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The Taking

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In one of the most dazzling books of his celebrated career, Dean Koontz delivers a masterwork of page-turning suspense that surpasses even his own inimitable reputation as a chronicler of our worst fears—and best dreams. In The Taking he tells the story of a community cut off from a world under siege, and the terrifying battle for survival waged by a young couple and their neighbors as familiar streets become fog-shrouded death traps. Gripping, heartbreaking, and triumphant in the face of mankind’s darkest hour, here is a small-town slice-of-doomsday thriller that strikes to the core of each of us to ask: What would you do in the midst of The Taking.

On the morning that will mark the end of the world they have known, Molly and Niel Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof. It has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now they rise to find a luminous silvery downpour drenching their small California mountain town. A strange scent hangs faintly in the air, and the young couple cannot shake the sense of something wrong.

As hours pass and the rain continues to fall, Molly and Niel listen to disturbing news of extreme weather phenomena across the globe. Before evening, their little town loses television and radio reception. Then telephone and the Internet are gone. With the ceaseless rain now comes an obscuring fog that transforms the once-friendly village into a ghostly labyrinth. By nightfall the Sloans have gathered with some of their neighbors to deal with community damage...but also because they feel the need to band together against some unknown threat, some enemy they cannot identify or even imagine.

In the night, strange noises arise, and at a distance, in the rain and the mist, mysterious lights are seen drifting among the trees. The rain diminishes with the dawn, but a moody gray-purple twilight prevails. Soon Molly, Niel, and their small band of friends will be forced to draw on reserves of strength, courage, and humanity they never knew they had. For within the misty gloom they will encounter something that reveals in a terrifying instant what is happening to their world—something that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency. Epic in scope, searingly intimate and immediate in perspective, The Taking is an adventure story like no other, a relentless roller-coaster read that brings apocalypse to Main Street and showcases the talents of one of our most original and mesmerizing novelists at the pinnacle of his powers.

From the Hardcover edition.

410 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Dean Koontz

930 books34.4k followers
Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

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

Facebook: Facebook.com/DeanKoontzOfficial
Twitter: @DeanKoontz
Website: DeanKoontz.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,030 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 10, 2020
This was a bubbling cesspool meandering mess.

The apocalypse has hit the world. Unexplained phenomena crop up everywhere. Coyotes-that-weren't-quite-coyotes, people coming back to the dead and a sudden invasion of creatures that were altogether unsettling. Molly and her husband feel a pull to the city and set off - to save their town or die trying.

Enter the blandest main character I have met in a long, long while: Molly Sloan. I disliked her from start to finish. I can't really pinpoint why I hated her with such a passion. It didn't help that her voice in the audiobook was sing-songy and nasally. And she was a bit annoying and woe-is-me in the book. I'll put it down to her Mary-Sue-ness.

The apocalypse aspects were pretty good (creepy talking dolls, the invading creatures) but the characters kept ruining things for me. The story had a quick pace but there's a difference between fast-paced and just throwing inexplicable events at you. The book either dragged or zipped by - never a healthy balance. No in between.

The heavy-handed religious twist deeply unsettled me. It felt like a perversion on religious themes for shock value and changed this book from 2.5 stars to barely a 1 in my eyes.

I adored Odd Thomas but now I realize that a series like that may be a once-in-an-author's-lifetime sort of thing.

Audiobook Comments
I honestly can't distinguish whether I hated Molly more or her voice.

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Profile Image for Baba.
3,564 reviews862 followers
June 24, 2022
A global cataclysmic event, possibly climate change related, sees eerie luminescent rain dowse the planet; Molly Sloan and her family's lives are changed forever in their fight for survival, and just as important understanding and dealing with what then ensues.

This scifi-horror-suspense novel (sweetly shelved as 'speculative fiction' by me) is yet another non Odd Thomas read that promises a lot more than it delivers, to be honest, just read Stephen King's The Mist and don't bother with this. Harsh? Probably, as it's not that bad, just maybe raised my expectations to high, thus making me a harsher critic? 6 out of 12.

2008 read, 2006 read
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,842 followers
September 6, 2020
2 to 2.5 stars

I find that about 1 in every 3 Koontz books does not click with me. I can’t think of another author where I’ve Ioved so many of their books that I have tried, but also don’t care for so many of their books that I have tried.

The Taking has an interesting premise and some of the gruesome descriptions and suspenseful action scenes are pretty good, but overall the book just did not work for me. And, the flow of the narrative was stilted so that each transition was somewhat jolting and confusing. Often there really was no explanation for what was happening other than it seemed like it was the thing to do.

And, while I know Koontz loves his dogs, this was another one where I felt like he forced them into the narrative. He has had some where they made perfect main characters, but this one just felt like “I love dogs – deal with it!” Maybe this is an aspect that will not bother you, but it is something that gets kind of old for me and my experience with Koontz.

Finally, the resolution was somewhat intriguing, and it probably saved a half a star on this rating. I was glad it was, because the climax was kind of blah!

Of course, this is a must read for Koontz completists. But otherwise I don’t really recommend this Koontz to you. Instead try Lightning, Hideaway, or, if the dog thing really does intrigue you, Watchers.

