't know for sure if Jackson can be trusted. However, when she sees the truth firsthand, she'll realize the only person she can really trust may be herself.
I enjoyed this book for many reasons - detailed world building, solid characters, and having to work together with those who are different than us are all key elements, but what jumped out at me is that this is a clean read. The romance definitely gets your blood pumping, as do the action scenes but this is a book younger readers can enjoy (like my nearteen) without any worries from the parentals.
I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in book 2!
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.
Ari is a strong main character, and unlike most teenage female characters you find in books now, she's not overly whiny about her life; nor does she think the world revolved around her. She knows that, as the chief commander's daughter, she is expected to go down a certain path in life and takes the responsibility to meet those expectations. I can respect that about her. Most of all, I can't help but like her because she doesn't get on my nerves; plain and simple. Ari's best friend, Gretchen, is alright, but I do wish her presence had a little more "oomph". I'm glad that Law became more involved as the story progressed. He's a pretty cool guy when it comes down to it.
However... I saw that thing with Gretchen and Law coming... and it annoys me.
What came as a surprise to me is how much I ended up LOVING Ari's mom! Something about her, as a mom and as a female, just spoke volumes to me. She's an interesting person who regardless of the destruction of mind, body, soul, and world that goes on around her, is able to stand her ground an find things in life to live for (besides her daughter).
“I watch her for a few moments, studying the intensity on her face, the smile that never leaves her when she's working. I wonder if I'll ever feel that way, love my work and all, or if I'll always look severe... like my other parent.”
Even Ari is impressed! I'm tempted to beg West to write a novella just on this awesome lady.
One of my favorite concepts of this series is the idea of the Taking itself, where a race called the "Ancients" takes over the bodies of humans age ten and up. It's a great conception that I wish the author had gone deeper into or had explained more creatively than it was. Maybe more will be uncovered in the second title? The Ancients themselves are a pretty cool species, too. They are peaceful creatures, but if they need to blow up a couple of facilities to make a statement about having equality on earth, there will be no hesitation.
While reading Gravity, I had many questions; some went unanswered, others were just me judging the character's decisions. Although it was a good read, I do wish it was less choppy and more complex.
When I started reading it I didn't expect much but it grew on me. First of all,there aren't many books about aliens out there. So far,I've only read two: I Am Number 4 and Obsidian(which was fantastic). I liked the world West created in this book. But I feel like the author could show us more involving the aliens and their culture. *minor spoiler ahead* But then again,we will probably see more of their homeland in the sequel.
Also,the synopsis was a little bit sloppy if you ask me. Why shouldn't she peek? What is Jackson doing above her bed? Basically, this is a story about how people destroyed the Earth(no surprise there) and aliens, as they are called Ancients in this novel come and save humanity from starvation in exchange they can live peacefully with people after some time. But humans are not willing to accept the fact they will have to live with Ancients so they are trying everything they can think of to chase them away.
The second thing I liked was the main character,Ari who reminds me of June from Legend. She is tough,she can fight and she is actually nice. She is trained in combat and is set to be the new Commander(a president). She also has nice and supporting friends.But soon she meets Jackson Locke, her fellow classmate who is an alien as it turns out. Together they try to save both aliens and humans.
This book just sucks you in and you won't be able to put it down. It's fast paced, entertaining and has likeable characters. I would recommend it to younger readers,mostly teens. But even the older ones will enjoy it,just like I did. I am looking forward to sequel. Hope it will be as good as this one was, or even better.
And vampires are sooo last year, so make way for aliens!
Jackson was a great part of reading this. I'm sorry but.... Yeah I just loved him. Even though I wanted to strange him at the end and hit him over the head with a crow bar, I still love him...what does that say about me? Lol
I loved Gravity’s opening chapter, describing the Taking process and detailing Ari’s fear of her first time with it. And at first, the Taking made a lot of sense – as alien beings, the Ancients didn’t have the required antibodies to live in Earth’s atmosphere, so they took some from the humans in exchange for their help with growing food on the land’s infertile soil after a nuclear war. But as Gravity’s plot unfolded and we learned about the healing powers of Xylem, the material used to compose Ancients’ bodies, I began to question the Taking’s purposes. Surely a material that can close a flesh wound in a matter of seconds would also be able to heal a pathogenic illness, rendering the presence of antibodies unnecessary? This fact was only enhanced by the Chemists’ attack on Ancients, where they released an airborne toxin that affected Xylem’s healing abilities, because it was the only strategy that affected the Ancients enough to cause them harm – every other method tried by the Chemists failed because of Xylem’s strong healing capabilities.
