Gravity by Melissa West (The Taking, #1). | Format: Paperback, 284 pages, Entangled Teen, Entangled Publishing, 2012. | Source: Library. | Add to your Goodreads TBR here!
Gravity by Melissa West is a quick, entertaining read, but nothing particularly unique. It felt quite similar to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series at times, only Gravity is futuristic, incorporates a bit more sci-fi, and has less memorable characters. Gravity is set in 2140 in a futuristic American city called Sydia–we had to rebuild after World War IV, the whole world did. Only now, on this Earth, aliens coexist with us. They are called Ancients, and in order for them to sustain themselves, they have to “Take” (a.k.a. leech) the nutrients from human’s bodies. However, tensions are high and the balance between the two species is about to drastically shift at any moment, and the main character, Ari, a human girl training to become a military leader, finds herself trying to prevent a war.
The “Taking” was very strange. First, ew. Second, of course Ari finds out who her assigned Ancient is. Although she doesn’t consciously decide to look from under her blindfold (the blindfolds render you immobile)–because she’s missing her blindfold, so it’s only by sheer will that could have stopped her from looking. And, hey, I’d be pretty curious, too, about what the heck actually happens during the Taking. Third, of course the Ancient happens to be a hot, popular boy from her school, a guy named Jackson. Fourth, of course the Ancients aren’t allowed to live among humans unnoticed and unaccounted for. Ari should report this right away, or at least the next morning. Which she doesn’t. Fifth, of course Jackson needs Ari’s help with something–and of course she decides to go along with it. And sixth, of freaking course the Taking becomes the least of everyone’s worries after the book’s beginning. Because it’s such a huge deal in the prologue, the first chapter, the book’s description, and on the book’s cover, why would we ever have to trouble ourselves with it again? Because… logic.
The romance between Ari and Jackson felt abrupt and very rushed considering how little time the two of them spent together. Just, wham–in love. (Not instalove, but something close.) Well, I suppose Jackson might have had some time to fall in love with Ari, since he knew of her way before she of him (I’m assuming? Because he was her Ancient who Took from her for years, and she never knew about him until now; she’d only just seen him around at school and never associated herself with him… I’m assuming), but she fell for him pretty fast, a little unbelievably fast. Also, their first kiss had absolutely no buildup! They were just talking in the woods, apologizing for their little previous fight, and then suddenly they were kissing. I was like, Okay, that came out of nowhere. I mean, I liked their relationship, it was cute enough, but neither were very memorable characters–or a very memorable couple, in the scope of all YA literature.
Also, was there even a love triangle? I’d say not. Ari is arranged to marry Lawrence (nicknamed Law), the future President–since all high government positions are hereditary in this era (a bit unbelievable, that, too), and Law’s mom is the President of America. The two are good friends, but Ari feels nothing romantic toward Law. And Law likes Ari’s best friend, Gretchen. And Gretchen likes Law back. And Ari likes Jackson, and Jackson likes Ari. So this should all work out, right? Nope. Because… duty! I did grow to like Law, though. He started out kind of like cardboard, but he showed layers as the story progressed and as he had to face lots of tough decisions and consequences. I think there’s a lot more to him; he has good potential to grow significantly in the next books. Gretchen was eh, though. She didn’t have much fire to her; she was just a typical bestie. Not helpless or anything, but not very memorable or even that likeable.
The plot seemed a bit disjointed and at times was very illogical. When there are simultaneous murders and bombs going off, school’s still open! The gala/ball which all the world’s political leaders will be at is still going to happen! We’re going to pretend that everything’s just peachy! Yeah, right, like that would happen. I didn’t mind it that much, but I did roll my eyes when all logic was thrown out the window.
In terms of world building, I would have liked more visual information on Sydia. I didn’t have a firm grasp of what the city looked like, just basic details of how advanced the technology was and such. Apparently there are only a few cities, and beyond them is just wasteland where food can’t grow anymore because of the nuclear war (WW IV). Everyone lives on manufactured food pills. Everyone seems to be totally cool with aliens coming through their bedroom windows and sucking nutrients from their bodies. Yes, this whole Taking matter is still bothering me.
The ending of this book felt rushed–thrilling and action-packed, and a little ludicrous, but a whirlwind. I also guessed two big twists very early on, so they didn’t come as a surprise. (One was a big reveal, but the other wasn’t really a twist, just a thing that happened–a thing that I am excited for in Book #2, Hover.) Overall, Gravity was a fine enough read, but it did have its unbelievable moments, off pacing, and forgettable characters. It’s not something to run out and read this very second, but it’s an okay pick if you’re looking for a (semi) lighter paranormal/sci-fi read with some action and a girl who can kick some serious butt. ♦