Side note on audiobook: I did not much care for Ariadne Meyers as the narrator. Just not quite as smooth as some of the other narrators I have listened to and when she tried to give voices to the characters it ended up sounding kind of silly.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,646 reviews5,109 followers
April 1, 2013
What will make a man despise all that is around him? What has happened in his life that he would rejoice in the drowning of a world, that he sees precious little of good in his fellow adults? What has happened that his love is now reserved only for children, animals, nature? I found myself wondering this as I read Koontz’s apocalyptic invasion of earth-cum-spiritual odyssey The Taking. I also couldn’t help but think of the protagonist of The Mosquito Coast and of Mel Gibson. The Koontz I read when much younger was a libertarian no doubt, and he filled his fast-paced narratives with typically feisty heroines, stalwart heroes, inherently evil villains – yet they all lived in a world that was not visibly a portrait of Sodom & Gomorrah before its fall. Clearly Koontz’s world view has changed – narrowed? Soured? Slowly transformed into something much darker? What happened to Koontz?

After reading his bio on-line, I couldn’t see anything that would have changed a man so utterly and am left only with the vague notion that too much time in the hands of a very rich man is often not a widening experience. Perhaps it is one where the man becomes so entrenched in his basic belief system that everything around him becomes a symbol – or symptom – of all that he loves and all that he despises. Idle hands are the Devil’s tools perhaps. Although Koontz is far from idle, he is practically a novel-writing machine. Still I can’t help but wonder what his thoughts would be if he were engaged in a more ordinary life, burdened by 9-5 work and by responsibilities and by simple things like saving money and making sure there's enough to pay bills and make mortgage payments; if he didn't have the isolation that a life of extreme wealth can bring - a life in which the everyday company of peers and the general flow of surrounding people have become diminished or even absent... then perhaps he wouldn’t have the time or even the inclination to brood so malevolently on the world and how sick to death it makes him. How the world should be remade, to his liking. It may be that the destiny of the rich and too-well-known is to eventually sink into a pit of their own making. There are no real world responsibilities to act as signposts in viewing how the world operates - at least from a realistic, complicated, ground-level point of view.

His targets remain the same, although here they have acquired a more sinister sheen. He still hates Hollywood, the “liberal” prison system, the “myth” of global warming, the mainstream media (odd, coming from one of the foremost supermarket paperback novelists living today), and he still enjoys defiling his own personal bugaboo – the liberal professor. In this novel, the liberal professor is actually an alien puppet of infinite malice. Literally. But now Koontz's targets are more than targets, they are the logical reason why the earth should suffer its second Deluge. At one point the protagonist realizes that they are in a time of Sodom & Gomorrah because murder is so easily allowed. Strange. It is the point of view of a person who only reads the paper and watches the news in order to see more and more evidence of the barbarity of humanity. Perhaps he doesn’t live in a world that is filled with people who also hate murder (now who do you know who is actually pro-murder?)... folks who make it obvious that not everyone is sick with greed and callousness. A world where a drink does not automatically equal debauchery. Or one where a liberal professor is not a figure of control and despair, but just a liberal professor. A world that includes sickening evil but is not simply sick and evil. You know - a genuinely complicated world, the real world.

This skewed perspective became stifling. Fortunately there were plenty of his trademark Dogs Are Special People type scenes to distract me. I love dogs. See, Koontz, we have something in common after all! Do you really want to destroy me?

The novel itself is interesting. Koontz has replaced his no-frills style with one that yearns for poetry and meaning. It is successful perhaps half the time and the other half is eye-rolling and even head-scratching. But The Taking does have its many moments of interest, of eerie horror and phantasmagoric tableau. There was a sequence relaying the final, terror-filled dialogue of a space station under unfathomable attack that was pretty riveting. And the spirituality is rather absorbing to contemplate and, certainly, it is passionately expressed! In a funny way, the story itself is the reverse of a Scooby Doo or Doctor Who plot: in the end, silly reader, . Time to start fresh, on The Mosquito Coast, in Mel Gibson-land.

oh, one more thing: a demonic storm with rain that feels and smells like sperm. wow! EVIL is literally seeding the earth! sperm is EVIL!
Profile Image for Jeremy.
16 reviews
October 30, 2007
Possibly the worst Koontz book I have ever read. Poor character development, meandering plot line and an utterly nonsensical religious subtext completely demolish any sense of creepy atmosphere that the author manages to successfully employ.
Profile Image for Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl.
1,079 reviews144 followers
March 12, 2017
A few minutes past one O'clock in the morning, a hard rain fell without warning. - opening sentence of THE TAKING.

My favorite character in The Taking is a doll which just cracks me up :-) I also like the T.S. Eliot quotes shared throughout the story and Koontz finishes The Taking in a very beautiful & thought-provoking manner, giving the reader a feeling of hope.

There are multiple Koontzisms to be found in The Taking, including the mentioning of key phrases & Koontz titles.
April 2, 2023
If you have followed my reviews over the last few years, you will know I have a hit a miss relationship with Dean Koontz. There are the books that are barely readable, the ones that I love and there are ones like this one, that are just ok. This book didn't feel like anything special but it was still enjoyable.

I think as a genre Horror/Sc-Fiction might not be my favourite, I find it difficult to fear the extra-terrestrial for some reason. It takes Dean Kootnz all of 24 pages to get weird and gross in this book. I do enjoy Dean Koontz's writing for the majority but it can drag on a little. The suspense in this one was built pretty well, the main character was however dull. I don't think there was any character development or any kind of depth.

