Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taken ~ Erin Bowman (earc) review

Taken (Taken #1)
April 16, 2013
352 pages
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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.
It's the day of his brother, Blaine's heist - the last day Gray will ever see his older brother when Taken opens.

As if that's not enough, the pain of losing his brother, the only family he still had -- Gray knows his own Heist is imminently approaching. With his own eighteenth birthday just months away, Gray finds a letter from his mother that makes him question everything he's ever known: his family, the Heist, the uncrossable wall that surrounds Claysoot, everything.

Crossing the wall may be suicide, but with his days already numbered, Gray may be willing to risk trying to find out what's on the other side.

Taken is a book that pulls you in right from the beginning and doesn't let you go. At first, of course, there's just the wondering of what exactly the Heist is -- how it works, what it really is and what, after all, is beyond that wall that no one can cross without dying.

With all of the members of one gender vanishing as they reach adulthood, Claysroot, isn't like society as we know it. It becomes clear, though, that may not be the only thing keeping the village from advancing to what we recognize as 'today.' A lot stays unclear or in question, though.

That's one of the best things about Taken. A more plot-centric (as opposed to character-centric) novel,  a lot happens in Taken. There are plot twists and turns around every corner. As soon as you think one big development is the final one, that the story is finally going to being unraveling, the mysteries revealed, something (often even bigger) happens.

While all of the twists absolutely keep you guessing, it's never to the point of frustration. Rater, it keeps you beyond engrossed, anxious to see how it all comes together (or apart).

With as much focus on the, albeit fabulous, plot, it felt almost like the character development and/or whatever made them characters readers could connect to, wasn't as strong. At the end of the novel, however, they came through stronger. Due both to the strength of the ending as well as the overall arc that's visible for the main characters -- Gray especially. Bowman has created a great job in this complex story and world -- I can't wait to see where things go for him.

It's true that in individual scenes, the story may be what you focus on more than Gray's feelings but at the end it's great to see where he's come from the first page to the last.

The ending really is superb. Except for a small part in the middle that did lag for a bit, the book starts out strong, continues strong and somehow ends even better. Taken was a book I didn't want to end, but one I also couldn't wait to finish, a true accomplishment on Bowman's part! I hate that this book is over, yet love how it ended and cannot wait for Book 2 -- for the developments in the plot and with the characters.

Epic, with an unraveling story that's focused on so much more than the characters or only their centralized world, Taken reminded me of The Hunger Games or Legend,and -- pretty in love with the novel -- I so recommend it. (Also, if there are spoilers anywhere, avoid them. It's a joy to discover this story as you read it, to not know what's coming.)


you may also enjoy: Variant by Robison Wells and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Legend by Marie Lu

 thank you to Harper for the egalley through Edelweiss

Side note: isn't the cover gorgeous?


  1. I didn't enjoy this, but I agree about the mystery! It kept me hooked in the beginning because I wanted to know what the hell was going on. Despite not enjoying this, I want to read the sequel because I did like the plot :D

  2. Thanks so much for all the reviews.
    I have used your site frequently as a source for books to read.
    Best wishes in all you do.


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