I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Taken by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published by HarperTeen on April 16th, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
Taken can best be described as The Hunger Games meets The Maze Runner. I know it’s typical to compare any dystopian novel to The Hunger Games, but reading this one really gave me the same kind of vibe (maybe not so much as the first book, but the overall series for sure). Well, I obviously love The Hunger Games, yet I eventually gave up on The Maze Runner (the series). Aptly, my feelings for Taken lie somewhere in the middle.
The plot is Taken‘s saving grace. Super intriguing. And action-packed. Most of the novel consists of a pattern of action-revelations-twist. It may have been a bit much, and certain sections clearly could have used more development, however, the story really kept me on the edge of my seat, with questions I was dying to have answered.
The world building, however, could have been improved. In fact, most of the world building is done in info dumps in these revelations sections I mentioned. I wish that was better integrated in the story. I wish it were more showing, not telling. And I wish some of it would just make sense – like, that music is banned in the dystopic society. I’m sorry, what? How does that fit into the mentality of the regime? I just don’t get it. It seems like there are a lot of banned things and rules that aren’t fully developed into a way of thinking that explains the regime. Ultimately, that’s what I hope to glean from dystopian novels. (But hey, maybe that’ll be explained in the sequels.)
So. There’s instalove. I know, you’re all *headdesk*ing right now. And let me make it even better for you guys, because I feel like there were TWO cases of instalove, which coincided so beautifully to make a love triangle. Okay, one of the angles, Bree, is less instalove-y than the other, Emma, (and thus I liked her better) but both are understandably frustrating. To make it worse, I felt like the romance was completely detracting from the story – because that interested me! Quite a lot, actually! But I kept getting reminded about how much Gray was in love with Emma. At almost every interlude. Dude. Shut up already. You’re a guy. Grow some balls. Or something.
So speaking of Gray… I don’t really get him. He’s a bit of a static main character. I can note no real character growth and also no real defining character traits. Wait, let me revise that, he’s impulsive and love sick. I guess, since it’s such a rarity, I was just expecting more from a male main character. But especially with the way he was so love sick, I just didn’t buy into him being male… I mean. Jess?
In my eyes, the story would have been way more enjoyable if (a) Gray had some balls, or (b) the story was told from Bree’s point of view. She, at least, had some spunk, and was probably my favorite character of the book.
No cliffhanger ending. At least we got that much. I really liked the way the story was tied up – it was a clear and clean arc, but still gave enough away to make me anticipate the sequel. I just want to know more about this world.