Some of the body horror in this was well done, the plot line I think would be scary for some people but it just wasn't for me. The short chapters kept me reading and it was very fast-paced for the most part. I feel like if I was an author I would be tempted to have at least one dog in every book, which we all know Dean Koontz loves to do. Dean Koontz always try's to make the dogs a part of the plot, and like many other books it felt very forced.

This book kind of ended abruptly with no real clarification or resolution that made sense but overall it was decent.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews315 followers
June 5, 2013
**Some mild spoilers**

Well, I don't want to give too much away as a book such as this relies heavily upon suspense. Simply put, it was okay. The basic premise: it begins raining one night, but this is no ordinary rain--it's one bad mamma-jamma: torrential, luminous, and occurring at precisely the exact same time all over the world. Defense satellites are out of commission, strange alien creatures run amok, and people begin to go insane. And that's all before the crap really hits the proverbial fan.

Now the other thing about books such as this is that the most obvious explanation for whatever creepiness is going down is beaten like a dead horse to the point that you know it can't possibly be that explanation. Instead, you have to pay attention to the theory that's being ruled out as a possibility, yet mentioned peripherally and in often subtle ways throughout the book. Therein lies the problem with The Taking--the clues weren't subtle enough and I pretty much had it all figured out from the very first one (seriously, can you mention "Legion" and not be obvious?) I desperately hoped that Koontz was going to throw in a plot twist so craftily, well, crafted before the end that I would have to cede the victory to him ("Well played, Dean," I imagined myself saying by the book's end, "but you shant cozen me next time with your verbal trickery.") Instead, all I can say is, "Better luck next time, and play your cards a little closer to the vest--don't name the freakin' dog Virgil."

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder
Profile Image for Melinda The Opinionated Crackpot.
493 reviews11 followers
May 6, 2019
That's it. My last Dean Koontz. Koontz, like Stephen King, wrote some truly good books. Scary, thrilling, page-turners that had great plots and likeable, believeable, and horrible characters. Many of Dean Koontz's books had noble themes, and endings that gave one a sense of justice and purpose after the chaos of the story. Stephen King has written undisputable horror classics. Then, both Stephen and Dean began to write hundreds of books. Hundreds. Cha-ching. And did it affect the quality? Yes, it did. I just must be a slow learner, because until today, I just kept buying them. Some people may not agree with me, but then some people can read one Harlequin Romance after another for years and never get bored with them. Like a drug, you just want to relive the experience of reading that first wonderful book again. I'll never forget those first characters I couldn't get enough of, and how I fell in love with the noble, intelligent dogs, as in Watchers. But book after book, will never match the thrill of the first one. In the 80's, every great movie had at least one crappy sequel. Today we seem to be doing the same thing with books. Well, I, for one am going to swear off sequels from now on.
Profile Image for Ethan.
216 reviews236 followers
February 16, 2023
Is it possible that there are no coincidences?

- Mel Gibson as Graham Hess, from M. Night Shyamalan's film Signs (2002)

All of her life, however, Molly had believed that there were no coincidences.

- Dean Koontz, The Taking (2004)

Yes, Dean Koontz's 2004 novel The Taking is a pretty blatant ripoff of M. Night Shyamalan's excellent 2002 film Signs, having near-exact quotes, like the one above, from the film, as well as individual scenes, like the one from the film where the wife is dying with Mel Gibson nearby, and as she's dying she says something that seems nonsensical at the time but that years later turns out to have significance and relevance in future events. This happens in The Taking as well, except it's a kid dying in another kid's arms that utters the prophetic phrase, and of course Koontz changed what it was, and etc. The nature of the aliens are also identical in both works, with the aliens not doing a direct invasion involving millions of aliens and ground combat, but merely hiding in the shadows and infiltrating our planet in small numbers, more felt and sensed by the people around than ever seen directly.

So, what was good about The Taking? Well, the short chapters and the book being broken down into seven parts were welcome structural changes from the agonizingly-long chapters of 30-40 pages that I've encountered in most other Koontz books I've read to this point. So I really appreciated that change by Koontz; it made this longer entry of his an easier book to read. I also liked how the book started out. It had a pervading sense of dread that was pretty effective, and there was one particularly tense and terrifying confrontation between one of the protagonists (Molly) and her father that affected me quite a bit! I was unsettled by it, even after I had stopped reading and put the book down that day.

But that's about it. On to the bad things about this book, which unfortunately there are plenty of.

The book is just way too long, plain and simple. It drags like you would not believe, and at least a hundred pages (probably more) of it is just superfluous filler/padding. The book itself highlights how overwritten it is when, on page 347, Molly looks at her wristwatch and reflects on how she first saw the alien rain just ten hours earlier. Yes...this book took 347 pages to advance the story just ten hours of a single day. That's crazy.

The scene with Molly on the tavern stairs leading to the basement and cellar, which started on page 313, is a good example of how badly this book drags. She didn't leave the stairs until page 330. So you're talking about a scene where Molly is just standing on the stairs for almost twenty pages. It felt like it took an eternity to get through those pages. I wish I could say that was the only such example, but unfortunately Koontz's books are absolutely littered with such scenes. Like in The Mask, where I swear to God there was a scene of like ten or fifteen pages where a guy was just climbing up onto his roof to make sure his TV antenna was securely attached because he thought it was loose and was making noise...


