Untaken

Untaken Book Cover Untaken
J.E. Anckorn
Curiosity Quills Press
March 23, 2015
Hardcover
262

It turns out that a real alien invasion is nothing like the Sci-fi shows 14-year-old Gracie loves. Not when it's your own family who are swallowed whole by those big silver ships. Not if it could be you next. In her search for her family, Gracie meets Brandon, a high school dropout who would never have been caught dead hanging out with a dork like Gracie before the world ended. Gracie isn't too crazy about Brandon either, but he has one thing she doesn't: A plan. Brandon's uncle has a cabin up in Maine, and If Gracie and Brandon can survive long enough to get there they can hide out until the Space Men pack up their ships and leave. Until the army guys come to rescue them, says Brandon. Brandon is big into army guys. Gracie has to admit that Brandon's Awesome Plan probably would have worked out great if wasn't for Jake. They found 5-year-old Jake, laying half-dead under the remains of someone's ranch house. He's a good kid, even if he won't-or can't- talk. But Jake has a secret, and when Gracie finds out what it is, the fragile new life they've started to forge looks set to break apart. When the people you've been counting on to put the world back together start hunting you down, alien invaders are the least of your worries.

 

Review:

“Untaken” is a new series that makes me feel as though I were given a gift by being allowed to read and review it.  It puts a new take on the apocalyptic theme of an alien invasion, eventually evolving into dystopian territory.

I am going to say this right now, if you see the word “alien” and think it is not your deal, please reconsider and give it a try.  The plot is one of survival, with the aliens being the catalyst for the events but not the central focus of the story.  The true story is what constitutes humanity and how human humans react when placed under unimaginable circumstances and stress.

The central characters are three children: Gracie, Brandon, and Jake.  Their stories are divided into three parts, with the first devoted to their separate lives before and during the initial catastrophic events.  This format serves for developing their backstories and personalities in an extremely detailed way.  It feels like you know the oldest two, Gracie and Brandon, personally before they even meet.  Jake is more of an enigma, and that is a great feature in the story.

While the first part features a lot of action, the second and third parts are more of a slow burn.  I love slice-of-life stories that take their time in building new worlds, and this is one of the best I have ever read.  The writing is compelling and nearly flawless, leaving the reader to sit back and enjoy the book without the burden of superfluous details and a stuttering plot.  It seems to be the beginning of a series, and I hope that is true.  I really want to see what comes next.

I highly recommend “Untaken” to those who are 12 and up and looking for a promising new series.  If you’re a fan of Mike Mullen’s “Ashfall”, it is something not to be missed.  Warning:  Once you start it, you may not be able to put it down.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence,Mild (Re: Very) Sexual Situations, The Dog Dies (Pardon the spoiler, but that is the one type of spoiler I will always include in the content warnings.)

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