Rainstorms rarely bode well. Heavy downpours that fall under cloak
of night deepen the already-threatening shadows and trigger a host
of fears. But the steady rain that pummels Molly and Niel Sloan's
house portends an unimaginable evil. Possessing a sort of glow,
unearthly shapes can be seen moving through the sheets of silver.
An unpleasant odor emanates from it, raising the hairs on the back
of Molly's neck. Intuition sends the couple fleeing from their
isolated home, rushing into the blinding storm toward Black Lake,
their little town of a few thousand souls --- souls about to be
When the day dawns, it dawns through a heavy purple fog, the rains
having ceased like a spigot suddenly wrenched off. The townsfolk,
many gathered in the local pub, split into groups of differing
philosophies --- some resigned to their fate, finding comfort in
drink; a handful of indecisives frozen by their inability to take a
stand; brave hopefuls drawn together to fight the alien enemy; and
diehard peace lovers forced, by belief, into deadly inaction.
The taking of the earth is effected by creatures of many forms,
both original and borrowed. The dead walk, the living die --- in a
carnival of gruesome ways. Meanwhile, Molly and Niel appear to be
somehow charmed. They travel where others cannot go, puzzled over
their unique abilities. And they find a hero in a most unusual
creature. Molly in particular is guided by a force --- but is it
guiding or is it luring?
Dean Koontz, an undisputed master of words, indulges himself in
some frivolity as he peppers his prose with obscure, if not
outright invented, adjectives and nouns. On occasion, I found his
strings of words beginning with the same letter to be distracting.
He has written a very engaging story without the necessity for
words that can't help but send the perplexed reader running to a
dictionary every few pages. I mean, a minikin in pink pedal
pushers? Is there really such a thing as a minikin? Or
pitipatition? I couldn't find a definition for either.
That tiny grouse aside, THE TAKING draws one in, revealing itself
as a novel not so much of horror as of revelations. Don't get me
wrong; there are many horrific things that occur in its pages. But
the story's focus is not that of wholesale terror. Rather, it deals
with hope, a cleansing of the world, in a way. Unlike earlier
Koontz books, THE TAKING left me with goose bumps of the good kind
and pondering the ending long after I closed it for the last time.
A definite must-read for Koontz fans.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 23, 2011