Another thing I hated was how much of a missed opportunity this book was. Most of the book was taken up by Molly's dull quest to save the town of Black Lake's few children, which, given Koontz's constant telling to the reader how godly powerful the alien invaders are (they can move through walls and even cement, and are immune to gunfire), seems like the most pointless task ever (because they're obviously just going to die like everyone else? so why bother?). It just seemed to me like in a 410-page novel about an alien invasion and the world being on the brink of complete annihilation that the story could have focused on something a bit more exciting than this.

To this point, on page 170, an epic villain, Molly's father Michael Render, confronts Molly, and the aforementioned bone-chilling scene involving him plays out, with his backstory also being described. But then he completely disappears from the story? And I mean completely...until page 381, just under thirty pages before the end of the book. And how things ended with him was just lame, and felt rushed. This book should have been written as a Molly vs. Michael Render cat-and-mouse, maybe survival horror type of story, maybe mixed in with some scenes of locals getting into shootouts with alien scouting parties; that would have been sooo good. But we got the story we got, and Michael Render was completely wasted, great villain that he was.

There were also too many types of aliens in this story. Red, winged flying ones with long claws, strange ones made out of collections of white sacs that inflate and deflate and that scurry around, giant insects the size of an entire basement, strange humanoid ETs that have two arms and two legs but an otherwise alien appearance, and so on and so forth. It lacked focus, and it seemed like Koontz was just throwing everything and the kitchen sink into the story.

This also happened when the UFO was finally revealed. It was pure nonsense. Koontz couldn't figure out what he wanted it to look like, to differentiate it from the countless Hollywood alien invasion movies, so he made it look like everything he could possibly think of in his mind, making it sound ridiculous and unrealistic. Millions of people's faces are in the sides of it, there are spikes on some parts of it, scales on other parts of it. It sounds like a figure from a surrealist painting by Salvador Dali...except not good, like Dali. More...dumb? Laughable? Yeah. Both of those.

And so many things were left unexplained by the end of this book, including some pretty big parts of the story. Like how the hell did the dogs have the ability to open doors with their minds? Do they have magical powers? Are they possessed by the aliens or by some religious entity? And what was their purpose in helping Molly find and protect the children for pretty much this entire book? Why did they do it? The dogs were a huge part of this story, and their nature and motives were left largely unexplained by the end of this book. Nevermind the fact that the reasoning behind everything the aliens ever do in this book, an even more critical part of the story, is never explained either. These holes make the book seem really incomplete, and I was very disappointed in the overall experience as a result.

Finally, the story has a heavily religious ending that essentially ruins the entire book and directly insults science and astrophysics. Koontz says that astrophysicists "tell us" that black holes are "most likely doorways between universes", which is patently false. Maybe in Koontz's extremely broken interpretation of modern science they say that, but not in the real world. What an unbelievably idiotic thing to say. I mean...I don't even know what to say to that. It might be the single stupidest thing I've ever read in a book, ever.

In the end, Signs did it better. So much better. If you haven't seen that movie and you're even remotely into alien invasion stories, you're missing out in a big way, and I highly recommend checking that movie out. The Taking, though? Not so much. It was pretty bad.

CAWPILE rating:

Characters: 6.5
Atmosphere / Setting: 3.5
Writing Style: 4.5
Plot: 3.5
Intrigue: 4.5
Logic / Relationships: 2.0
Enjoyment: 4.0

= 28.5 total
÷ 7 categories = 4.07 out of 10
= 2 stars
Profile Image for Jaice Cooperrider.
6 reviews20 followers
April 29, 2010
This is easily one of Koontz's "scariest" novels, in that it is packed full of dark suspense. In that regard, it is along the lines of Winter Moon and Phantoms (two of my other Koontz favorites). The action in the book picks up very early, which is unlike many of his novels, and continues to the very end. Overall, I thought it was a very enjoyable read and I would highly recommend it, as it is one of my favorite books of his that I have read so far.


My major qualm with the book lies in its religious theme, which we discover at the end (there is a pervasive religious undertone throughout the book, however, which is very common for Koontz and is one of the ways that his writing annoys me). The book begins suggesting an invasion of Earth by malevolent aliens, but certain supernatural events throughout the book call that hypothesis into question. At the end, the primary antagonist comes to the conclusion that the events were those of the "traditional" Christian rapture, with some humans going to Hell, others to Heaven, and still others remain on Earth to live out their lives in the new world. Of course, we are expected to take the protagonist's conclusions as gospel, no matter how far-fetched they might be, given the known facts presented thus far in the book (this is another very common aspect of Koontz's writing that annoys me). There is also a fairly confusing side story regarding the primary protagonist's evil father that seemed to add nothing to the plot of the novel, but did serve to flesh out the primary protagonist's character more, so that she seemed more real and we could sympathize more with her. Plus, Koontz just can't resist including a psycho killer in his novels. ;-)

*This review is dedicated to my goodreads friend, Becky, who inspired me to write this review and perhaps others in the future.
Profile Image for Sarah.
732 reviews73 followers
October 15, 2016
Still the most terrifying book I've ever read :D This is one of my top four favorite Koontz books and I've read it many times. This is a book that makes me want to hide under something since putting it in the freezer is seriously insufficient. It's the kind of book that makes me wan to read it out of the corner of my eye (which doesn't actually work) and jump right out of my skin at the slightest noise. Surprisingly, it didn't make me totally paranoid about the basement.

