Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Taken (The Taking) by Dean Koontz (CBR book #12)

Not to sound like a broken record from my last review, but this is another one that literally fell in my lap. At my last book club meeting...wait, time for a detour...

I have a *thing* about book clubs. I didn't really know they existed until, well, I started reading books. Then they came out of the woodwork. Suddenly I was learning that several people I knew were in a book club of some kind. Funny, I thought. They don't seem like pretentious bores. Hmmm...maybe this book club thing can work for me. So I gave it a go and can now say I am an actual member of a book club. And by book club I mean my mother, her co-worker, and I. And by meeting I mean we were sitting around talking about inappropriate things while occasionally mentioning a recently read book.

Sooooooo...even though we had only met a couple of times, I worked early on to exert my control over the reading list. So far, the book club had only read six books, and all six books were suggested by yours truly. So when the time came for a new suggestion, I had to take deep breaths to release control of my reading future. The name Dean Koontz came up. I shuddered. Honestly, I can't tell you why except that I knew Dean Koontz wrote fiction (not my favorite genre, I must admit) and his books reminded me of the pocket paperbacks that filled the revolving tower racks you found in libraries, you know, the ones that held the books with Fabio on the cover? Gasp! I agreed to the selection but never bothered to get the book. Which brings us back full circle. My mother happened to have ascertained two copies of the book and gave me one to read. So I pawned it off on my husband while I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

After reading Lacks, I decided to begin The Taken, motivated more by a compulsion to return something borrowed than to read the book. The first thing I will say about this book, is that it is creepy. The first couple of nights I read it, I had nightmares. I say "nightmares" for your benefit only. I regularly dream about ghosts, death, and well, just really strange things and don't personally find the dreams disturbing. But when I describe them to people, they become disturbed. So we'll call the dreams I had nightmares. And they were definitely inspired by Koontz.

The Taken is a story about Molly and her husband Neil. They live a quiet life in the San Bernadino mountains, a life that is (of course) soon turned upside down by strange phenomenon that slowly begins to take the form of a War of the Worlds drama. A strange rain falls on the land, a fog blacks out the sky, animals act strangely, the dead seem to reanimate, and the once networked and connected world goes dark. Driven by Molly's desire to rescue as many children from the unexplainable horrors occurring, Molly and Neil travel through their town looking for survivors.

The thing I like about this book is that Koontz throws in not just alien mythology, he adds supernatural touches, and a heavy dose of good 'ol fashioned horror as well. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, leaving you wanting to continue reading. And there are no dull moments anywhere. And while I must admit, I'm pretty bad anyway at predicting how things will end, I really didn't predict this one. And I was skeptical Koontz would be able to wrap things up to my satisfaction, but he definitely did. But what I liked most was that he was able to inject a bit of world vision in his novel and give it a thought-provoking message.

So, a surprising like for me. Hopefully you'll agree.

1 comment:

  1. Heh, just now realized I got the book title wrong...over and over and over again. Dumbass.