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Review: The Taken by Vicki Pettersson

The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Pettersson
Urban Fantasy, Angels, Mystery
Trade Paperback $13.99 (432 pages, HARPER VOYAGER)
Ebook $9.99

Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets . . . and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he's an angel, but that doesn't make him a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he's been dumped back onto the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine "Kit" Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let the sable-haired siren come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to solve the mystery of his own unsolved murder—and dole out some overdue payback for the death of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif's search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn't Grif's biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, along with the answer to the haunting question of his long afterlife . . .

Author Site: vickipettersson.com

Poor pacing, caricature characters, and awful analogies are just the start... (2 stars)

It's not often I don't see a reason to give a summary of the book I am writing a review of's plot. Unfortunately for THE TAKEN, I found so much wrong with it from the writing (and I was a Pettersson fan before this book) to the story and beyond I feel it just needs to be left with the blurb as your guide to the plot and characters.

As a fan of Pettersson's well-written and original Signs of the Zodiac series I was really looking forward to seeing what would follow. I've always had a fascination with her setting of choice so I was thrilled to see Las Vegas as the home of this series. But that was where the fun stopped. Immediately the pacing is choppy, stop-starting, and dying into dullness chapter by chapter. The characters felt like badly fleshed caricatures. I was stunned as halfway through the novel I realized I had no care as to what happened to them. They weren't unlikable so much as uninteresting. You'd think the rockabilly thing would be cool and it's sadly weak, it felt like a poorly calculated plot device to make Kit quirky but it just didn't translate well in written form. If this were a TV show it'd probably have the desired effect. I wanted to like Grif but he was hard to pin down. Additionally, the lack of chemistry between them felt extremely forced. If you hate insta-love plots steer clear of this one.

The actual storyline had potential. Except that it read like a script for an episode of a cop show. It was over-the-top and in that regard it felt silly to me. If the elements of rockabilly 'freak' Kit were tossed out and she were just a modern nosy reporter and Grif merely a guardian angel I could have given it a pass. Instead the overall elements of the novel just left me shaking my head at the silliness.

While THE TAKEN wasn't without some enjoyable elements—I enjoyed the conversations between Grif and Sarge—they were so severely overshadowed by the unlikeable things I couldn't even give this book a 3 star rating. The worst part of the book was the painfully bad analogies and similar writing flubs. Having enjoyed Pettersson's work in the past I was baffled why her editor wasn't all over them with a red pen. They were distracting as I stumbled over them.

Overall, I was utterly disappointed with THE TAKEN and feel really awful admitting it. I wanted to like it, I tried to. I just couldn't when I found the reading as painful as it was. I'm not even sure who I would recommend it to as I can't bring myself to suggest fans of Pettersson read it.

Other Reviews:

Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine Program.


Braine @ Talk Supe said...

Oh no! This is on my TBR list but after this I think I'll skip it instead. Thanks for the warning.

Talk Supe

Addicted2Heroines said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this, Rhianna =( I actually loved it. I haven't read her Zodiac series yet, but I'm moving it up the TBR pile.

Rhianna said...

:) That's what I love about books though! Different readers can have completely different reactions to them.

I have bought so many books because a negative review pointed out things that I love in a book. I was actually glad when I did my 'other reviews' section to find I wasn't alone in finding this one a hard sell. I felt like such a jerk being critical of this book.


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