I had a friend with a phobia of spores and I told her to make sure to never read this book because there are some seriously spine-chilling spores of an infinite variety. It's creepy as hell.

The protagonist in this one is a woman named Molly, who like many of Koontz's protagonists, was a part of terrible events as a child. Because of these events Molly has a great deal of hope and in difficult circumstances this hope is the most essential part of who Molly is. As the world is reverse terraformed for the invaders and alien species are introduced, especially the many variety of spores, it's only the hopeful who have a chance of surviving.

Also like many of Koontz's later books, mysterious dogs, and eventually cats, play an integral part in the story. It's also one of the books that shows his Jesuit beliefs the most strongly. Sometimes this bothers me but in this case it didn't. T.S. Eliot is also very frequently quoted. Koontz often quotes Eliot but in this case the quotes are a part of the story.

After I finished this I found myself pondering how I even survived my first read of this book without having a heart attack. Now I know what's coming, which basically makes the terror slightly more diluted but longer lasting, but back then I didn't have that advantage! And it's a freaking terrifying book!
Profile Image for Barbara.
18 reviews7 followers
July 16, 2008
I forgot to take a book on vacation, and ended up having to walk down to a garage sale and take what they had. I've enjoyed some of Koonz's books, so I picked this one. The first couple chapters showed a lot of promise - a lot. After that, every move made by the characters required excrutiating explanation and superhuman leaps of logic. By the middle of the book, I was bored, but stayed until the end because I wanted to see how they supposedly solved the issue. It really wasn't worth the effort.
Profile Image for Craig.
4,994 reviews118 followers
December 4, 2021
The Taking is a fun mishmash of a book incorporating elements of horror, science fiction, intrigue/suspense, survivalist/men's adventure, and concluding with what seems to be a decidedly religious message. It doesn't succeed in any particular category particularly well, but it's a fun ride and keeps you wondering what will pop out of the pages next. I thought Molly was an intelligently drawn character, and some of the passages are especially well crafted.
Profile Image for Devin.
32 reviews3 followers
August 21, 2008
I'm torn on what rating to give this book. On one hand, I found the premise engaging, the pacing perfect (for the most part), the underlying concept interesting, and the horror very well executed. On the other hand, the ending felt a little bit rushed to me, and there were one or two details that I felt came across as a little too leading.

I can also see why the story may have a polarizing effect on its readers; I quite liked it, but I see why some won't (I don't count that as a point against the story, mind you).

In the end, however, it is a book that I would recommend to fellow fans of horror. I finished it in two evenings of reading (at about four hours each sitting, I think); it's a very compelling story, and Koontz knows how to build tension, horror, and shock, and how to end every brief chapter with a hook that makes you want to keep reading.

As a final note, I was pleased to see that this story is set in my home region of the San Bernardino Mountains. Though the town of Black Lake is fictional, it was very easy for me to see the majority of the story taking place in my hometown of Crestline.

This was my first book by Koontz, but it definitely won't be my last.
Profile Image for Felina.
166 reviews47 followers
March 9, 2020
"An extraterrestrial species hundreds or thousands of years more advanced than us, would posses technology that would appear to us to be not the result of applied science but entirely supernatural, pure magic."

This is my first Koontz book which might explain my high rating of it compared with the reviews I saw for it.

I can see how this book would be unappealing to a lot of people. It has a religious tone to it that could be off putting to some but that I enjoyed very much. Although absolutely nowhere near what I believe regarding the flood or the end of the world as far as god-induced apocalypses are concerned (I still think I'm going to be offed by zombies) I thought it was very clever plot twisting entertainment. And thoroughly thought provoking.

This book combines & explores several classic science fiction themes...not to mention that at a lot of points its down right terrifying.

I recommend this book to anybody who fancy's themselves religious and likes to explore their beliefs from interesting angles. But for you religiosos who pick this one up be warned: This book, very much like religion, really shouldn't be taken very seriously. Meaning...its just a book don't get to uptight.
Profile Image for Pam Baddeley.
Author 2 books45 followers
October 2, 2019
Many years ago I read and enjoyed several of this author's books although I can't recall much about them now. So it was with a pleasant anticipation that I picked up this book and at first I found it interesting and creepy.

Molly wakes in the middle of the night due to very heavy rain that has not managed to wake her husband, and she goes downstairs. She sees that the rain is luminous and it has driven a lot of coyotes onto her porch. The animals look terrified of something out in the rain which she can sense as a forbidding presence, and she has a mystical experience with them, feeling a sense of union. Then they run off and she goes upstairs where her husband is having a nightmare about something huge descending from the skies. After he wakes up, they both see a reflection in the bedroom mirror showing the room as if the house has been abandoned for years and has odd vegetation growing in it - and a suggestion of something moving around. And after that, TV and telephone communication is gradually cut off, but not before they have seen evidence that the rainfall is world wide and that monsters are taking over.

