Mar 15, 2013

Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Title: Taken
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 4.16.2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Dystopian, SciFi
Series: Taken #1
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 is a thrill-ride of a novel, blending the barren world of a dystopian with the technology of a science fiction novel. In Erin Bowman’s strong debut, she introduces us to a lovable male lead (yes, a male lead in a YA book!), a myriad of problems that come with just as many unanswered questions, and a creative, but sometimes chaotic, plot.

Gray was a pretty good narrator, for the most part. He’s a guy living with a giant countdown clock over his head. After seeing his older brother be taken in the Heist, he knows he’s next and sets off with his friend and childhood crush, Emma, to figure out the truth behind the heist. What he uncovers is shocking and rocks what he believes to the core.

Emma. Can I just say I didn’t like this girl from the beginning? Something about her always felt off to me, and I clearly know which side of this triangle I’m coming down on (totally Team Bree). She does something towards the end that I find unforgiveable and pretty much cemented my hate for her. I wasn’t a fan of her sudden insta-love for Gray. I will say that while I’m never going to be a fan of triangles, I do like that this triangle has 2 girls and 1 guy. Reverse triangle!

The first half of the book was kind of rough for me. There was just way too much going on in a short time span. I needed like another 75 pages to get more info on who was who and what was what. I like when books move along at a steady pace, but the first half of this book felt like a herd of mustangs booking it across the plains. It gave me whiplash.

Things mellowed out in the second part and it felt like Bowman really hit her stride here. A lot more was explained and the characters started to settle a bit so I could get a better feel for them. I can only imagine how hard it is to build a world from nothing, and I have nothing but praise for Bowman in that regard. The backstory that she gave to Claysoot was genius, as is using a male protagonist—a sad rarity in young adult novels. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the rest of the series.


  1. Great review, thanks for sharing with us!

  2. "Emma. Can I just say I didn’t like this girl from the beginning? Something about her always felt off to me, and I clearly know which side of this triangle I’m coming down on (totally Team Bree)."

    YES HANNAH! ME TOO! I just finished this one and struggled with Emma too. I really liked Gray, and I found the world super fascinating, but I just couldn't quite get on board with the romance at all. I loved that Gray had loved her for a while, that was a nice departure from insta love, but Emma unfortunately dug herself in a whole with me that she will never be able to climb out of. I think you can guess what action led her to that hole. *shakes fist at Emma* Still, I'm curious to see where this series goes. FABULOUS REVIEW!

  3. I need to say one thing: MALE LEAD. Love it! It's also funny that (despite the fact that it's a love-triangle again..* sigh*) there is now one guy and two guys.


  4. I've seen mixed reviews about this one, glad you know that you liked it. I'm a sucker for pretty covers and I can't help but want to read this one :)

  5. I love this cover and I have been dying to read this one, I am a huge dystopian fan and it looks really good, I just have to read this one for myself!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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