Friday, April 27, 2012

Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter

Spoilers like whoa, readers. By the time you finish this review, you'll know a lot about Taken at Dusk and the Shadow Falls series.

Title: Taken at Dusk
Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Pages: 380 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC swapped with another blogger
Purchase: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

Kylie Galen wants the truth so badly she can taste it. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean. But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better.

Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together. Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering the frightful warning, someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the truth about her supernatural identity, which is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined.


One star? Not zero like it was with the last two books? You're seeing things right. Taken at Dusk was terrible from beginning to end just like its predecessors, but it showed itsy-bitsy signs of improvement. Kylie is still a terrible person and a poor character and the plot barely has any idea what it's doing, yet it's a start.

So the positives: there was something driving the plot of the novel at least half the time. The disappearance of Kylie's grandparents was easily forgotten, but there was the occasional visit from Red and the threat of things trying to kill her (I was always cheering for nature to win that battle, as I'm sure you can guess). When it came up that her boyfriend might be controlling her, Kylie demonstrated the presence and use of .5 brain cells (only .5 because she was still a dolt) by getting worried about it. Fantastic! Entire chapters passed by without a comment from me.

Well, that's it for the praise. Otherwise, this is just as badly written, badly plotted, and easily poked at as the other two books. From panties on fire (she really should see a doctor about that--and take her most recent partner with her) to so much soda that it drowns an Italian fish (but the book does not specify if that much Diet Coke will drown a Vietnamese or Chilean fish), some of the unintentionally hilarious lines in this book can't be made up.

We finally find out what Kylie is! Are you ready for this?

She's sexy and she knows it.

A chameleon. Came right out of the book. The way I read it, she can transform into whatever supernatural being she wants to be, complete with their brain pattern and powers. So she's not the sexy strutting chameleon pictured above. She's just your average Mary Sue in a sea of girls coming out of Hogwart's sorta-secret Sparklypoo house. Characterization is still poor and this is evidence of it. Now that I have saved you about 1,000 pages of reading just to find out what she is, let's move on.

I'm not sure I've seen them do much campy stuff at this camp. You've got your basics of getting up and going to bed, Campmate Hour, the occasional campfire, and eating meals. Does my mind skip over Kylie participating in activities or exercises meant to foster better relationships between the different groups of supernaturals? It's always about her love drama or her friends' love drama or someone trying to kill/kidnap Kylie or scenes meant to fluff up the book. Boring!

The series tend to make a lot of funny word choices. By funny, I mean borderline problematic. Fredericka, the werewolf who loves Lucas and hates Kylie and is overall a piece of cardboard, is often called a she-wolf, reducing her from a person to an animal. I've seen it multiple times where Kylie referred to her boy toys as "sexy as sin" or something along those lines. Why keep comparing boys to sin? Is a girl liking a guy really that bad? What, are girls going to be sluts next just for looking up at a guy through her eyelashes?

There appears to be a quota for unfortunate implications in this series because there's a new one every book. This time around, we have a character one of Kylie's love interests used to have sex with. She is as sweet as can be and never treats Kylie or her friends badly, but Della calls her a slut and the other girls don't exactly object. When the three of them decided to befriend the character, I felt sorry for her. She deserves better than people who call her names behind her back. I really thought this series grew out of the slut shaming, but apparently now. So they're friends, her interest in Derek is no more, she's caught in Kylie the Mary Sue's trap...

And then she dies.

Yeah, calling a female character a slut for having sex with one of Kylie's love interests when Kylie was hardly speaking to him anymore, and then killing her off later? Not a fantastic move.

We also had Kylie, who is a pretty terrible person, being compared to Mother Teresa multiple times with narrative support of characters from all different perspectives complimenting her. What a way to insult the legacy of Mother Teresa: compare her to a judgmental teenager who sees other girls as rivals, slut shames rampantly, and is overall a narrow-minded bucket of vomit. (What? I've got to get creative now that I've decided to drop the use of gendered insults.) Mother Teresa was not perfect, but she's far above Kylie's level.

But you guys. You guys. I think I might not actually bother with the next book, Whispers at Moonrise. This is my cat-scratch series and also something reliably terrible that makes me appreciate the good books more, but now it's showing signs of improvement. It was only a baby step forward, but that's not good. When you follow a horrible series solely because it's horrible, why keep following it when it starts to improve? Same old shtick here: fans will love it, non-fans won't, etc. At least there was minute improvement. Maybe that will make me stay away next time.

1 star!

What am I reading next?: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers


  1. Oh damn, I love your reviews. You just translate everything I feel about these damned series. I always think that Kylie was awful, and the plot boring as hell. But, I will admit, I was not even able to finish the first book. I dont know how you get that far.

    1. Haven't even read the series, but I've been reading the reviews on different sites. Really, I don't even want to read the series just because of what Kylie is. It's not that bad, but it just doesn't seem . . . exciting.

      Oh, and your review was funny. So was the Nitpicker's.


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