Early Review : Taken by Erin BowmanSaturday, March 02, 2013
Author : Erin Bowman
Genre : Dystopian
Expected Publication : April 16th 2013
Publisher : HarperCollins
Pages : 352
Source : Publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest reviewRating : ✿✿✿✿✿
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?
From the cover to the concept, this book has totally got my interest. The color of the cover was stunning and beautiful, the tag line was intriguing, and moreover, the blurb was really able to make the reader questioned, "Why?" and "What?". Such a great things a few lines could do.
Taken told us about a village called Claysoot, where they lives under a boundary of the Wall, and every curious soul trying to climb it had been found burned the next day. In Claysoot, no men had passed the age of eighteenth, as they were all vanished in—as the villagers called it—The Heist, and in Gray Weathersby's case, his brother would vanished in a matter of hours.
But his life took a drastic turn when Gray founded a letter his Mother had written, which was abruptly cut in the middle. Lonely and desperate to bring his brother back from The Heist, Gray decided to pursue whatever truth was left on the letter, even if it means climbing the Walls and escaped Claysoot.
But what if the truth was not what he would expect, and that the things he called natural was not so true after all?
I especially love how this book started with action at its very first page, introducing us with the culture and background, and therefore making it easy for us to relate with the story. This book was averagely paced, with some minor sagging here and there, but overall, the pace suited the story quite well. One thing I really love about this book was the strong world-building and believable culture revolving around The Heist. Fifteen year old boy was considered adult, and there was no such thing as marriage but simply breeding—this were all really simple, but it helped in making the story seemed believable and the world pretty real.
The ending was good as well, left the reader curious and wanting to know what exactly would happen next on its continuation, yet still satisfied as the first book reached its end.
The character, however, was not really as stunning as the world-building. They were not exactly uninteresting-and-oh-so-plain-and-boring bad, but they didn't really popped out and exceptionally strong either.
Gray Weathersby, our main protagonist, was quite well-developed, and it's very interesting to read that although he was a man, his narration still gave us a glimpse about his feeling without sounding girlish or boy-flat at all. His personality was well-balanced too, with a kind heart and distinct flaw, like his temper. One thing I didn't quite fond of him was, even if he was pictured as an impulsive, temperamental, hot-blooded man, at some part, he actually felt quite flat, and his reaction didn't quite showed his personality as well.
Brianna "Bree" Nox, our other main character as well as Gray's counterpart, was actually the one I found most interesting. She was portrayed as a brave, straightforward, and unusually bold, and I really love how her attitude toward Gray flowed in a very smooth manner and didn't changed way too abruptly. Her personality was interesting as well, and I like how her badass side was balanced with a fragility she rarely showed.
One thing I'm not quite fond of this book was Emma's character, Gray's company from Claysoot who escaped the Wall with him, as well as his first love. Throughout the book, I felt that her character was really inconsistent. When she decided to come after Gray and leave Claysoot, she looked like a strong girl with a firm stubbornness, but when they met again the second time, she was just a weak girl, incapable of standing on her own and easily swayed away. She constantly switched from strong to weak to strong again and over and over, and seeing the fact that she was quite an important character to begin with, it was not really believable, and it wasn't really easy to sympathize with her either.
Overall, if you're looking for a fresh dystopian read with a unique twist, as well as a strong world building and rich culture, you should definitely give this one a try.