Review for The Replaced (The Taking #2) by Kimberly Derting

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

TITLE: The Replaced
SERIES: The Taking #2
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2015
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Kyra’s life was turned upside down when she was abducted by aliens. That 5 year disappearance managed to take everything she cared about away from her and then, just when she starts to make new connections, her new love gets taken away as well. Now, Kyra is on the run from the NSA with the other Returned, Kyra goes to extremes to find Tyler. When they discover an email that implies Tyler is alive and well….in NSA hands, Kyra is willing to risk everything to get him back. Together with a select few of the Returned, they make a plan to bust Tyler out of lockdown and maybe steal some classified info while they are at it. But these things rarely go as planned and Kyra quickly learns that every action has consequences. What kind of trouble does she find herself in? You’ll just have to read to find out!

Kyra is still a character I adore. She’s a bit stronger here than she was in The Taking, but still basically the same character. She’s smart and caring and her devotion to Tyler had me sympathizing with her all the more. If you enjoyed her perspective before, you’ll continue to do so here. I can’t say too much else about the characters without going into spoiler territory, so I’ll leave it at this: you get a decent group of people all with interesting stories and quirks, but all is not as it seems.

I really enjoyed The Taking. It was one of those books that I just could not put down. From page one, I was hooked. I was desperate to learn not only what the hell had happened to Kyra, but also how everyone would react to her return. So I was ecstatic to see the sequel up on Edelweiss and I didn’t hesitate to grab it immediately. This, I thought, would be awesome. This would be a novel that I would burn my way through as I did with the first one. That, however, was not the case. While I did enjoy it and I think it’s a fair continuation of the story, I didn’t love it like I did with the first one. Some of the magic was missing. I think there are several things that contributed to this. The pass was quite a bit slower here and not much gets accomplished. It seemed to have just a little of that middle book syndrome thing going on. We get action and adventure, but it’s pretty clear that nothing is really going to be resolved here.

My big problem was the missing Tyler. Tyler was the magical ingredient, in my opinion. The first novel had this great contemporary science fiction vibe that I adored. A big part of that was the romance between Kyra and Tyler. Tyler was abducted at the end of The Taking, in order to save his life, and we don’t get him back early on here. We don’t get him back until the novel is half over. Even then, let’s just say the reunion is not everything you have been dreaming of, okay? In Tyler’s absence, Simon tries to put the moves on Kyra, pulling us into that dreaded love triangle territory. It was skirted around in The Taking and I was hoping we could continue to avoid it here, but no such luck. Simon has no qualms telling Kyra how he feels and that she can’t wait for Tyler forever. Which, quite honestly, made me want to slap him. Kyra, for her part, wasn’t much better. I won’t say much because I don’t want to have to label this as a spoilery review, but her reactions to him aren’t always the resounding rejection that it should be.

Basically, this novel is good, but it doesn’t quite live up to the awesomeness that was The Taking. It’s entertaining and has some twists that you don’t see coming, but that gets bogged down in a slow moving plot, love triangle, and yet another cliffhanger. I still recommend it to everyone who enjoyed the first novel and I think highly of it, but I just a little disappointed because it didn’t live up to my expectations. Regardless, it gave me quite a few answers and another peak into this world that Derting has created. That’s enough to satisfy me….for now.

****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Review for The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

TITLE: The Taking
SERIES: The Taking #1
AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting
PUBLICATION DATE: April 29, 2014
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via Edelweiss / Freebie shelf at Malaprops
RATING: 4 bows

Kyra Agnew was just a normal high school girl, with a talent for pitching softball and a long term boyfriend to plan her future with….until she disappears without a trace. One night she was arguing with her father and poof! Gone. She wakes up the next morning behind a dumpster and goes home only to discover that’s 5 years have past since that night. Five years and her life has moved on without her. Austin, her boyfriend, is now off at college dating her best friend, her parents are divorced, and her dad is a conspiracy theorist over alien abductions. Even worse, she is freakishly drawn to Austin’s kid brother, who was 12 when she left but now is a 17 year old hunk who seems to be the only one that cares about her side of things. As they dig deeper into her missing years, only one thing is certain. Once they learn the truth, nothing will ever be the same.

