Monday, June 23, 2014

Taken by Erin Bowman [Review]

Taken (Taken, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Taken by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release: April 16, 2013
Hardcover:  360 Pages
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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?
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Hmm.  Well.  Taken has an interesting premise, no doubt about it.  But there were some issues that kept it from really taking off the ground.  I guessed fairly early the deal behind Claysoot.  In fact, this book is loaded with twists.  Just when you think one thing, you are presented with another "gotcha!"  After awhile it felt like each plot twist was trying to outdo the last and took away the shock of each revelation.

I also did not find the characters to be very fleshed out.  Dystopians aren't usually known for the character development, but it was hard for me to care about what was happening with Gray because I did not know anything about him other than he is impulsive, curious and has a temper. On top of that, there was a lot of exposition, a lot of "telling" instead of "showing" and a lackluster love triangle. 

And in all honesty, I think I am harder on dystopians because I have read so many of them.  It is a fairly narrow genre, so it is hard to not be jaded a bit.  Everything starts to look and sound the same.  And I think that is the case here.  Had I read this book earlier in my dystopian reading career, I probably would have enjoyed this more.  It actually reminds me a bit of the Maze Runner series...complete with the same things that bothered me.  (So, if you loved The Maze Runner, don't listen to me and give this one a try.) 

Overall, I thought Jennifer Bowman tried to do something interesting with Taken.  There are certainly some exciting parts and things move along at a rapid place.  But I wish there was more character development.  I also wish there plot didn't spiral so far outward.  I didn't dislike by any means, but I felt very ambivalent about it at the end.  Unfortunately, I probably won't be back for the sequel.

Books in the series:
.5: Stolen
1. Taken
2. Frozen
3. Forged (expected publication 2015)

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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