So far, so creepy. And yet I found a problem almost from the start because there was loads of infodumping, even in the opening pages. Molly has a history - something awful happened to her when she was eight years old and a few years later her beloved mother died of cancer. Her mother was a writer, whose work is already out of print, and she, an author herself, is concerned that the same will happen to hers. And her husband is the best thing that has ever happened in her life - they have a totally empathic relationship. Unfortunately, none of that is dripfed into the scenes between the characters, or conveyed with their dialogue etc. There is throughout the book a tendency to headhop between characters and to have paragraphs of information giving their back story, but it is especially noticeable at the beginning and gets in the way of the menace the writer is trying to create.

There were resonances in this book with others I've read: the strange 'vegetation' which begins to appear is an obvious harkening back to 'The War of the Worlds' and its red weed, and that book/film is name checked more than once. The beginning also reminded me of Stephen King's 'The Mist'. Some images are genuinely creepy, such as the animated doll and the sense of something vast moving above and resonating rather than being heard, in people's bones and blood. Yet there do seem to be rather a lot of hobbyhorses being ridden, including liberal treatment of prisoners, bad parenting, whether climate change is real (the book was published in 2004) and others.

Most adult characters in the book, apart from Molly and her husband, are nasty, and if they are not, have a very short life expectancy (apart from people we don't actually 'meet' although they are performing the same child-rescue role that Molly and Neil take on). Molly's child/teacher-killing father turns up. Some supposed friends or neighbours are literally possessed by the alien force and turn out to be enemies. Multiple types of creature - insectoid, reptillian, simian, fungoid - are spawning everywhere and threatening humanity. Dead bodies are bizarrely reanimated. The whole tone of the book is extremely downbeat and with the huge power of the invading force and its permutation into the whole ecosystem, did seem to be an 'extinction of all life on earth' story for much of the book.

Against that are the preternaturally understanding dogs who help the couple rescue children, and the twist that something which seemed hostile apparently wasn't . And Molly's ability to hold onto hope as a result of her childhood experiences.

The problem, or one of the main ones I found, was that Molly as a character is incredibly bland. Her husband is also Mr Perfect. So to hang the whole book on them is problematic. And the changed premise revealed at the end made the whole thing come crashing down like a house of cards, although I had found it increasingly less like an alien invasion and more like .

I didn't find it realistic that the children were all good either. Having all the surviving adults at the end being useful and skilled such as doctors, carpenters, engineers and so on was rather convenient as was . For me the book jumped ship from one genre to something so completely "out there" it ceased to have all credibility. For that reason I can only award a 1-star rating.
Profile Image for Corey Woodcock.
199 reviews29 followers
November 11, 2021
Retrospective Review

This book is a perfect example of the best and absolute worst of Dean Koontz’s style. One of the last Koontz books I’ve read. It was on the recommendation of a friend so I know this book does indeed have its fans.

This book starts off very good, and very promising; I read this book years ago and still remember the beginning very vividly. In fact, the first few chapters are solely responsible for why I’m giving this book 2 stars instead of one. It starts off gripping, with great imagery. But for this reader, that didn’t last long. It quickly turns into a meandering mess, tries to be way too many things and essentially accomplishes none of those things. And the dog, oh sweet God Almighty the DOG!!! Recommending this one mainly for Koontz completists or people who like heroic dog stories and nonsensical plots. Ultimately, a real stinker from ol’ Deaner.

Profile Image for Bill Riggs.
424 reviews6 followers
May 24, 2023
The first half is creepy as hell. It’ll have you jumping at the creaks and groans you hear in your house. The second half sucks you into the mystery going on, wondering what is going to happen next and why?
A scary and very suspenseful read!
Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Lea.
56 reviews20 followers
February 15, 2013
I rate this a four because it kept my attention and didn’t bore me, though there were times I did have to put the book down because of the creep factor with reading it mostly at night.

I have come to acknowledge that all of Dean Koontz books are weird and his imagination can be sometimes scary. This book was quite good…and definitely had the creep factor, from inanimate objects such as dolls moving on their own accord, and talking to creatures with the many faces of their prey in its hands. The fungi that grows and becomes mobile and mimics that of mourning women and men, to huge wormlike, insectile creatures that grow in basements of churches. Corpses have been dead for years reanimating, not in a zombie like sense but something worse. The world is being terraformed by some extraterrestrial beings from a far off planet. This book is really out there but you also never know if something like this could really happen.

This book follows Molly, a writer and Neil a failed priest. The luminescent rain starts and everything goes to shit from there. Massive flooding all over the world. Huge waterspouts developing in the middle of the oceans reaching as big as 3 ½ miles wide, which turn out to be the water that is raining down on Earth. Turns out the water is also laced with seeds of the plant life from whatever planet these ETs are from. Scary stuff I tell ya.

Molly and Neil stay in their house for as long as possible before deciding to go out and find other survivors of the storm. They go to their neighbors house but find that he is already dead, but his reanimated brainless(he committed suicide) corpse is still talking, spouting T.S. Eliot to Molly. They flee and wind up at the local pub with a bunch of other survivors. While in the pub Molly and Neil decide along with a german shepherd named Virgil that they are going to go around saving all the children from the horrors of the night.

