Monday, May 27, 2013

Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman: review

Goodreads rating: 3.79
e-ARC, 360 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen
Series: Taken #1
Source: For review from publisher
Genre: young adult dystopian

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?

This is going to be another short review, but mostly because that synopsis only really covers the first maybe fifth of the book. As you can imagine, a book can't solely be based in a small town, and when it comes to dystopians, there's always a bigger-picture aspect involved. Let's see, what can we infer from the synopsis. Well, Claysoot is one town, and it's a small one at that. Everybody knows everybody else, and every time a male turns 18, he's Heisted. This book actually really reminds me of Defiance by C.J. Redwine, which I liked better than Taken. There's a wall around Claysoot, and whenever someone tries to escape over the wall, they're brought back charred beyond recognition. The other thing that's similar to Defiance is that the main character and the love interest escape over the wall. Now, the main difference in this part between Taken and Defiance is that our MC is Gray, a guy, and the love interest is a girl named Emily I believe (I wasn't able to look at the review copy before writing this review, as it expired, so I'm not going to remember names). In both books, there are lies being kept from the citizens. It is never explained to them why the Heist happens, only that these boys disappear and are never seen again. So the question Gray has to ask himself is: which is worse? Should he see what comes after the Heist, or should he brave the wall? In both situations, people supposedly die. But Gray finds out that it's so much more than that.

I can't even say much about the romance because, even though there turns out to be a love triangle between Emily, who Gray has been in love with forever, and another girl, but I can't tell you in what context she's in. It's very frustrating, especially since the plot was predictable once you start reading it, but I don't want to ruin anything for you if you can't see it coming. Still, this was an enjoyable read, and there were a couple things that I wasn't expecting. I honestly had no idea what the world outside of Claysoot would look like, but let's just say they're not the only walled village out there. But I actually didn't like either of the love interests. I was glad that the relationships came about differently, but I couldn't find myself relating to either of them (and I saw relating to because they were both girls and me likey my swoony boys). And Gray was annoying at time too. I've read in other reviews that it was hard to like Gray as the MC because he made some bad decisions and liked to whine sometimes, but that's just being human. Even though he was very human at times, I couldn't connect with him. Maybe it was because it was through a guys head, but there was some weird disconnect for me. I actually connected more with Gray's brother, who we get to meet before he's Heisted. In Claysoot, everyone liked Gray's brother more than him, which made Gray himself a believable character. Still there was disconnect. With this one, all the right elements were there, but it just didn't deliver.

Young adult readers of dystopian. Even though it's basic dystopian formula, it was still exciting and really fit the bill for an action-packed dystopian series.

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