Review: The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney // When the “What Else” Stares Back at You

the things the've taken graphic

the things they've taken

Series: The Things They’ve Taken #1

Publication: May 1st 2017 by Entangled Teen

Source: I received an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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Dolores is used to her mother searching, always looking for that greater purpose in life. Jumping from one faith to another and subsequently from one state to another has become commonplace in Lo’s life. But she’s had about as much as she can handle by the time her mother joins up with some witches in Kentucky. Lo convinces her mother to stay so she can have more of a normal life and actually make some friends. When her mother agrees, Lo decides to focus on her own life for a change instead of constantly pulling her mom back from the brink when she goes too far in her search. As the months go by, Lo’s relationship with her mother becomes more and more strained as her mother becomes more deeply involved in her new faith and Lo wants nothing to do with it. But when her mother messes with something far more dangerous than she should have and is taken by a supernatural being, Lo is pulled headfirst into the deep end in this new side of life that she never wanted to know about. After enlisting the help of a gorgeous Tracker named Shaw, Lo departs on an adventure to find her mother—and discovers just how much actually goes bump in the night.

I really wanted to love this book. It sounded really cool and I am always down for an adventure with a cute guy. But for many reasons, I just didn’t really care for this.

Firstly, I found the world building to be a bit lacking. While Shaw chooses not to share much information with Lo, it was still difficult to really grasp how big the supernatural world was and how many creatures lurk in it. The creatures we do get to meet were vividly described and, quite frankly, terrifying, but I wish I’d have been able to get a bigger picture of the world.

The characters were okay. I did like Lo, especially her sense of humor. Her sarcasm and jabs added a lot of color to the dialogue and made the book more fun to read. Her determination and bravery were proved over and over again in the book and I like that she chose not to adopt the victim persona. Shaw, however, was hard to get on with for me. He has no personality. He never jokes, never laughs or smiles, and barely speaks. Shaw’s dialogue is probably under 200 words if we’re going to be honest here. I like that he did finally open up a bit about his past and how he became a Tracker, but instead of seeing him as the tragic, brooding hero, I just saw him as a flat, boring character. (I would totally steal his dog though.)

Which brings me to the fact that the main characters had no chemistry. I am totally down for the “I’m just drawn to you and I’m not quite sure why” trope. I normally don’t mind insta-love honestly. But this isn’t really even insta-love, it’s just unbelievable love. Shaw barely speaks. Lo never talks about feeling a connection to him at all, let alone on a deeper level. She basically falls all over Shaw because he is pretty. There are so many awkward encounters between them that I just couldn’t buy in to the progression of their relationship.

Lastly, I felt the book was just too predictable. It’s not stated but this book is obviously the first part in a trilogy. With how slow the plot progression was, I knew we weren’t going to get a real ending to the book and we didn’t. From the first occasion of Shaw disappearing to do things on his own, I knew where the plot twist was going to go. Honestly, this is just a story that I’ve read a dozen times before with different characters. If the romance had been amazing, I may have rated this higher in stars but even that was lacking for me. If you are a very forgiving reader who likes the adventure aspect more than the world building or characters, this may be a book you want to pick up. But it’s not a series that I will personally continue when the second book is released.


What do YOU think? Would you hire someone to help you rescue a family member? Have you jumped from faith to faith, looking for the “what else”? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.


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