Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman
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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.
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?
Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for this eARC! This title is now available.
There have rarely been books that have tossed me for this much of a loop. Whether or not that’s a good thing is still undecided.
See, Taken starts off with a pretty interesting concept. It’s up there in the blurb, so I’m not going to rehash it. The book opens up with Gray’s brother being Heisted and general shenanigans and of course there’s a girl that Gray has the hots for. Honestly, though, warning bells started going off in my head from the second after Blaine the brother is Heisted because it seemed to me that the most interesting thing about the book was the concept of being Heisted. The action that happens after, with Gray and Emma, is boring and seems to be forced filler to establish a relationship between the two of them so that the rest of the stuff has impact and a preface. While I appreciate this attempt to give the two lovebirds a history, it didn’t really work where it was placed and I got pretty bored pretty quickly.
Since the blurb is so vague about it, I can’t even tell you whether or not Gray goes over the wall without being intentionally spoiler-y, but I CAN say that eventually Gray wakes up and realizes that something was seriously weird about his brother’s Heist and goes in search of answers. In the process, many more details about the concept of the Heist is introduced which confirm my earlier assumption that this is a really cool concept.
Throughout it all, however, the characters are fairly eh. There is no one with a great deal of personality that I really loved, but I didn’t dislike anyone either (except for Emma). Every action seemed very believable (except for Emma). Gray actually really grew on me as the story went on, which is hard for characters to do.
Now, about that loop…
See, I can’t really say anything because people will be all SPOILERS on me. But let’s just say that the romance aspect of this novel starts off iffy and then gets worse. Then Gray seems to realize that Emma is the worst and does his own thing for a little while. Then the romance gets worse. But just when I thought Bowman was setting us up for the worst possible cliché I can think of, the end of the book happens and she’s like actually no, I’m going to go for a more real people thing. WHICH I LOVE.
HAH. Vague without spoilers like a boss.
All in all, I think the world building was great and the characters were alright. None of the plot twists were all that twisty to me, but I was still pleasantly surprised at points and I liked that. If you’re in the mood for more guy driven plot with a unique premise then give this one a go!