Gravity’s other plot hole in that bothered me was the Ancients’ ability to read thoughts – Jackson admits to Ari that he can catch the general gist of her thoughts, after he first reveals himself to be an Ancient. Considering his role on Earth is one of a spy, sent to retrieve information surrounding the government’s strategy against the Ancients, I didn’t understand why his mind-reading ability wasn’t used (or mentioned) more often. Ari mentions it in passing toward the end, but it only made me question, again, why he wasn’t able to use that ability to decipher the strategy on his own. Or why the Ancients’ leader, Zeus, was unable to use his mind-reading ability during his meetings with the leaders of the world, in order to learn of their strategy himself. Add in the fact that it was barely mentioned, and I had to wonder why it was included at all.
As for including things that were unnecessary, it’s time to talk about the romance in Gravity: I didn’t believe it and it wasn’t necessary to move the plot forward. Ari has been taught to distrust Ancients her whole life – all of her training was so that she would be ready in case she ever needed to defend herself against one. Yet the moment Jackson reveals himself to her, she throws those years of training out the window and believes him without pause. Not once does she question why he chose to reveal himself to her specifically or that he might be using her in order to get close to her commander father – the person who has the power to determine the fate of Ancients living on Earth. I just couldn’t believe in their chemistry because I spent every one of their interactions trying to catch Jackson doing something sketchy, to prove that he was lying to Ari in order to manipulate her. I wish she had been more diligent about questioning him and his motives, and then maybe I would have been able to set aside my reservations in order to focus on their growing feelings for each other.
While I didn’t like how naive Ari was regarding Jackson or his motives, I did really enjoy Ari as a protagonist. Intelligent and a quick thinker, she quickly understood the motives of her government surrounding the treatment of Ancients, and that she would have to mask her distaste if she hoped to get any information of value. Her Ops training lent her a bravery that is lacking in most YA protagonists, which had her reacting to an attack instead of standing around helpless, waiting to be saved. She also had a huge heart – which was her main motivation in helping Jackson. Her determination to prevent a war, to save as many lives as possible – on both sides – had me cheering her courageousness and immediately liking her as a person.
As for Jackson, I liked him well enough. He didn’t have any qualities that I felt strongly about, one way or the other, and I fear he’s not overly memorable. But, that being said, with the secrets revealed at the end of Gravity, I am excited to see what kind of role he’ll play in the sequel.
Despite my reservations over a couple of plot holes, Gravity was able to keep me completely engrossed from start to finish! The alien mythology was a refreshing change for me, and I thought West was able to build an exciting and original world. I loved how slowly the political intrigue was squeezed out, and how many twists the plot took before crashing to an earth-shattering halt with a rather impressive cliffhanger ending!
Gravity has a good storyline, with the idea of aliens saving a futuristic Earth, and humanity trying to destroy their saviours, all because of the classic corrupt government. It was smart to have Ari as the daughter of one of the main people that aim to destroy the Ancients. It brought a quality in Ari, one that lets her defy what she knows to save the world, and the ones beyond that. I love the future world that Melissa West has created, but she did leave out details with explaining the world. She expected us to know things that don't even exist in the present day, and sometimes it got confusing when random words was used, and these words seemed to be important. I think that the author should of added and extra sentence or two just to help us along.
I really wanted to like Ari, but I just couldn't, partly because I hardly knew her. The story sorta didn't let us to get to know her, she was restricted from us. She was described as a girl who was really smart and strong. But a lot of time she was clueless, powerless and followed Jackson blindly. She didn't seem like the right sort of heroine for this book (I'm not saying that she wouldn't be good for another type of book). She needed to smart and alert, especially since there was a bit of politics involved in the book. She was just to clueless and needed a different type of strength to the one in her arms.
There was a couple of strange characters, ones that switched personalities and motives right near the end, like Ari's father and Lawrence. Ari's father went from being strict and killing people and Ancients left and right, to sad, depressed and feeling sorry for himself. Lawrence went from the president's son and following all the rules, to be the half brother of an Ancient, and being buddy-buddy with him. It was really strange, and slightly off putting, since normal people don't change that quickly.
Gravity is your pretty average science fiction novel, with average characters, plot and writing style. I was pretty angry to find out the Australian president line was finished since there was no heir, why did you just elect one, or use a cousin, stupid book characters. Gravity has aliens, a future world, a corrupt government and a sweet romance, your basic essentials for a science fiction novel.
-A nice romance, nothing to simple, but not to complicated (except with the problem of Jackson being a alien)
-Nice future world
eARC received from Entangled Publishing
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Gripping and Grotesque--with a hint of romance!
