Gravity by Melissa West

11

The basics

Title: Gravity

Author:

Series: The Taking #1

- Gravity (2012)
- Hover (2013)
- Collide (2014)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

In the future, only one rule will matter:

Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

in short

Ari lives in a world which has been gutted and stripped of majority of its living sources due to nuclear toxic waste from World War IV. In order to survive, the human species signs a treaty with the Ancients – we will allow them to live on Earth in peaceful coexistence with humans, and they in turn would terraform Earth back to health. Until their bodies get acclimated to Earth, humans will provide their bodies with antibodies through the Taking.

But now, humans are not ready to live up to the bargain, and are stalling with the Ancients, meanwhile concocting weapons that will drive the Ancients from Earth permanently.

A war is imminent, and Jackson, an Ancient, is sent to spy on Ari and find out the strategy. They discover the strategy is to release airborne neurotoxins that will kill the Ancients.

Once the neurotoxin is released, several humans, including Ari fall prey to it, because of being healed by the Ancients in the past, and being part Ancient now. Zeus, the Ancients’ leader offers sanctuary to the infected humans in Loge, but the Parliament plans to execute them. Ari, Gretchen & Lawrence break in and manage to save most of them, giving them time to be teleported to Loge.

Ari’s strength is sapped by being exposed to the neurotoxins and she collapses and is about to die, when Jackson comes out of nowhere and takes her to Loge, where she is healed.

In the end, Ari finds out that there is more to her being in Loge than meets the eye.

what went down

  • One night, Ari misplaces her Taking patch and catches a glimpse of her ancient – Jackson Locke, one of the famous kids at school who lives in the government provided accommodation at Landing Parks, and her main competition. Jackson promises to explain things to her and then disappears.
  • At school, Ari, Jackson, and Gretchen, Ari’s best friend are selected for Early Op Training. We also find out that Ari and Lawrence, President Cartier’s son, are engaged to be married. It is a political alliance, though Lawrence and Gretchen like each other.
  • Ari & Jackson are called to the Commander’s (Ari’s father) office, where Cybil, the Special Projects Assistant to the commander, is assigned to train Ari in special Commander work, with a specialisation in Ancient analysis.
  • On the way home, Ari sees Ancients attacking humans, and later on, at the Address, Zeus Castello, the Ancients’ leader walks out when questioned about the attacks. Jackson explains to Ari that the attacks are because humans are not agreeing to coexistence of the species now that the Ancients have acclimated to Earth. The Ancients’ need a new planet because the water supply in Loge is dwindling.
  • A war between the species is imminent, and Jackson asks for Ari’s help in finding out the humans’ attack strategy so that the war can be prevented.
  • Ari & the others enter first day of Op Testing, which will determine whether or not they become Engineers. Halfway through the simulation, Jackson pulls her out because of a bomb in the school. Once outside, Ari has a breakdown and Lawrence asks Jackson to heal her, which he does.
  • Ari & Jackson are growing close. Later, Ari learns that Pres Cartier is Jackson’s mother, and Lawrence & him are half brothers, which is why Lawrence knew about Jackson being an Ancient.
  • Ari, Jackson, Gretchen and another kid Marcus pass the Op Testing, and are ready for Op Training. Ari finds her senses enhanced and her strength increased. Also, her eye colour is changing and her skin is getting a glow to it.
  • At the Trinity Masquerade Ball, an annual event celebrating the rebirth of Earth after WWIV, the three eavesdrop on the leaders’ meeting and find out that they’re preparing for a siege against the Ancients, and have decided on airborne attack strategy.
  • Ari’s father, the Commander, finds out about Ari and Jackson, and throws him out of the building.
  • Ari suspects she’s becoming an Ancient. Upon confronting Jackson, he explains that he did a full healing on her the day of the bomb, and now the xylem in her body is multiplying, and she’s turning into a half breed.
  • During her session with Cybil, Ari finds out that the airborne weapon is neurotoxins, which when released in to the atmosphere will attack the xylem in the Ancients’ bodies and kill them in a matter of minutes. When she discloses the info to Jackson, he shuts her out and tells her he’ll handle it.
  • Gretchen lets the cat out of the bag when her father overhears her & Lawrence talking, and he comes to interrogate Ari. Ari finds out Jackson is Zeus Castello’s grandson, and assigned to spy on her. Jackson does not return.
  • The president gives the order to release the neurotoxin. Ancients start dying everywhere. Ari is also poisoned by the neurotoxin, but it works slowly on her body, since she is still half human. There are other humans as well who have been healed by Ancients, and are infected too.
  • The Government decides to round up the infected and execute them. Zeus offers sanctuary to the affected humans.
  • Ari’s mom gives her an experimental medicine, potent healing serum, and it works for a significant amount of time. Ari plans to break into the execution base at the airport with Law and Gretchen and save the infected people by giving them the serum, allowing them to escape to the ports which will take them to Loge.
  • Law distracts the guards while Ari and Gretchen slip in. They go to the underground chamber where the infected are kept, and distribute the vials to the infected. Ari gives her back up vial to a small girl. When they come aboveground they’re surrounded, so they run for the surrounding woods.
  • While trying to save Gretchen, Lawrence and the other infected, Ari’s serum expires, and she starts failing. Jackson arrives, and takes her away to Loge.

how did it end?

Three days later, Ari wakes up in Panacea, the hospital at Loge, where an Ancient, Emmy has helped heal her. Jackson promises she’ll see her parents again. He still remains closed off, though, and after he leaves, Emmy says that Ari has been chosen by him long ago, and so os one of them. But she means Zeus, not Jackson.

anything else?

Ancients: An alien species who live on the planet Loge. They are thousand years older than man. They helped make Earth liveable after World War IV.

The Address: A monthly televised meeting of the four worldwide leaders of America, Asia, Europe and Africa with Zeus, the Ancient leader. They discuss the Treaty of 2090, any issues and then close with a reminder of responsibility.

Latent: A rogue Ancient hiding on Earth.

Recollective Transmission: Showing someone a memory that was shown to you by the person who originally experienced it. It’s a form of mental telepathy the Ancients are capable of.

RES: Republic Employed Spy. An ancient employed by their government to spy on top officials and important individuals on Earth.

Taking: A process in which your assigned Ancient comes at midnight and Takes antibodies from your body for thirty minutes, before returning to their planet Loge.

Taking Patch: Two large oval pieces connected by a thin one inch piece of cloth that goes over the bridge of the nose. Meant to be worn during the Taking, it covers the eyes and prevents you from seeing your Ancient.

Trinity: Composed of the Engineers, Chemists and the Parliament. Engineers maintain civil order, organise food supply, and ensure the Ancients keep to the treaty. The Chemists’ job is to create efficiencies in the world. Parliament is the government, and makes all the decisions. In the Parliament, leadership passes within a single family – the Cartiers.

Unity Tree: The original entrance of the Ancients to Earth; the only port not monitored by humans.

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