Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Untaken

Untaken

J.E. Anckorn
Fiction
For ages 13 and up
Curiosity Quills Press, 2015   ISBN: 978-1620076231

The ships arrived in the spring, and at first the sight of the huge flying vessels hanging over the land had everyone terrified that an alien invasion was imminent. Store shelves were cleared of supplies and people stayed home. Then, as the months went by and nothing happened, people began to resume their normal routines.

Now it is summer and Gracie is alone at home. Her parents are at work and she has nothing much to do. Gracie is a self-confessed nerd and does not have a group of friends that she hangs out with. In fact, her mother is always complaining about the fact that Gracie spends all her time online instead of being social and behaving like a ‘normal’ teenager. Gracie is getting an ice-cream cone when something starts to happen. The space ships start to move and all hell breaks loose. When the crashing winds and noise is over, Gracie is back in her damaged home and there is no power.

Brandon is also at home when the ships start to move. Unlike Gracie, who takes refuge in a closet, Brandon and his drunk of a father start to prepare for a war with the aliens, whoever they are. They barricade themselves in the cellar, gather up all of Brandon’s father’s guns, and get ready to kick some alien ass. The only thing is that the aliens are not what they expect. They don’t arrive with weapons blasting. Instead, black tentacled creatures start to prowl the streets and they attack any humans they find. Brandon’s father is one of the victims. Though Brandon is able to kill the creature, his father is changed by the encounter.

One of the black creatures attacks Gracie’s neighbor and she sees first-hand how the man, who looks normal, responds to a sound that the space ships produces. He and many of Gracie’s other neighbors start to walk towards the ships, and Gracie never sees them again.

Gracie and Brandon end up in the same shelter and things should be better, but they are not. It isn’t long before the people at the shelter realize that their ‘protectors’ have an agenda that is horrific. When Gracie and Brandon manage to escape from the room they are being kept in, they see that dozens of people have been cut open, presumably to see what the black creatures did to them. One of the poor, mutilated people is Brandon’s father.

Gracie and Brandon team up, and Brandon decides that they should take refuge at a cabin in Maine that his uncle owns. Going all the way from Boston to Maine and staying away from the aliens at the same time is not easy. What makes the journey even harder is that Brandon and Gracie find a little boy in the ruins of a house. He is all alone so that they take him with them. The boy does not speak, and some of his behaviors are downright strange. However, they never imagine, when they ‘adopt’ him, that the child that they are a protecting is not what they think.

This gritty, often painful story will keep readers guessing the whole way through the narrative. The story is told from the point of view of all three characters in alternating chapters, which makes it interesting and powerful.

css.php