TAKEN by Erin Bowman
Author: Erin Bowman
Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Recommended Reading: AGE+ 15
Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Contains no spoilers[divider top=”0″]
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I love dystopian, even if the publishing industry considers the genre passé. It’s fun to read about the decline of political structures, because it sets up countless challenges and triumphs and this book doesn’t disappoint. The writing and the narrative was thought-provoking, the world designed with great imagination and the characters were dynamic. And even though the protagonist irked me out of a 5 star rating I still loved this story and can’t wait for the adventure to continue.
SYNOPSIS: 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?
THE LOWDOWN: Sometimes a genre gets played out and it becomes stale (like many New Adult books) but sometimes the concept is just so vast and there are so many amazing possibilities to build unique narratives that you yearn for more. That is how I feel about dystopian. That doesn’t mean I love all dystopia, it just means that the possibilities are near endless. So when I read the blurb about taken I was instantly interested. A story about a world where boys were heisted out of their lives to God knows where on their eighteenth birthday sounded right up my alley so I was tickled pink when the publisher gifted this gem to me.
The story was mysterious and sinister, leaving the reader to wonder where are they taking the boys and who is behind it…are they aliens…is it a conspiracy…what’s real…what isn’t? And the best part about it was that these questions were answered and you didn’t have to wait to the final page either. The pacing was fast and the story kept me on edge, salivating for the next turn of events. But before it sounds like this book is without flaw, it wasn’t.
The lead protagonist, although I loved him most of the time, made some choices that left me often wondering if I even really liked him at all. He was the guy that took chances, bet on his gut instinct and usually won, but often at the cost of those he claimed to love and I found that to be an inexcusable character flaw. He was angry and suspicious, yet loving and blind; it was an annoying contradiction that felt slightly forced. However, it wasn’t enough to deter me from liking this book.
The action was perfect and dragged me through rough terrains, unknown worlds, dodging arrows and bullets and staring down death. It had me feeling so many emotions at the same time that I was begging for more when it finally came to an end. And although it ended with a cliffhanger, I didn’t feel cheated or let down, ripping my hair out because there were so many unanswered questions. Actually, this book wraps up most of the storyline, yet opens a door to a new adventure.
FINAL SAY: If you are still a fan of the dystopian worlds created by skilled YA writers, you don’t want to miss this one. So get ready to be Taken on a wild ride.