11 Following

Radiant Shadows

Gravity (Taking 1)

Gravity - Melissa West Possibly my first alien read, Gravity had a lot of expectations to meet – and thankfully, it delivered on most! While I had some issues with the romance and the heroine’s ability to trust in someone she had been taught to fear, I loved learning about the history of the Ancients and watching the government do everything within their power to cover up a shocking conspiracy.I loved Gravity’s opening chapter, describing the Taking process and detailing Ari’s fear of her first time with it. And at first, the Taking made a lot of sense – as alien beings, the Ancients didn’t have the required antibodies to live in Earth’s atmosphere, so they took some from the humans in exchange for their help with growing food on the land’s infertile soil after a nuclear war. But as Gravity’s plot unfolded and we learned about the healing powers of Xylem, the material used to compose Ancients’ bodies, I began to question the Taking’s purposes. Surely a material that can close a flesh wound in a matter of seconds would also be able to heal a pathogenic illness, rendering the presence of antibodies unnecessary? This fact was only enhanced by the Chemists’ attack on Ancients, where they released an airborne toxin that affected Xylem’s healing abilities, because it was the only strategy that affected the Ancients enough to cause them harm – every other method tried by the Chemists failed because of Xylem’s strong healing capabilities.Gravity’s other plot hole in that bothered me was the Ancients’ ability to read thoughts – Jackson admits to Ari that he can catch the general gist of her thoughts, after he first reveals himself to be an Ancient. Considering his role on Earth is one of a spy, sent to retrieve information surrounding the government’s strategy against the Ancients, I didn’t understand why his mind-reading ability wasn’t used (or mentioned) more often. Ari mentions it in passing toward the end, but it only made me question, again, why he wasn’t able to use that ability to decipher the strategy on his own. Or why the Ancients’ leader, Zeus, was unable to use his mind-reading ability during his meetings with the leaders of the world, in order to learn of their strategy himself. Add in the fact that it was barely mentioned, and I had to wonder why it was included at all.As for including things that were unnecessary, it’s time to talk about the romance in Gravity: I didn’t believe it and it wasn’t necessary to move the plot forward. Ari has been taught to distrust Ancients her whole life – all of her training was so that she would be ready in case she ever needed to defend herself against one. Yet the moment Jackson reveals himself to her, she throws those years of training out the window and believes him without pause. Not once does she question why he chose to reveal himself to her specifically or that he might be using her in order to get close to her commander father – the person who has the power to determine the fate of Ancients living on Earth. I just couldn’t believe in their chemistry because I spent every one of their interactions trying to catch Jackson doing something sketchy, to prove that he was lying to Ari in order to manipulate her. I wish she had been more diligent about questioning him and his motives, and then maybe I would have been able to set aside my reservations in order to focus on their growing feelings for each other.While I didn’t like how naive Ari was regarding Jackson or his motives, I did really enjoy Ari as a protagonist. Intelligent and a quick thinker, she quickly understood the motives of her government surrounding the treatment of Ancients, and that she would have to mask her distaste if she hoped to get any information of value. Her Ops training lent her a bravery that is lacking in most YA protagonists, which had her reacting to an attack instead of standing around helpless, waiting to be saved. She also had a huge heart – which was her main motivation in helping Jackson. Her determination to prevent a war, to save as many lives as possible – on both sides – had me cheering her courageousness and immediately liking her as a person.As for Jackson, I liked him well enough. He didn’t have any qualities that I felt strongly about, one way or the other, and I fear he’s not overly memorable. But, that being said, with the secrets revealed at the end of Gravity, I am excited to see what kind of role he’ll play in the sequel.Despite my reservations over a couple of plot holes, Gravity was able to keep me completely engrossed from start to finish! The alien mythology was a refreshing change for me, and I thought West was able to build an exciting and original world. I loved how slowly the political intrigue was squeezed out, and how many twists the plot took before crashing to an earth-shattering halt with a rather impressive cliffhanger ending!