Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Title: Taken
Author: Erin Bowman
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 16, 2013
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?

My Thoughts (contains minor spoilers): Taken started off good for me. Even though I had an idea where the story was headed, I was still immediately intrigued with what the main character Gray was going through, and I really liked that the book was from the male perspective. I couldn't wait to know more about him and Emma, the girl he liked, and watch their relationship develop while they tried to solve the mystery revolving around the Heist.

Unfortunately my feelings for Taken changed drastically as the story went on. I almost wish Gray and Emma had stayed in their village Claysoot. Because once they left that's when things began to go downhill and into strange, make-no-sense territory. Their reaction to their new surrounding did not feel realistic. They seemed to accept things easily, and at the same time, they quickly figured out when someone wasn't trustworthy or when something wasn't quite right. The pacing of parts of the story did not help at all. Certain situations were rushed and resolved with what I thought was not much time or effort. There were many holes and flaws in the story that just made everything even more unbelievable for me.

Although that all bothered me a bit, it was nothing compared to how I started to feel about Gray's character and the weird direction of the romance. I liked Gray in the beginning. He seemed like a pretty good guy who only wanted to make things better for those he cared about. But as the story progressed, I found him to be such a selfish and hypocritical person. His character shift began once another love interest for him was introduced, which I felt came out of nowhere. The new love interest, Bree, was not a character I ever connected to or liked. Her relationship with Gray was a whole lot more telling than showing compared to his development with Emma in the beginning. And Gray can whine all he wants about what Emma did. At least she had a good reason. What was his excuse for being cruel to her, especially considering the slatings they went through in Claysoot? Gray's treatment of Emma was unforgivable in my eyes. I have to say this was one of the worst love-triangles I've read in a while. I almost couldn't believe what I was reading.

Taken truly had a promising beginning. In the end, that beginning couldn't make up for what happened next: a story full of holes, a rushed pace, unlikeable characters (actually, I liked Blaine and Emma but sadly they weren't important enough for Gray's story), and a random love-triangle that destroyed whatever hope I had left of liking this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


  1. I am not a fan of characters being overly generous with accepting the things as they were. Specially if they're out of the norm. I think it shaves off some of the story's mystique when characters do not think it weird when weirdness comes.

    Great review, Alexa. Putting this off for now. ;)

  2. I had been looking forward to this book from the time I first saw it because the description reminded me a bit of both The Maze Runner and Knife of Never Letting Go. I'm 62% through it and enjoying it so far. I have read a LOT of bad reviews though. And it is a bit rushed.