“Taken (Taken #1)” by Erin Bowman
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia
Summary 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?
While I was intrigued to read the book, I was also a bit hesitant. It sounded interesting to me but the reviews for the book didn’t sound very promising. I decided to bite the bullet and read the book anyway. Overall I’m glad I did.
Taken isn’t a highly original story. Having a mysterious little village where people go missing like clockwork is something that does come up in literature and other media. The reasons for the missing people and how they’re taken might change a bit but the basics of that premise is out there.
With Taken, I wouldn’t say I predicted what was going to happen on the other side of the wall but I’m definitely not surprised at how things played out. It wasn’t mind-blowing or it came out of no where. It was just a slight variation of what I’ve seen happen in other stories.
The world building was not so good. The idea of these villages being social experiments is interesting but it starts to fall apart when you wonder what it was allowed. Yes, I know the villain orchestrated the plan but there are people with more power than him. Then the fact that they can’t stop the experiments? It’s never explained WHY they can’t stop them other than there’s something that kills (?) people when they get close to the wall. Then there’s the whole mess of what’s going on outside what we’re seeing in the story. The country fought a civil war of sorts and we’ve been horribly divided over it but we’re not told WHAT the war was about. It’s like the only reason the war was mentioned was to explain the bad conditions.
The characters aren’t anything spectacular. Gray is too angsty for my taste. Emma refuses to take part in the mating rituals in town which was awesome. She had the crazy notion that people should mate for life rather than change partners every month. Then when Gray is missing for a few months, she jumps into a relationship with someone else? That’s a bit wishy-washy for me. Not to mention if felt like she only stuck around so there could be a love triangle. Bree was too annoying for me. It just felt like she was acting tough not actually being a tough girl.
With that said, I was glued to the story and finished it quickly over 2 days. It was very addicting and easy to read.
The bottom line? There were many problems with the story but it was a quick, enjoyable enough book.