They encounter a lot of horrible things while on their mission but the book ends on a light note, though I though the ending was kind of bleh. It just ended all the weird fungi, the rain, the huge ships in the sky, all gone in a matter of hours and all the dead have disappeared too. All these kids are left orphans and the world’s population is pretty much depleted. But the book ends on a happy note, you will just have to read to find out what happens.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
January 17, 2012
Another more recent book by Mr. Koontz. I enjoyed this book. It's one of those reads that kept bringing up in my mind what the writer was thinking. The what was in in his mind, where's he coming from thought process followed me through this book. It's one of those reads that makes me regret how much I don't like the last several books by Mr. Koontz. This one I enjoy and found very interesting.

This is a "sort of" end of the world read or maybe "end of current world/society" read. This one has a more paranormal even spiritual take on things than some others. While it plows the same soil as The Stand or Swam Song it uses a far different vehicle to bring "the end" about. You won't run on a plague here nor a war in the standard sense of the word.

The action here is of a somewhat unusual sort, but it kicks in and doesn't stumble. We get to know the characters. While Koontz may not be the world's greatest constructor of characters he can build reliable participants in a story. These are just that and they don't flag or become something they didn't start out to be. Also while some don't like the way the story went (and seem to be bothered by the author's world view) I find it well done and interesting. I may not completely agree, but I think he spelled things out rather coherently.

I've seen a lot of differing opinions on this one. It seems to me that most readers are lining up on the love it or hate it side of things. I'm very close to the love it side, not totally, but close. I like it a lot.

This one I recommend.
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,576 reviews1,882 followers
September 10, 2014
Starts off with the thinking that aliens are taking over the world, but it ends up more like a Noah's Ark premise. Great twist at the end.
Profile Image for Fatman.
117 reviews53 followers
January 3, 2019
Aliens take over earth. Except they don't. Author uses characters as mouthpieces for disjointed thought processes. Magical thinking saves day.
Profile Image for Drebbles.
611 reviews8 followers
October 7, 2009
"The Taking" is Dean Koontz's version of the end of the world. It focuses on a young couple, Molly and Neil Sloan, who wake up early one morning to a strange rainfall. Turning on their television, they soon realize that the whole world is under attack and they head into town to find other survivors. Along the way they encounter zombies, unnaturally large bugs, other unknown creatures lurking in trees, dolls that self-mutilate, UFO's, and a fungus that threatens to overtake everything. Molly determines that she was left alive to protect the surviving children, so she and Neil, along with the help of a dog that seems almost human, set out to find the children and start a new world, if they survive.

"The Taking" is the written equivalent of a B movie - you know it's really bad, but you can't stop reading it. Koontz focuses on one character - Molly - and consequently the other characters, including Neil, are nonentities and readers don't care what happens to them. It's hard to feel sympathetic for characters that are killed because you know nothing about them. And Molly herself is a one-dimensional character.

The reason the characters are so one-dimensional is Koontz's writing. He spends too much time telling readers what is going on instead of showing them. A perfect example is what happened between Molly and her father when she was eight years old. Instead of bringing readers into the classroom with Molly and her father (which would have been a terrific way to open the book) Koontz tells readers what happened halfway through the book, in alternate paragraphs, as Molly encounters her father as an adult. The scene where Molly and Neil listen to the astronauts being attacked in space should have been especially frightening, the reader should have been able to imagine the horrors along with Molly and Neil but it just didn't work.

Finally, Koontz didn't seem to know how to end the book. The last few pages seem rushed. The aliens simply leave and he glosses over the setting up of a new civilization by having all the corpses mysteriously disappear and mentioning that there was enough canned food to last for years. Conveniently enough, all the survivors were in useful professions - doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, architects, carpenters and mechanics - all chosen for their talent. No policemen or firefighters are mentioned - Koontz seems to have created a perfect world.

The description on the back of the book made the book sound really interesting, but the description was the best part of the book.
Profile Image for Nicholas Beck.
Author 1 book37 followers
March 27, 2011
Dean Koontz shows his tremendous writing ability throughout this book. The first time I read this book, all I was concerned about was what was happening in this apocalyptic story, but reading it this time I was able to concentrate on how incredible the writing is throughout this book. Dean Koontz excels in this genre between thriller and horror with expertise and dramatic plot surprises. This is another one of Koontz' many books which are nearly impossible to put down until you have finished reading.

The story starts with Molly being awaken in the night of the night by a torrential downpour. Dean quickly advances the story as Molly and her husband, Neil, begin to figure out what is happening to their small town named Black Lake. After some strange things happen in their home, they decided that the happenings are probably alien invaders from another world bent on total annihilation. They are sent on a journey through suffering, destruction, and death all over the town. Despite the terrible circumstances, Molly and Neil remain hopeful that they might make it through this experience.

