Friday, November 16, 2012

Gravity Blog Tour: Review + Interview

Melissa West
Series: The Taking, #1
Publication date: November 20th 2012
by Entangled Teen

In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
*A copy was provided by Entangled Publishing for review purposes*

While I do love and enjoy sci-fi novels, I have rarely come about any that involve Aliens. I can actually only recall 2: I Am Number Four, and Obsidian. Both were good and a great change from the same old. The world Melissa has created in Gravity has some holes and grey areas, but overall, the mix of dystopian and aliens is a great way to create an original post-apocalyptic world with very neat, but also very scary, aspects.

We begin this book with a prologue that occurs during Ari's childhood, when she has to face for the first time the very real fact that aliens are among them now, and what it means to live in this world with them. This chapter sets a great intriguing tone for the book. Making it instantly engaging, while heightening our curiosity of the journey we're about to embark upon. Then when we meet Ari again as a teenager, it's during a very stressful evening where, immediately, secrets are unraveling. We are off to a great start!

Like I said, there are some grey areas in the world building when it comes to learning about these aliens. The Ancients are a fascinating bunch, although they have some key differences--like changing eye color and flawless beauty--they look like humans and have a neat way of traveling to our planet. We also get some greatly interesting biological detail. What we don't get that I wish we had is a lot more about the history of these aliens coming to earth. I'm not saying we don't get any information, we do, but I wanted more than the basics. When I think of a post-war world like this, I like to be able to imagine its history unfolding, and this was more like a hop. Bits and pieces that give a passable explanation, but not enough to really throw me into this world convincingly.

Nevertheless, the idea for the world is both alarming and exciting, and I loved it. We are in the brink of a war with these beings. Things start to get tense when the first attack is seen early on in the book, and it keeps a great steady pace throughout. I did, however, feel a little underwhelmed with the romance that develops from the very beginning. I understand that it's an unusual situation since Jackson has been developing feelings for Ari his whole life, but from her side, she's only just met him, yet she trusts him immediately. This, to me, seems like a way to try to play in insta-love without ramifications. Although mild in this case, there will never be a "good way" to play in insta-love. It lacks connection and chemistry, and without these key elements I never feel very interested in the love story--which, in this case, come into the forefront for a big part of the book.

What kept me rolling through despite not liking the romance is Ari herself. I loved her narration, especially that it's in first person. She is a character who is brave and independent; she's tough as nails and her training has made her a true fighter. I love nothing better than a strong female protagonist who can hold her own.

With that said, my issues do lay mostly with the romance. It's a rather large part of the book so no matter how much I loved the plot--which was a lot--I couldn't get truly wrapped up in it as the romance kept getting in the way of my enjoyment. If I would have rated this on everything BUT, it would have gotten a solid 4!

3 Hot Espressos

Interview with Melissa West

Q. Hi Melissa, let's start by telling us where you got the idea for Gravity?
The idea for GRAVITY came to me one day when I was watching the beginning of a storm on my back deck. The trees were all moving in this easy rhythm with the wind. It was both incredibly creepy and incredibly comforting. All the sudden, I noticed something moving through one of the trees—likely an animal—but in that moment I wondered what it would be like if there was a human-like creature that came out of the trees. That night I had a dream about a boy coming from the trees and into a girl’s window and with that everything just sort of fell into place.

Q. Which was the hardest part of writing Gravity?
Creating my version of aliens—Ancients—was tricky. I wanted something original, and so I had to do a lot of research to create a semi-realistic alien. I didn’t want to lean on easy theories, so instead my editor and I went back and forth until we had the Ancients in GRAVITY as solid as possible. The only problem was that I have a very clear goal for each of the three books in the series. I didn’t want GRAVITY to focus so heavily on the aliens that it overcame the main point of the story—human nature.

Q. What is your take on aliens? Do you think they exist? Have been on earth?
I think it’s awfully arrogant of us, humans, to believe that we are the only intelligent species in the universe. The universe is vast and much of it is still undiscovered. So yes, I absolutely believe there are aliens out there. Now whether or not they look like Jackson, I can’t say, though that certainly is less freaky than the Aliens movie variety. ;) As for whether they have been to earth, I’m not sure. I will say, rumors and stories tend to begin for a reason.

Q. What is your favourite alien movie?
I remember distinctly the moment I became afraid of aliens, and it was because of a movie. The movie was Fire in the Sky and it completely freaked me out. It’s strange to call that movie my “favorite” but really it is. It’s the movie that got me started thinking about aliens and the possibility of other life in the universe.

Q. If you were an alien, what would you look like?
Ha! I’ve never been asked this question! I have no idea, but if I got to become an alien I would want to be a kickass one for sure. I’m fairly tiny—5’4, 110 lbs—so I would want to be taller and strong and able to kick serious butt! :)

Ditto on the height! *waves from her 5"3ness*. Thanks so much for dropping by Melissa! I agree that it's ridiculous to think there are not other beings out there--but hopefully they look like your version rather than in Aliens O_O


Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange. Represented by Louise Fury of L. Perkins Agency.

This post is a part of the Gravity Blog Tour
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