Author: Melissa WestPublication date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Dystopia
On Earth, seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander was taught to never peek, but if she hopes to survive life on her new planet, Loge, her eyes must never shut. Because Zeus will do anything to save the Ancients from their dying planet, and he has a plan.I simply LOVED Gravity, the first book in The Taking series, so it goes without saying that I was super duper excited when I got the chance to read Hover. The very idea of an alien takeover, which actually starts out as a peaceful mutual cooperation on the parts of both the humans and aliens, is so mind blowing! And Gravity just about rocked my socks off! You can read my rave review of it here.
Thousands of humans crossed over to Loge after a poisonous neurotoxin released into Earth's atmosphere, nearly killing them. They sought refuge in hopes of finding a new life, but what they became were slaves, built to wage war against their home planet. That is, unless Ari and Jackson can stop them. But on Loge, nothing is as it seems...and no one can be trusted.
In Hover, we jump right into the thick of things, with Ari being settled in Loge, exploring the city under the guidance of her healer, Emmy.
*may contain potential spoilers for those who have not read Gravity (#1, Taking series)*
This book is very different from Gravity. Gravity was more focused on the human aspect of the story. In Hover, there's a complete shift, with the spotlight being on the aliens and their strategies and most importantly, Zeus. In Book 1, the aliens were portrayed as harmless beings, simply wanting to live on earth, co-existing peacefully with humans. It's only in Hover that we actually get to see the real picture, and how deceptive they can be.
Ari is absorbed into Loge system as a new citizen, and goes through the assignation like every other sixteen year old Logian, where she is slated for RES training (no surprise there, because of her abilities, but I was surprised that Zeus would let the enemy into his 'army'). After being discharged from Panacea (the hospital), she lives with Jackson (interesting circumstances, people ;)) and his roommate Vill (such an interesting character, you guys!). On Earth, the Ancients have created an image of being peace loving creatures, but that's all it is. An image, an illusion. It's only at Triad (a place on Loge, where the story is set) that Ari learns the truth about the aliens. They are, for the most part, like humans - an inner core of peace and kindness often snuffed out by our more violent impulses.
With no clue about what is happening on Earth, and isolated from the rest of the humans on Loge, Ari is well and truly alone. She is unable to trust Jackson either, because of his betrayal. But she finds a tentative confider and a potential ally in her healer, Emmy. Her major goal in this book is to be able to save both the planets to the benefit of both the species, and somehow not let Zeus blotch the entire thing.
Zeus makes one brilliant villain. He came across as an assertive and commanding, but placid person in Gravity. Throw that picture right out the window, because it's thrown right on it's head in Hover. He is ruthless in his actions, has no qualms about breaking promises, and is cunning and manipulative, with a touch of madness in him. I think West managed to make him all the more creepy by adding a bit of the insanity in him.
We learn a lot more about Jackson's life and the motivation behind his actions in this book. With his guard down, we see him a bit vulnerable at times, trying to cope with the stress of all his duties. As with Gravity, there's a lot of action in this book as well, especially between Jackson and Ari, and those make for some awesome action scenes!
A lot of new characters are introduced in this book - Emmy, Vill, who is also Emmy's grandson and Jackson's cousin, and Mami, Jackson's grandmother, among others. I have to say, all of them are great characters, especially Vill. He's like a tech genius who has so much of talent inside him, that sometimes it just bursts out as art on the walls and furniture of the house!
Hover is great. Dont get me wrong. But despite how much I liked it, I didn't get as much from it as I expected to. A number of questions were raised after Gravity, most of which are answered in Hover, but for the most part, the questions count just keeps rising. Are they really entrusting the fate of not one, but two races in the hands of a seventeen year old? If you have Taking trees, then what's with the port (since the trees perform pretty much the same operation)? Why is there no mention of Ari adjusting to her new powers?... to mention a few.
I didn't like Hover as much as I like Gravity, but that's just my personal opinion. Hover, unfortunately, has fallen victim to the Unfortunate Second Book Slump. There is a lot of new information and growth in the characters, but in the plot? Precious little, with practically no resolution in the end. It felt like with the focus being more on character development and world building, there was little space for the plot to move along. And just like with Gravity, Hover also ends with a cliffhanger. One that is much more shocking than the one in the first book!
Bottomline: Melissa West has written a fast-paced (sometimes too much so) story of intrigue, action, trust, betrayal, alliances and political agendas in a place where nothing is as it appears, that may not be as brilliant as her previous work, but is great nonetheless.
Rainy Day Rambling: I felt this book served as a middle book, as there is very little movement with the storyline
Obsession with Books: Overall, Hover is written extremely well and is a great addition to The Taking series; the world-building continues to develop as do the characters. We get a perfect balance of action, romance and suspense that keeps you wanting more.
The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger: The unfamiliar setting of Hover and the mysteries, fears and horrors that come along with it gave Hover a darker feel than Gravity.