Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Title: Taken
Series: Taken #1
Author: Erin Bowman
Published: April 2013 by HarperTeen
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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?

I received a copy of this book from the fabulous Lynne Matson as part of the NILtribe giveaway in December. I decided to read it as part of my dystopia month. That definitely seems to be a major trend in Young Adult fiction these days to imagine the most crazy and unique future. Sadly this one did not quite do it for me.

It started out very strong. There is so much mystery and intrigue as the books start. You know things are not quite right with the Heists in Claysoot and that the leaders are hiding something. But as Gray tries to discover the truth I started to lose interest. A lot of the clues were so obvious that the mystery became a little predictable. When the big payoff occured and we learned the truth it didn't seem like that unique a world or story. There were still a few shockers though and I did want to keep reading to find out what happened if for no other reason than to get validation that I had figured things out.

As far as the plot goes it was definitely action-packed. There was one exciting moment after another as the characters found themselves in life-threatening situations or very close to finding the truth. I usually like a lot of action but in this case there was too much and I could have used a little less. While this sort of plot kept things interesting it also led to some weird pacing issues. Especially in the beginning the book felt like nothing more than a series of instances or stories strung together without a segue. Each chapter was a different moment and when the chapter was over we were quickly on to the next moment. As the book went on things calmed down a little and the moments seemed to have more or a logical progression and things didn't feel quite so disconnected.

As far as the MC goes, I was not really a fan. The main character and narrator Gray was not at all likable. I often don't like main characters but I can usually get past that and empathize with their struggle. In this case I just felt like he was being exceedingly petulant. Like I get it, things are are hard out there, but there is no reason to be an outright jerk. He was also rash and reckless a trait that I usually like in my dystopian heroes but in this case it made him seem like a complete idiot. Being reckless was also his main character trait. We were constantly told that he does things without thinking and it didn't at all endear him to me as a character. Over time he did relax a little bit and started to actually realize he should do things differently. By the end of the book I didn't totally hate him.

But what I did hate is the romance. This book was lousy with insta-love. First is Emma, who were are introduced to as Gray's crush since childhood. She, like me as the reader, finds his recklessness stupid and is not into it. Then they have one converstaion and she changes her mind and is totally in love with him. I liked her as a character at first but that sudden shift made her so wishy washy and I ironically quickly changed my mind about her. Then he meets another girl who is bold and reckless just like him, Bree. Suddenly he's in love with her and doubting all her feelings about Emma. That's right an insta-love triangle.

But as problematic as the book was it had a lot of potential. I'm interested to see where the series goes. There are so many questions and theories left unanswered and I have to see how everything ends. The next book in the series Frozen came out this week and I plan to read it this weekend. With all my dislike of first books I will wait to pass complete judgement on this series until I read a little more.

I give Taken by Erin Bowman 7.5 out of 10 stars

I'm not sure I would recommend this book to people who are big dystopia fans or people who want try a little more of the genre. It's a quick and easy read so if you're looking something reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Divergent but a little less complex then check this book out.

Have you read Taken? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Nothing worse than the insta-love cliche in YA. It is so unrealistic!

    It is a shame that the MC and the romance was lousy , however the action seems to make up for it! :)

    Thanks for sharing and great review! :) xxx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries