13 April 2013

Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman

Expected Publication: 16 April 2013 by HarperTeen

Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Dystopian

Source: Publisher 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: 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?

My Thoughts

Taken is a book that immediately caught my attention for several reasons:

1) Young adult dystopian - uh, yes please!
2) Pretty cover - want!
3) Male protagonist - YAY! Unusual - gimme!

So I was more than estatic when I got my happy little hands on this one. Along with that happiness was that horrible niggling feeling of worry - in a world awash with dystopians, would this be an awesomely-amazing-fabutastic read, or a bust?

I loved that Taken has a male protagonist, and his is the only POV. I've read very few YA dystopians with a male taking the lead the whole way through, and I really liked the different viewpoint that it gave the story. Although there is something close to insta-love AND a triangle, Grey doesn't descend into that horrible stereotypical love mode and start doing crazy stuff for the girl he's crushing on - in fact he is almost clinical in his realism of the situation, which I actually quite liked. The only downside that the insta-love-triangle had for me was that I didn't quite understand how it happened - at one moment the object of Grey's desire is seemingly pining for someone she cannot have, and the next they are joined at the hip.

The plot itself is intriguing, and has a fair amount of twists and turns that the characters don't see coming, but I found quite obvious - I'm not completely sure whether this is what the author was aiming for or not, but it worked for me in that wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee characters kind of way. The pace moves along pretty consistently, and I found it quite difficult to put Taken down.

There's no huge information dumps on the world and how it came to be this way, instead it's gradually revealed through dialogue and hints and not all the secrets are revealed in this first book, which I really liked - it has me intrigued to go back to the series and find out exactly what is happening and why, and I loved the juxtaposition of an almost utopian society in a world that has been completely changed by yet to-be-revealed events.

Overall I really enjoyed Taken, and it pretty much lived up to my lofty expectations. Character development is occasionally pushed aside for plot and world-building, but personally I choose those two characteristics over characters in dystopian novels.


  1. I am glad to see a positive review of this book! I have not gotten hold of a copy yet, but I am still excited to read this. I am glad that there is at least one blogger out there that liked it!

  2. I really liked Taken as well. I wasn't completely sold on the synopsis initially but am glad that I decided to take a chance on it. Parts of it really blew my mind and I can't wait for the next installment.



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