by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published: 16 April 2013
HarperTeen, Hardcover, 360 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.
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?
I was so disappointed with this book, I don’t even know where to start. Initially, I picked up Taken because the synopsis sounded so mysterious and unique. Moreover, I felt it might be refreshing to take a break from the many female-narrated books I’ve been reading and try one with a guy’s POV. Unfortunately, all I felt was utterly annoyed and horrified at Gray Weathersby, the protagonist.
To me, Gray might just have been the main reason for the book’s ruination. He is annoyingly rash, unreasonable and he hits girls. Not because the girl was going to harm him physically, but due to the fact that she said something mean and insensitive about his elder brother, Blaine, who was going to be Heisted. Honestly, I have nothing against rash characters but there’s a clear line separating rash as a characteristic fault & rash as in just plain stupid. Gray falls in the latter category.
Throughout the book, I found myself wanting to punch Gray in the face. He behaves like a 5-year-old & the dude’s a serious masochist. Moreover, he’s like a constantly suspiciously pitbull, not attractive. As for his relationships with the female lead, Emma, I just did not feel any true connection between them while they kept throwing the word ‘love’ around like it’s just some random word. It was probably also because Emma lacked personality. One minute she’s completely helpless, the next she’s some badass and back to helpless again! Just, what?
To make things worst, there’s a flipping love triangle, and a poor one at that. However, I actually really liked the other girl, Bree, whom Gray only encountered later on in the story. I would say she’s hands down the most interesting character and I completely hated the way Gray treated her towards the end because an awesome girl like that deserves so much better.
Despite my many complaints about Gray and the romance, I did like the action and pace of the story. Erin Bowman’s take on dystopian was satisfyingly refreshing in Taken but well, I simply couldn’t stand Gray. When a story is being narrated by an unappealing protagonist, it just pulls every other aspect down. So would I recommend this to others? Probably not, unless you’re really bored and have nothing else to read. However, do note that the mystery of the world in Taken will make it quite tempting to continue with the trilogy.