by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published: April 16, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC (360 pages)
Source: For Review
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 . . .
Taken reminded me a little of The Maze Runner – they both had this engrossing quest for answers. The plot delivers on answering a lot of the questions that come up. The story moves quickly and kept me glued to the pages. The interesting world was the strongest part of this book. But, sadly there were a few things that kept me from really loving it.
I have mixed feelings about the plot. I loved how it was so fast-paced and surprised me once or twice, even if it had a few minor plot holes. I like fast moving plots in books, but I think this was a rare example of the plot moving too fast. It’s amazing the amount of ground this 360 page novel covers. Since so much is happening, there is a lot of “monologuing” if you will (to use a term from The Incredibles). Instead of getting to experience the newly discovered layers of this world, the characters would often have mini-speeches explaining the newest development. Then the characters would immediately act on the new revelations. It made for an addicting and zippy plot, but I found myself missing the fleshed-out little details that would have made the world rich and believable. Sometimes things felt over-explained and sometimes the characters are running for their lives when they feel the need to monologue something new and explain the world a little more. I wanted to strangle all of them and remind them that they should be running for their lives. If this book would have taken it’s time with building the world naturally and not skipped over so many details, it would have been an incredible book instead of just an average one. The matriarchal society structure that Gray grew up in was so interesting. I so wish that it had gone into more detail about the society!
The main character Gray was so likable at the beginning, but I felt his character progressed into kind of an unforgiving jerk. There were a few cute, romantic moments at the beginning – like them talking about wanting to be like the birds – that were so adorable. But I found the way the love triangle unfolded to be very unappealing. It’s possible that I have a gender bias that love triangles are okay for girls and not boys, but I still felt this “love triangle” was more like unfairly dragging two girls along. Another reason I felt Gray was a jerk was when he has to make decisions through the story that could potentially hurt those he cares about, he completely justifies his actions without some much-needed honest indecision. It gave me the impression that he didn’t care as much as he said he did.
I didn’t like some of the language used in the writing. There are a few descriptions of his chest “heaving” when he’s attracted to a girl. Gross. And the word “slatings” for dates? That’s such a bizarre phrase. The word pairing used later on in the book was much better.
Overall, it had a fast-paced action filled plot that was addicting to read, but it was at the expense of building a fleshed-out world. This book started out so strong at the beginning and sadly fizzles out towards the end.
Content Rating: Medium, for some swearing and violence.
I received this book for review from the publisher, HarperTeen, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own. I read an Advanced Reading Copy for this review.