I really liked Kyra instantly. It was difficult not to sympathize with her. One night everything is fine and literally the next day, everything is different. She boy she loves so dearly has moved on, to her best friend no less, and is now living the out the dreams that she helped plan with someone else. Her mom has remarried and has a new child (her brother, Logan). Her dad, who she was always so close to, has lost his damned mind, spending all his time obsessing over alien abductions. To his credit, he was the only person in her life that never really stopped looking for her. She goes through so many emotions that this felt just as much like a contemporary YA as it did a paranormal. In fact, I enjoyed those contemporary feeling bits more than the paranormal aspects. Either way, this girl has it rough. I get that everyone around her is doing their best and people need to move on with their lives, but it genuinely feels like nobody really wants her side of things, they just want her to go back to her life and for things to be as normal as possible. Except Tyler. The connection she feels with him is undeniable. He is the only person that just lets her vent without judging her for what she says or feels. It’s not hard to see why she falls for him so quickly.

Tyler, dear sweet Tyler, is so perfect. He’s hot and cocky and endearingly sweet to Kyra. He’s determination to show her that he is so much more than Austin’s kid brother was awesome to watch. Also, watching him go out of his way to help Kyra, even if it was just distracting her from the drama of her “new” life, was beyond sweet. I don’t know how she would have survived without him, at least mentally. Also, teenage boy who likes to read? ::drools:: That by itself is enough to catch my attention. Not only does he read, but he actively collects old and rare literary magazines? Excuse me while I melt into a puddle on the floor.

The one thing that stands out to me more than anything else is how addictive this is. When I started this, I just wanted to read a chapter or so to have something on my currently reading list. I had just finished When The Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke and I don’t like having my “Currently reading” slot empty, so the plan was just to start it. I know I can say I’m reading it when I haven’t started, but I don’t like doing that. If I haven’t started it, I’m not really reading it and it shouldn’t be on my currently reading list. ANYWAY, I started it and an hour later, I was still reading. I was forced encouraged to stop reading for a few hours to hang out with my husbands friends and it was a very long few hours with me sneaking the book out at every opportunity. It’s addictive. From the moment Kyra appears, you have this need to find out everything, not only who took her and why, but also how the people around her react to her reappearnce and how the confrontation with Austin goes and where the forbidden-feeling romance with Tyler leads. I was enthralled in a series forget-the-world kind of way.

As I said before, I really enjoyed the contemporary aspect of this novel and how it felt like a nice blend between contemporary and paranormal. I’ve read several reviews and the biggest problem I’ve seen people have is how long it takes her to start asking questions and looking for who took her, but I will play devil’s advocate on that. If you vanished but had no memory of disappearing, where do you look for answers? Who do you ask when no one knows? And are you just going to ignore they way your life has changed? Are you not going to experience some emotions over those changes? I felt like that would have been my first response because those are the things that are in front of you. When you are sleeping into your old bedroom that has been turned into a guest room down the hall from the 3 year old brother that you just learned about and your mom in bed with your brand new-step dad, that’s harder to avoid than the idea that you vanished for five years with absolutely no memory of it. Then, once that has been processed, you start to push the boundaries and go looking for answers.

What really irked me was how trusting she was from the people she got her information from. Once they are in the compound, it’s easy to see why, but when she is more or less kidnapped, I wouldn’t take anyone at their word. Also, why were the health side effects never mentioned in that first meeting? That kind of information is paramount and could have really helped avoid trouble. Serious, serious trouble.

Overall though, this is a highly enjoyable read. It’s one of those rare novels that even though it may have an issue or two, you just can’t put it down, you can’t let go of the story or stop thinking about it. Yes, it does have a cliffhanger and a minor love triangle, but it’s forgivable because of it’s awesomeness. I am impatiently awaiting the next installment!

****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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