This is a must read to any fan of Koontz. And in my opinion, this was one of his best stand-alone stories of the more recent years.
Profile Image for Jennifer Snarr.
27 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2013
It has been many years since I have read anything by Koontz. I do not remember being as irritated by his writing style as I was by this book. It reminds me of a child learning a curse word for the first time and over-using it to make himself seem more mature... but is is precisely the overuse of the word that demonstrates just how immature the child is. His intriguing concept was butchered into short staccato pieces by his overuse of obscure vocabulary. It was distracting and I found myself so annoyed by how hard Koontz was trying to impress with his vast vocabulary that I would sometimes lose focus from the plot. I fought MANY urges to stop reading this book because I did feel invested in the characters. However, although I felt that the story was satisfactorily resolved, I honestly felt that the moral judgement contained in the final few pages was even further over the top than the language. It had an, "I've-got-the-answer-to-all-life's-questions" feel to it and I promptly made a note to myself not to buy any more Koontz.
Profile Image for RunRachelRun.
291 reviews6 followers
April 9, 2011
I'm not sure what "shelf" to put this book on. I grabbed it from our employee lending library this week out of desperation. I think I need to create a "Yuck" or "Eeep... gross!" or "Scenes will reappear in a nightmare sometime in the very near future". ''

You know, fellow readers, you really have to be careful of what you put in your head. It's like that book "Event Horizon" that I also borrowed from work. I'll start reading a passage and realize that this is not at all stuff, images, that you want to have in your brain forever more, and I'll skip to the next page. Maybe it's from reading all those vampire books when I was twelve which now means I have to sleep with a comforter stuffed around my neck. Even if it's summer. In Atlanta.... This is what becomes of an omnivore reader who just can't help reading. Everything.

Anyway, this book was weird, yucky, eeep gross and will come back to wake me up in the middle of the night. Thanks, Dean, thanks so much.
Profile Image for Amar.
391 reviews
August 14, 2021
Deus ex machina ili alien invasion ...ili jedno protiv drugog.Who will win ? Yeaaah...
Šalu na stranu ... Odlično je počelo , napeto i stvarno me zanimalo šta se kojeg vraga dešava . ALI poslije... ne znam , imam osjećaj da je ovo bilo za kratku priču , a ne za roman .
Sva ta kvazirazjašnjena su mi nekako bila mlaka i ništa što bi se reklo epic , nego pomalo smiješna...

Šta ja znam , nije bilo ni dobro , ali ni toliko loše , pa ću u ovom slučaju koristit GR rejting , it was ok . Moglo je puno bolje.
I bilo je just ok.
Profile Image for Иван Величков.
950 reviews62 followers
April 5, 2020
Това вече е съвсем друга бира и разбирам защо почитателите на Кунц толкова бясно я отхвърлят.
Хаотична, кошмарна, граничеща със съновидение атмосфера. Аморфни образи и лудост. Пълен кеф.
Моли е писателка с дълбока травма в детството. Тя и съпругът ѝ - отказал се от религията свещеник се озовават главни действащи лица в катаклизъм причинен от извънземно нашествие.
Всичко започва с един дъжд, обещаващ да се превърне в потоп и странна лудост която обзема хората изложени на него. Скоро нещата отиват подяволите с пълзящи гъби, крадящи човешки лица, разхождащи се излезли от гроба мъртъвци, гладни къщи, вещаещи прокоба кукли и какви ли още не плодове на болното авторово въображение.
Въпреки че изглежда сякаш високотехнологична извънземна раса е започнала детераформиране на Земята и превръщането ѝ в абсолютно неподходящ за хората ад, няма как двамата да не си зададат въпроса "За какъв чеп им е на хипермощните извънземни да тормозят хората със сцени сякаш излезли из под перото на Данте?"
Та вместо да се отдадат на отчаянието, нашите хора решават да направят поне малкото на което са способни - да спасят децата задръстени в този кошмар.
За абсолютно първи път докато четях успях да забравя, че Кунц винаги има положителен финал. Защо повечето му книги не са такива по дяволите?
А, това, че образите на героите в тази книга не са изградени е пълна простотия. Хора, вие други книги чели ли сте му?
P.S. Обръщането на онази "култова" фраза на Кларк за напредналата технология и магията ми докара полуерекция направо.
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,517 reviews456 followers
May 2, 2013
Leave it up to the literary equivalent of Wonderbread that Koontz is to mess up even something as fun an an alien invasion story. Actually I don't know if comparing him to Wonderbread might not be misleading due the word wonder in the brand name, something that is always in deficit in Koontz' work. But to pick up Koontz' book with all the great books that are out there would be like passing by a freshly baked baguette for a loaf of Wonderbread and for the sake of this analogy let's assume the price of no importance. So, this was an audio book I picked up forever ago and slowly walked and biked my way through over the course of many months. I figured I should get something ok, but not great so that it could provide a background entertainment, but it wouldn't matter if a blasting car horn or something bleeped out some of the lines. This book didn't even meet those low criteria levels. Koontz, never shy about pushing, shoving and cramming his limited world views upon his readers, has turned what should have been a fun alien story into basically a lecture about his religious views and capital punishment/judicial system opinions. And with his trademarks of cast of cardboard cutouts, complete lack of character development and pervasive and unnecessary oversimplifications and repetitions, this book really has nothing to offer in a way of quality or interest. He did read enough of T.S. Eliot to quote all throughout the book achieving the literary equivalent of throwing diamonds among the dirt. Can't imagine why, other than he probably doesn't see it that way. He might actually think Eliot's writing would be complimentary to his. There's obviously some delusion at work here, particularly considering how well Koontz sells. But then again, so does Wonderbread...now quite appropriately distributed by Bimbo corporation. So yeah, stupid book, don't bother, not worth the time.
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