I had been looking forward to reading Gravity since I first read the blurb months and months ago. The concept was new and refreshing, and I couldn’t wait to dig into Jackson’s secrets! Now that I have read it, I will say—his secrets are definitely worth reading! Adventurous and romantic, Gravity will lift your off your feet and send your soaring through a broken world teetering on the brink of destruction.
The world building was my favorite part of this book. Earth has been ravaged by war after war, to the point where nothing grows naturally any more. As a result, humans had to reach out to the Ancients to try and bring the Earth and its resources back to life. I found the new government interesting—how the future seemed to bleed back into the past where family lineage was the way to power; yet the technology was much more advanced than our own. Prejudice and poverty are rife, and those in power seek to obtain perfection.
I found Ari to be a kick butt heroine, even though she was daft at times. Her father is one of the most powerful people in this dystopian world, and he is in charge of the safety of the citizens. Since power is handed down through families, this makes Ari the next in line to be the sort of supreme commander. She has ninja skills that would make Jackie Chan look twice, and she doesn’t give in to pain and vulnerability. I liked that strength about her, and I liked that she also had a mind of her own. She wasn’t brainwashed like you would think many who have been indoctrinated to believe something would be; instead, she looks at the evidence, weighs the consequences, and then chooses what she thinks is best for the world. The only thing that bugged me at times is she seemed to be clueless when it comes to relationships. There were things that she didn’t understand that were right in front of her, and that made me want to smack her at points.
Don’t. Ever. Peak.
But with Jackson Locke? That’s just not possible! He’s gorgeous—sculpted and made to look like the perfect human being, but he also has the hero complex that just makes me swoon. Add the fact that he floats over Ari every night while she is asleep (hot!), and he is just full to the brim with sexiness! But Jackson has secrets of his own, and I really didn’t see them coming. Maybe I should have, but Melissa did a great job of making you focus on other aspects of the world and the forth-coming war that when you discover his secret, you don’t really see it coming. Jackson made me smile—that’s how I would explain him. He’s the guy that’s caring and can hypnotize you with a look, yet once the trance is broken, you see how dangerous and deadly he truly is.
And The ENDING!!!! Oh my goodness, I can’t wait for the next book to come out because I need to know what is in store for Ari and her world! I was able to predict that something weird/crazy would happen just from the hints, but everything is still all up in the air; and I’m not really sure if I have any idea about what is coming. So, Melissa and Entangled…..we need book 2 now!!!! Now!!! Please!!!
I did find a few plot holes throughout the story, but since this is just the first book, it is probably because those revelations have yet to be revealed.
Melissa creates a world torn apart by despair and greed, where its brother against brother, friend against friend—a world where fate is manipulated, love is perilous, and truth is obscured. So ignore the warning, and take a peak!
In the ARC, the story lacked a lot of world building and character details. I would have liked to have known more about the Taking, something that every Ancient does to their assigned human at midnight each night. It would have been nice to have more information, like why the Taking needs to happen, and why it needs to be done every night. Obviously, the Taking is when you’re not supposed to peek, and the main character Ari does just that, when one night, she can’t find the patch that prevents her from seeing who hovers above her for the Taking.
Also, more information about the Ancients would have been welcome. This alien breed that travels through trees and have control of plant life seems like an interesting species but very little is revealed about them in the ARC. More character development would have made the romantic relationship between the main characters, Ari and Jackson, more believable. Like in many YA novels, they fell in love too fast and I strongly believe the relationship should have been investigated a little more before there was any mention of love.
Reassuringly, the author has informally advised me that some changes will be made to the final edition and the revisions will enhance and polish the ARC I ended up with. In a way, it’s frustrating that I can’t tell you guys what I thought of the final edition, but you’ll have to take my word for it. Despite the negative aspects of the ARC, the story remains an interesting one and and I truly enjoyed reading about Ari and Jackson. Ari seems like a wonderful character, that is dedicated to helping the Ancients survive this war that could lead to a genocide. Her military training has made her the strong female that she is and she’s the reason the book kept me reading well into the night.
The right combination of aliens, science-fiction and dystopia makes GRAVITY very original. Personally, I like the fact that Melissa West didn’t add spaceships to her novel. Aliens and science-fiction don’t necessarily need them and it’s refreshing that she found a different way of having the alien characters travel to and from earth by other means. The story ends with a mean cliffhanger, which has me not only anticipating this book at the end of the month, but also anticipating the release of the other two books of the trilogy.
I leave you with these two questions: Do you think you’ll resist the temptation of this book? Will you peek?
An electronic advance reader's copy was provided by the publisher