Happy Monday evening! We've been dying to share our review of Erin Bowman's Taken for awhile now, but wanted to wait until we were closer to the release date.
Now that we're only about two and a half weeks away from the April 16th release date, it seemed like time!
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 16th 2013 by HarperTeen
Format read: E-ARC via Edelweiss
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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?
Things that worked:
* More to the point, Gray is an incredibly likable character. He behaves in ways that the reader may not necessarily agree with - e.g. beating up a bully for taunting him and his niece - but we can see the internal struggle, so we sympathize.
* The writing is also incredibly strong - to a point. (More on this later).
Erin Bowman has one of the most eye-catching first sentences that I've read in my recent crop of YA books. There's no way you can read "Today is the last day I will see my brother", and not have this reaction: O.O and want to read more.
* Bowman's ability at world-building within the confines of Claysoot were extremely strong, as well. I could feel the constant sense of hopelessness and resignation felt by all of the men and women inside the city.
* Plotting - within Claysoot. Gray's impulsiveness and desperation at finding answers, keeps the action going, and kept me turning the pages. I knew that things clearly weren't how they appeared, and Bowman's writing kept me wanting to find out more.
However, then he leaves Claysoot...
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
I understand that the reader is supposed to think that Emma's sassy, spunky and kind, but I just got kind of annoyed with her behavior. Not to mention, her instant!love! of Gray just seemed kind of one-dimensional.
* The back story between Frank + Harvey + the rebels. It was well-written, but I kind of felt that I had read all of this in other dystopians before. I definitely had a few moments where I could predict the plot twists - including their discovery that members of Group A might still be alive.
(District 13, anyone?)
* The (potential) love triangle. Without spoiling too much, Bree is awesome. Emma is not. While I like the fact that Gray basically didn't give Emma the time of day by the end of the book, I still sense a love triangle in the future.
Back to what worked:
Most other authors might have saved some of the later chapters for book 2 - not Bowman. It was literally an Odyssey-esque adventure within one book.
Recommend for fans of Partials, Divergent.
About the author:
Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. She is the author of TAKEN and forthcoming FROZEN (4/15/14) from HarperTeen.