The Taking is not so much a horror novel as a cross-genre piece that melds horror and sci-fi.
The problems begin with the rain. It is sudden, it falls hard, and it is luminescent. Molly Sloan lies restless in her bed and cannot sleep. Molly’s husband, Neil, has no such worries; he’s sound asleep. At 2 am Molly gets up and goes downstairs planning to do some work on her new novel, but when she looks out of the window and notices the strange quality of the rain she stands a while and tries to figure out the reason behind the downpour’s luminosity. Molly is still pondering on this when she sees low, sinuous shapes moving under the window.
The rain may be strange, but even stranger weather conditions await an unsuspecting world: blue snow, purple fog and, huge waterspouts that suck up seawater at a rate of 200,000 gallons a minute. It’s not just the weather that has gone to pot though, as Molly and Neil soon discover. They encounter unusual animal and plant life. Not to mention the occasional walking, talking dead person. The world has gone to hell overnight and it is up to Molly and Neil to try and figure out how to survive, what has caused this calamity and what—if anything—can be done about it.
I rarely read science fiction, but I still enjoyed The Taking. Having said that, although I enjoyed the book, it isn’t one that I would want to read over and over again. It entertained me but didn’t enthral me. I also felt the story developed an underlying preachy feel to it, towards the end of the book, which didn’t really work for me.
The main characters in the book are Molly and Neil, with Molly taking the leading role, and I found both characters very likeable. I didn’t really find any characters that I loved to hate, which is quite unusual, but the story managed just fine without any. I suppose Molly’s father may be the guy who a lot of readers feel negative towards, but I was indifferent to him. I recognized him as being one of the bad guys; he just didn’t manage to stir up much negative emotion in me.
I read a paperback copy of The Taking and it ran to a little over 400 pages in length. It’s probably a book that most Dean Koontz fans will want to add to their bookshelves, and it will probably appeal to most sci-fi readers and maybe even to a more general readership, but readers who prefer a standard horror novel may want to look elsewhere and I can highly recommend Dean Koontz’ earlier novel, The Bad Place.