by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Publication date: April 16, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
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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?
I featured Taken
on a Waiting on Wednesday post when I stumbled across it and was intrigued by
the synopsis. I really enjoy dystopian novels and was curious about the world Bowman
had created. While not without flaws, as Bowman’s debut novel
I was thoroughly entertained and slipped easily into the world she created.
The tale begins in Claysoot, a primitive town enclosed by a wall. Anyone attempting to leave over the wall dies. There are no men in Claysoot because of what they call the “Heist”.
At midnight on their eighteenth birthday the ground shakes, the wind howls and
a blinding light appears and the boy is gone. Gray Weathersby has recently lost
his brother to the heist and is left alone. He finds part of a letter addressed to his brother by their deceased mother and it makes him begin to question everything. The tale that
unfolds was clever, reminiscent of the movie The Village and an intriguing
start to a new trilogy.
Most of the tale is told from Gray’s perspective and while I
did not always connect with him I did admire his willingness to question,
research and explore. He is loyal,
hot-headed and too often makes decisions based on his feelings. At his core he
has admirable traits but I am still looking for growth and further development. Emma is his love interest in Claysoot. She began as a strong character but quickly fizzled for me. I didn't completely feel their connection so when the dreaded love triangle was
introduced I was happy for a change. *gasps* Bree is a strong, confident character and
at times she overshadows the protagonist. I was immediately drawn to her as she tends to see the whole picture and is rational in her approach. Frank made me uncomfortable
from the beginning; he was overly nice and way too talkative. We meet many characters along the way, some memorable and some quickly
From the beginning I questioned how boys were heisted, what
lived beyond the walls and how Claysoot came to be. Bowman did a wonderful job
of creating a believable world and her explanations made the tale feel genuine.
I had some issues with the little details, not for the world itself, but in the characters
reaction to it. For example, Gray lives in a world where there is no
electricity and suddenly he is thrust into a world with cars, lights, and technology
and he doesn't question it or fear it? The only thing he questioned was a gun. Bowman does explain how the original residents of Claysoot appeared and had memories of tools, farming etc but none of their families. This
would have worked had Gray been an original but he was conceived in Claysoot leaving me flustered. Ironically, despite this
I still found the world, factions and back-history fascinating. There were a
lot of different threads, and some clever twists but I want to see things
tightened up. Overall this was a solid start and I am hoping to see more development
in the next book.
Taken was a good start
to an interesting dystopian and despite flaws I look forward to seeing both the
author and series develop.
Three of coffee out of five
Labels: dystopian, Erin Bowman, HarperTeen, Taken