Like I've mentioned before, even before I started blogging books at the beginning of this year, I'd been an avid reader for a very, very long time. Like, forever. Seriously. I started reading before I even went to school. So naturally, books have been a huge part of my life, and I've have the chance to read some incredible books along the way.
Ever since I started book blogging, I've been wanting to find a way to share with y'all the wonderful books I read before I became a book blogger. But, I didn't know how to go about it. A review? Mini review? Spotlight? Tens list?
So last week, I finally got some free time, and started browsing the blogosphere to see if someone had anything similar already going on. And surprise, surprise! Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner already did! She, by the way is doing an amazing job of basically everything she does on the blog (and elsewhere), and if you're a book blogger or a book blog reader and you dont know about her, I've got just one question for you, my friend: Exactly which rock have you been living under? No offense, but really.
So yeah, Jamie has a feature on her blog, 'Before I Blogged, I Read' where she spotlights some great books she read before she started her blog, with a few notes along with it. Check it out here!
So anyways, here's what this is all about...
INTRODUCING... *drum roll*
A new feature on the blog, where I will be writing about the awesomtastic books that I read before I became a book blogger, and want to share with all of you. What will I post? Well, it depends on the book, the amount of free time I have, my mood and several other obscure stuff that shall remain a secret (I'm blabbering. Ignore me). Depending on all that, the post shall be either a full review, or a mini review, or a list sort of thingie, or just a few notes.
So here goes. Enjoy & tell me what you think about this new feature in the comments!
Title: Gravity(The Taking, #1)
Author: Melissa WestPublication date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
In the future, only one rule will matter:You will not believe how happy I am to be finally writing this review! I've been working on something else, and I promised myself that I wouldn't start on this without finishing that, and man, did that take LONG! I finally finished it a few minutes back, and now, here I am! Yay!
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.
Okay, enough craziness from me. Moving on...
Ari lives in a world which has been gutted and stripped of majority of its living sources due to nuclear toxic waste from World War IV. In order to survive, the human species signs a treaty with the Ancients - we will allow them to live on Earth in peaceful coexistence with humans, and they in turn would terraform Earth back to health. Until their bodies get acclimated to Earth, humans will provide their bodies with antibodies through the Taking.
Each human is assigned to an Ancient who comes into their room at midnight (creepy, right?) and Takes from them. One night, Ari misplaces her Taking patch, a device which covers her eyes and prevents her from seeing her Ancient. So the inevitable happens, and that night, she sees her Ancient. Who just so happens to be Jackson Locke. Who is Jackson Locke, you ask? Well...
Now, when the Ancients have acclimated to Earth, humans are not ready to live up to the bargain, and are stalling, in the meanwhile concocting weapons that will drive Ancients from Earth permanently. The Ancients have sent Jackson to find out the humans' attack strategy with Ari's help, hoping it would help in preventing the imminent war.
But... there are a few glitches, mainly that Ari's father is the Commander, so basically he heads the entire thing, and to hand over information to the Ancients not only means betraying the humans, but also her father. There's also the little matter of Jackson and Ari growing closer, when technically, Ari's already spoken for.
You guys, this book! This book! Argh! I dont know where to start, it's all great!
Okay... *deep breath* I shall attempt to be coherent for the duration of this review.
Dystopian books seem to be all the rage at the moment, with series (and the occasional stand alone) popping up left and right. However, very few make the cut (for me, atleast), due to various reasons, and I thought I'd highlight the reasons Gravity works in this review.
One thing that really stood out in this book (among other equally amazing stuff) is the well thought out and detailed world building. I find that a lot of the new crop of Dystopian books really lack in the world building department which I think is something vital, especially in a Dystopian book, where everything is completely different from the normal way of life. In Gravity, West has worked the various new terms, ideas, places, etc in a way that it doesn't seem like a Glossary section, but is instead weaved seamlessly into the story. I also liked how she took something familiar like xylem and turned it into something alien to us.
Ari is one kick ass MC! I always have a soft corner for female characters who are feminine, but also athletic and physically able to defend themselves (Rose Hathaway, anyone?), and Ari is all of that (not what you'd call very feminine, though)! Having come across such a character after so long, it endeared her to me all the more. The story is narrated by Ari, and we get to see up close the internal conflict that she undergoes, trying to decide her path - betray her father and Earth and help Jackson, or stand back and watch a war unfold, ultimately resulting in the downfall of the human race? Her relationship with her father isn't the usual father-daughter relationship. She sees him more as the Commander and less as her father, no doubt because of the often caustic demeanor he dons with her, but later on in the book, we see his softer side as well.
Jackson Locke. Do I really have to say anything about him? Doesnt that quote say it all?
Jackson remains an enigma for most of the book. Flitting in and out, coming to Ari's rescue, then ruthlessly fighting her during Op trainings and tests... Early on, it's obvious that Jackson has his guard up at all times (but natural, being in enemy territory). It's only with Ari that he lets go a bit, and when he does, we see that internally, he's just as confused and conflicted as Ari. With ties on both sides of the 'border' so to say and now with his newfound feelings for Ari, the task entrusted to him becomes doubly difficult. He's an amazing fighter with inborn agility, which comes from being an Ancient, and some of his and Ari's fights make for some nail bitingly exciting reading. He's also mature for his age, no doubt because of his responsibilities.
The concept of aliens invading Earth is not new, but West's twist on it is, what with bringing in a bargain and all. However, there were times when I felt like too much was happening at the same time, making it hard to keep track of. There are also a few questions that rise, in regard to the Ancients, which I'm hoping will be answered in the next book.
I read Gravity last year, and when I re-read it for the purpose of this review, I was scared that I would be more critical of it and that would spoil the book for me. However, I was surprised to find that as I finished, I was just as crazy about the book as I had been after reading it the first time. Which just goes to show what an awesome book this is that it stood the test of time (ok, it's a short time, but still), as well as my scrutiny (which, believe me, can be severe).
Bottomline: Three words, just like on the book. Dont. Miss. This.
Stuck in Books: Intriguing, baffling and utterly captivating, this story had me flipping the pages trying to figure it all out.
I Talk Books: The plot is different and unique. Though I did feel that the romance was rushed. Ari fell for Jackson too soon. I liked the story, the characters and the writing.
Book Swoon: One of the best features of Gravity had to be be the quick and easy pace of the book. There was action, intrigue, and romance evenly sprinkled throughout the story.
P.S.: If you've already read the book and dont remember what happened, while you wait with bated breath for Hover (#2, The Taking series), then head over to The Recaptains where I've done a recap of the book! Here's my recap of Gravity!