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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take Four by Karen Kingsbury

Young and popular actor Brandon Paul has lived his short life starring in movies by day and making the tabloid headlines at night. Christian movie directors Keith Ellison and Dayne Matthews of Unlocked, the next movie Brandon is starring in, have instructed him to clean up his act if he expects to star in the film. However, Brandon decides the follow their instructions for an entirely different reason: because of Bailey Flanigan, his co-star in Unlocked. However, despite the heartthrob’s obvious affections for her, Bailey wants to understand her kind yet tight-lipped boyfriend Cody. She knows something has been going on in his life, but he refuses to tell her. This only makes things more complicated for her. Meanwhile, Andi Ellison is trying to make the hard decision as to what she will do with the baby growing inside her. Should she raise the child as her own or give it up for adoption? With so many questions, how will the intertwining lives of these families affect one another?

Karen Kingsbury seems content to write the never-ending Baxter Saga for the rest of her life, but it’s time for this series to be put to rest. The Baxter family long ago became perfect, and her attempts to create another family like them have failed. There are few characters that are realistic, and she is generally running out of good ideas for this saga. It’s really time to move on.

Brandon Paul is a more ambiguous character than one may expect, even if Karen is trying to create the next Dayne Matthews through him. Keith Ellison, Dayne Matthews, and all the Baxters are dead characters with no substance. Bailey Flanigan is an situational character that Karen can use for any purpose. Cody Coleman remains to be an interesting character, but beyond him, this cast of characters is suffering for substance.

The relationship between Brandon and Bailey was a copycat of Karen’s former relationship between Katie and Dayne, but at least it had a different outcome. At least Brandon was no one’s long lost son. Yet. The situation with Andi and her baby was cheesy and convenient, however. At least the roller coaster relationship between Bailey and Cody always makes things interesting. The best thing Take Four produced was an end to this mediocre film-making series. However, Karen has already made it clear that she’s not ending the Baxter Saga, but is continuing it with Leaving, no doubt the beginning of another single-word-series. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Karen Kingsbury needs to stick with standalone novels.

Perhaps Karen will surprise us all with the beginning of this next sub-series.

2 stars

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