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The Taking Hardcover – May 25, 2004

688 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1975, the now defunct Laser Books issued Invasion by Aaron Wolfe, aka Koontz (who later expanded that novel into Winter Moon, 1994), a breakneck tale of alien invasion centered on an isolated farm. Koontz's new novel also concerns alien invasion, and a comparison of the two books offers insight into the evolution of this megaselling author's work. Invasion was mostly speed and suspense—a brilliant if superficial exercise in terror. The new novel also features abundant suspense, as a couple in an isolated California home endure a phosphorescent rain and learn that, around the world, something is attacking humans and laying waste to communications. It's only when they drive to a nearby town that they learn of a global alien invasion; the tension ratchets as a weird fog descends and the aliens not only manifest physically but animate the dead. For years, however, Koontz has aimed at more than just thrills; today he is a novelist of metaphysics and moral reflection. His aliens are inherently evil as well as scary; standing against them are the human capacity for hope and the forces of goodness and innocence (here, as elsewhere, embodied in dogs), and near novel's end Koontz puts an overtly religious spin on his tale. Koontz's language has changed over the years, too, and not always for the better. While his care with words engenders admiration, his love of metaphor and alliteration can slow down the reading ("the luminous nature of the torrents that tinseled the forest and silvered the ground"). Also missing here is the wonderful humor that elevated his last novel, Odd Thomas, and some other recent work. Koontz remains one of the most fascinating of contemporary popular novelists, and this stands as an important effort, but not his best, though its sincerity and passion can't be denied.
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* A glowing rain begins falling at one a.m. in the San Bernardino Mountains of California, where productive but hardly best-selling novelist Molly Sloan and her ex-priest husband, Neil, live outside a small town. Besides being luminous, the downpour smells like rancid semen, Molly thinks, and it brings with it a feeling of oppression. Animals cower from it, as Molly grasps when she sees a pack of coyotes huddling on the porch. The little wolves seem to be appealing to her for help, and when she walks out to them, they seem to expect her to lead them. She goes to wake Neil, rescuing him from a nightmare, and to wash--no, scour--her hands where the rain hit them. The torrent continues, taking out the power, but then appliances come on spontaneously, and the hands of clocks run wildly in opposite directions. The Sloans conclude they must leave after an interior mirror reflects the house as invaded by ghastly vegetation--but doesn't reflect them at all. Opening sequences come no creepier than this one, and the rest of Koontz's version of the extraterrestrial attack scenario so well lives up to it that the revelation, painstakingly apprehended by Molly, of who the aliens really are comes as no surprise. Nor do Koontz's authorial insertions about modernity and social degeneracy seem anything but explanatory in the context of this gripping, blood-curdling, thought-provoking parable. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Koontz, Dean R.
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055380250X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553802504
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (688 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Brian Reaves VINE VOICE on May 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been anxiously awaiting this book since first reading about it months ago. When I got it yesterday, I devoured it. The first 100 pages give you no let up at all. You can literally feel the end of the world approaching as an evil, foul-smelling rain descends on Molly and Neil's house. What awaits her on the porch and in the garage gives you more of a sense of dread than if actual razor-toothed gremlins were staring up at her. The peace and calm exhibited from everything in this scene of destruction makes it that much more powerful. For the first half of the book, you have several possible answers thrown at you. An emergency broadcast from the space station will give you literal chills.
The only thing I didn't enjoy was the ending. As the culprits of this destruction are unveiled, it loses some momentum. While the answer makes sense, you start to lose that sense of "something's out there waiting for me". Instead, you sort of keep watching from a sense of macabre interest--sort of like driving by a car wreck slowly. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of surprises and suspense thrown in, but I think the book would have been much more powerful if we'd been left in the dark just a little longer. The feeling of defeat and utter hopelessness doesn't let up, but the overall fear and dread die away as the revelations come in.
All in all, I'm very satisfied with this story though. Highly recommended.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Gregshock on January 18, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think the almost perfect dichotomy in the ratings for this book is telling. As of January of 2009 there are 220-4&5 star ratings and 201-1&2 star ratings. An almost equal level of love and hate for this book. This seems very unusual.

As for myself, I loved this book. I'm a Koontz fan, so you might expect me to like another of his excellent novels, but there really is a great deal to like about this story. The story itself is an alein invasion story, but not your average, overdone nasty outerspace invaders type of tale. This one is done with a twist that I haven't seen done this way before, although I'll admit to not having read a great deal of Sci-Fi. Koontz admits in a podcast that I've listened to that his inspiration for the story came from Arthur C. Clarke, who suggested that alein technology from an advanced civilization might seem somehow supernatural to us. Koontz wondered about turning ACC's idea on it's head and suggesting that a supernatural invasion might seem like advanced technology to people in a society who don't believe in magic anymore. To people who only believe in science and the material world. I found this concept fascinating and Koontz's execution of it very well done.

I appreciate his use of metaphor and simile. His prose is vivid and often poetic and evokes such strong visual and auditory images in your mind as you read that you feel as if you are experiencing his created world first hand. His description of sights, sounds and smells become so real that one can feel the dark portent in the oppressive, driving rain, the bizarre behavior of the animals and the emotional response of his human characters.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Houk on March 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved it! Fast,unusual,disturbing,suspenseful-an excellent story!

I read it through over 2 days(something I never do) I did have the added advantage of reading

it during bad weather which reinforced the books atmosphere.

This is a story more than a book or plot orientation. It moves and keeps moving. In some ways the opposite of the Odd Thomas series which feature

characters & dialogue more than action.

DK evoked a wider range of thought & feeling from me than with his other books. The story does raise many interesting religious/philisophical questions about survival choices,aliens,death and heaven & hell.
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108 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Eileen on May 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When Molly Sloan awakens one night to the drumming of an oddly scented luminescent rain, she senses that something is off-kilter. The coyotes huddle frightened on her porch. She feels a disturbing presence moving past in the sky. When her husband Neil awakens with nightmares, the two of them watch news broadcasts about bizarre supernatural occurrences, shocking violence, and public panic that arise around the globe. It starts to look as if an alien invasion has begun. Then the power goes out. Molly and Neil join up with some of their neighbors, trying to identify what is happening and how to deal with the increasingly evil and omnipotent entity that appears to be taking over the planet. The townspeople splinter into factions, each with its own opinion on how to handle the crisis.
The story starts off with powerful mood-building imagery and with echoes of Koontz's "Strangers" and Stephen King's "The Stand" and "The Mist." Koontz then cranks up the suspense and horror as alien vegetation begins to invade the town, the residents are dispatched in gruesome and mysterious ways, and the dead come to life. Now the story segues into a Twilight Zone screenplay, as the supernatural and otherworldly occurrences increase. By the halfway point, Molly and Neil are now on a crusade to save the children at any cost, even though they wonder how anyone, adult or child, could survive this hellish new world order. When there are only 50 pages left to go in the story, I am wondering how Koontz could ever resolve the plot instead of leaving the reader hanging until a sequel. Then comes a disappointing ending that plays strongly on Koontz's increasing trend to use religion and hope in his books. Dogs feature prominently in this story, as they do in many of Koontz's books.
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