Venticinque anni e il naso sempre tra le pagine – Chistmas edition!

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MiniReview: “Gravity”, Melissa West – @I_am_europe edition!

Title: Gravity (The Taking #1)
Author: Melissa West
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 284
Year: 2012

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.

Ok. I can do this, I can write a whole review in English and since I’ve read the book in English, it should not be impossible. As many of you already know, I have a thing for dystopian books – and that’s why I’m struggling to write my dissertation about the correlation between them and the risk sociologists think society is going to face (if you read something about it on a paper or an article, please tell me!). However, the reason why I chose this one is different. A few weeks ago, the blog took part of a Book Blizt on Collide, the third book of The Taking Saga: the plot and the teaser that came with the post-kit was so fascinating I felt the urge of reading it. But in order to do it, I had to read the first book… so, I did it. And it was not as good as I expected.

The plot was very simple: Ari is going to be the next military leader in a world where humanity became a sort of living antibodies-pump used by the Ancients. The Ancients, there’s no need to tell you, are aliens. The Earth is a mess after a nuclear war that destroyed pretty much everything, so they arrived from space offering their help in the fixing process in change of human antibodies, needed to survive on the planet. The exchange takes place at night and there’s only one rule to follow: you must not peek. Well, Ari takes a look and finds that her Ancient is one of her school mate, Jackson, a gorgeous boy that should not be on Earth at all since the Ancients are not allowed to attend human schools or even be on the planet without permission. She should report this to her dad, who happens to be the chief of the military system, but she does not. And this is the moment when everything starts to change.

As I mentioned before, the plot is simple and catchy. The whole dystopian scenario works really well, even if the author does not spend so many words on it, and the story goes on with a good rhythm. But there is a moment where everything goes wrong, when Melissa West decides to push on the fast forward button and I get lost. Ari is now engaged with Lawrence, who is in love with Ari’s best friend, but she falls for Jackson so fast I actually asked myself if there were missing pages in my eBook. Yet, there’s not love triangle, because feelings evolve so fast that there isn’t time for drama to grow in a decent way. Furthermore, suddenly neither humans nor alien really want the coexistence to happen, and as a result the readers find themselves in a words maze without a logic escape.

Many people I know loved this book and I can understand them. I don’t know if it was my fault – Was I diverted? Did I not read carefully? I don’t know – or if there was something in the book that was not working very well with me. The plot is fine, the writing was good – for what I can tell, I think I proved you enough the struggle I live every time I have to speak/write a foreign language…! –  and the characters were ok despite some choices they made. I still don’t get how it possible for a girl like Ari to trust a boy she never talked to. She was raised to be a leader, she should understand the importance of rules. This young man was an Ancient who spent his whole life sucking her antibodies in order to survive on a Planet where he was not supposed to live on in that very moment! Why didn’t she reported him? The story could evolve in a different way and still lead to the same conclusion, so why did not Melissa West choose a more coherent evolution?

Overall, the storyline was entertaining and the reading was good; plus it was refreshing to finally read a dystopian book that has the main characters trying to stop a war, rather than trying to fight against the system. I don’t think I will continue with the other books, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Special thanks to @_ceciliasaba, who edited the review for me ❤