Friday, March 1, 2013

The Takers (The Oz Chronicles #1) By R.W. Ridley

Review by Jacey.

Blurb:

The Takers (The Oz Chronicles, #1)

Oz Griffin and an unusual band of misfits set out on a quest in order to defeat the "Takers," monsters threatening mankind. The answers to many riddles seem to be included  in a comic book written by another neighborhood boy, but Oz and friends must find time to read it while battling dangers. Reviewers have compared the story to Stephen King's The Stand and the Harry Potter series.













***

Ok, so before I begin, I would like to say that I thought the blurb was somewhat misleading. Yes, JK Rowling made a pretty profitable franchise, but this novel should not be deemed similar to those works when picking it up. Just a forewarning to those who might pick this book up (which I think they totally should). But hey, if we're making comparisons, allow me to make a contrast: this book was in NO WAY like Harry Potter, and in many ways beats it. Just so we're all clear. *end rant*

Anywho, now to the deal: The Takers. So I don't think I've ever been as on edge with a book for some time. Yeah, I've read a few pieces where my stomach lurched a bit, but it's been a while since a book would a induce me to scream at my colleague Tempest when she opens my car door for scaring the pee-jeebus out of me. Needless to say, Ridley's narrative- claws sink deeply into your flesh as you yourself are sinking your reader-fangs into his tale of horror. From the beginning, the reader is pretty much told that these creatures, the Takers, have devoured all humans, and that you can't say their names out loud or notice them or else they'll come find you and presumably kill you. At first, I thought it was going to be one of those stories where you don't get to see the big bad wolf until near the end, or you wouldn't see them period. Which has been done, and I almost thought about putting it down, but it turns out Ridley ends up throwing these terrifying creatures at your face, and in doing so you also witness some monsters that movie directors would so often like to hide these days for the sake of suspense. Trust me though, there's plenty of that going around in this novel too, so the whole time you're wondering who's going to be eaten alive next (one of my biggest fears which made this novel even more terrifying) and trust me, Ridley does not spare the nasty details. With that said, I'll move on to the characters, who are a pretty diverse lot, including a German Shepard and a signing-gorilla. The thirteen year old narrator inevitably becomes the leader of the pack, but instead of morphing into a heroic role, Ridley still manages to portray a kid still going through puberty as an almost man who just instinctively takes up the mantle of being the leader. We see him cry like a baby, but also we see him stare down grease-covered devils and tear their throats out. 

What I liked about this book was how it pushes you to accept the unimaginable. There are moments where things seems pretty incredulous and for a second you have thoughts that can resemble this: "wait, how the heck can that happen that imposs-- Oh wait never mind, if creatures from another dimension can come and eat the entire human race, I guess that's possible too..." Basically, anything is possible and the characters are left to confront whatever is thrown at them. The plot may seem linear to some readers, point a to point b, but I actually kind of appreciated the structure. The one issue I had with this book was how rushed the last two chapters seemed. It felt like Ridley was anxious to wrap things up, maybe so he could start building upon a climactic ending, or perhaps his second book. Additionally some questions which were raised in the novel were never answered. I'll assume Ridley plans on answering at least a few of them in his sequel, which I am most anxious for.


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