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Thursday, April 18, 2013
Taken (Taken, #1)
Erin Bowman
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
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 really, really enjoyed Taken, although I've seen so many disappointed reviews. However, this did not keep me personally from truly enjoying it. It definitely had its weak spots, but overall I found the novel to be fun and it definitely brought some new things to the table. I was really excited to read this book, and though it wasn't everything I hoped it it would be I still really, truly loved it.

Gray is a bit lackluster at times, but despite that I still really like him. I love that we have a male protagonist in this book, since before I read it I expected a girl. But Gray's perspective is insightful, and though his personality is somewhat lacking I do like him. He doesn't let people walk all over him, he's determined, and he's loyal but also can be suspicious. He has his faults, but so too do he have his virtues. He's not a perfect character, and there's definitely room for improvement, and I can't wait to see what happens to him next.

Emma seemed really sweet at first, and though she wasn't particularly compelling I liked her well enough. Then later on she went and did something really stupid. I do understand that she was hurt and feeling lost, but that doesn't excuse everything. I think she could redeem herself, but she's going to have to work to get there. At the moment she's definitely not on my good side, and she needs more development too, but I don't think her role is over.
Brie is introduced as a tough girl who doesn't need anyone or anything, but as is usually the case with such characters, she's actually much more vulnerable on the inside. She's suffered a lot, and though she doesn't open up as much as I would have liked, we do see different sides of her, and I like her a lot more than Emma. She doesn't want to be weak, but she's still only human.

Taken had a promising plot from the beginning. Um, hello, disappeared men? How is that not absolutely fascinating? And it only got more intense as the mystery that was built at the beginning of the novel unravels. It was solved a bit too quickly for my taste, but okay. I can forgive something like that.

The pacing overall bothered me, actually, and it was kind of hard to keep the timing straight. Sometimes things seemed to be brushed over when they should have had more detail, and other times some things were dragged out pointlessly for so long that I got annoyed and really bored.

Even so, it was a really entertaining story that kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed the premise and I liked the way it was played out. I think sometimes there were random elements thrown in that I didn't necessarily like but overall it was satisfying. I really feel like it brought some new ideas to the table and I especially liked the fact that it didn't seem overly formulaic, at least as far as the main plot goes.

The world building, unfortunately, was lacking. There was little that was explained to my satisfaction. It seemed rushed and like something we were supposed to just understand. However, I didn't. This didn't keep me from liking the world, but I just didn't feel like I really knew enough about it.

Even so, despite its faults, I thought that this was an excellent, really fun book. I truly loved it, and it was pleasant and intense and unputdownable.

I didn't realize this was going to be a love triangle (maybe a square?) for the longest time, so at the beginning I thought it was going to be only Gray and Emma. They have something, definitely, but Emma seems to not really be interested in him until he's the only guy available, and she seems to have no problem moving on. What Gray and Brie have felt more genuine, and I really liked the way the tension built up between them.

I really love Erin's writing. Gray isn't the most reliable narrator, and a lot of time his judgement is clearly crowded, but sometimes that is just how things are. Everything is described in detail without feeling superfluous, and I really think that although the characters should have been fleshed out more that everything that was described always used the most beautiful language.

I honestly thought it could have ended on a better note. The cliffhanger felt kind of forced, and although I understand why that's where Erin chose to end the book it just didn't work for me personally. I don't think it's all bad, but I  just couldn't seem to accept it. There were too many questions that I felt left with.

Despite the fact that it fell sort of my expectations in some ways, I still loved Taken, so don't get me wrong. It's certainly not a book for everyone, but no book is, and I am definitely eager to read the second installment. I would recommend this to dystopian fans who are willing to deal with some faults. It's a truly awesome novel, and I'd hate for it not to receive the recognition it deserves.




  1. I really liked this one. I have seen negative reviews for this and I think too many people were annoyed at the character, Gray, to really enjoy this unique concept. I for one, was not bothered with him, and felt his actions were warranted! I mean come on, your 17, and your brother was just heisted, and your next, with no clue as to what or why this happens?? Oh, and you have no family left, with your Mom being gone. I would of thought he would be even more pissed off and angry about his situation, I mean I don't condone all of his actions, I just understand them. I will be posting my 4 star review soon. Great review! *sorry for the long comment :P

  2. OKAY soon reading it right now, and I can see where your liking of this book is coming from. But I'm struggling. I'm trying to keep my mind open but it's not really happening. Gray was great at first but he's kinda turned into a jerkface. And I agree with the world building. It's got this rushed feeling to it...I dunno
    I'm nearly 60% in and I'm not feeling the strong love. I'm glad you were able to on more. I was literally dying for it.

    <33333 Inky

  3. I've been really wondering about this one because of all the iffy reviews. Sounds like you did enjoy it though. I'm keeping it on the short list :)

  4. I've been looking forward to this book for such a long time and it's a bit disappointing-judging by the reviews I've read- that it's nothing different. Still i think it's worth a try.

  5. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on this book. From raves to bombs and everything in between. I'll probably still give it a shot though and judge for myself. Though from what I've noticed the judgement of the book tends to lie with the character Gray.

    ~Andrea @ Beauty but a Funny Girl

  6. I am very much looking forward to reading this book. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but if the cover reflects on the story, it should be quite good :). It also seems like a very interesting story, I'll be adding this to my to-read list for sure


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