First in a series
By Kimberly Derting
Available now from HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Read my interview with Kimberly and my review of The Body Finder
THE TAKING presents a classic sort of sci-fi mystery, the type that might show up in The Twilight Zone or The X-Files. Kyra Agnew argues with her father on the way home from a softball game, gets out of the car, sees a light, and disappears for five years. When she gets back, she remembers nothing and appears to be the exact same age as when she left. At first, THE TAKING seems to be about Kyra's difficulties rebuilding a life that has moved on without her. But Kyra might not be the exact same as when she left, and a suspicious government agent is snooping around.
THE TAKING scratched the same itch for me as Malinda Lo's recent duology ADAPTATION and INHERITANCE. There's government conspiracies, missing memories, strange new abilities, and possible aliens. I love this sort of science fiction, where something unexplained has happened and the characters have to figure out the new rules of their universe before they can act effectively.
However, THE TAKING also has the weakness of ADAPTATION: there is a lot of setup. The payoff is learning what happened to Kyra. But that knowledge is left for later books in the series. The events of THE TAKING are interesting, but the book ends without providing answers for the many questions that arise during the story.
Normally, I like at least a little resolution in the first book in a series. And, to be fair, there is some. For a moment I thought several characters' fates would be left in the balance, but that is not the case. However, THE TAKING still worked for me because the atmosphere drew me in so tightly and I am so curious about Kyra's fate.
I am not thrilled that she's super special even among the people who have disappeared. I am thrilled that she's an angry teenager who doesn't immediately warm up to her new brother or to her best friend and boyfriend who got together in their shared trauma over Kyra's disappearance. Kyra's better side comes out around Tyler, her former boyfriend's brother who is now the right age for her. It veered close to insta-love, but Tyler had an old childhood crush on her and provides Kyra the unquestioning support she needs but isn't getting from anyone else.
I was sucked in by THE TAKING and couldn't put it down once I started. At the same time, I feel like I can't truly review THE TAKING until I read more and see how all this setup play out. I have a good feeling though, because THE TAKING is a promising beginning.