Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Title:  Taken
Author:  Erin Bowman
Genre: YA dystopian
Series:  Taken #1
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Pages:  360, hardcover
Acquired via:  BEA 2013


Synopsis from  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 really, really wanted to love Taken.  There had been so much hype surrounding it before it actually came out, and then when I got it at BEA, I was so psyched to finally read it.  I didn't actually end up reading it until December, and I'm sorry to say I just didn't love it.

That doesn't mean I hated it.  It had a great premise.  I thought the characters were well-developed, and the descriptions of the settings were beautiful and realistic.  And it was a fast-paced, action-filled read.  Overall though, it was just okay.

One of my big problems with this book was the melodrama.  It felt like every two seconds something new and big was happening to Gray, each one more dramatic and shocking than the last.  The whole book came across as very soap-opera-ish.  And then there was Gray himself.  He's a stubborn, reckless jerk most of the time.  It was kind of hard to sympathize with him.

But worst of all was the stupid romance.  I don't mind love triangles, when they're written well.  The one in this book (sorry if this is a spoiler) just stinks.  First of all, the original girl Gray's into, Emma, is really not that great.  I couldn't understand why he was so into her.  They get separated, and the first girl Gray meets afterwards, he's suddenly totally lusting over while still adamantly saying he's in love with Emma.  I mean, I like the second girl better, but the way everything comes together in the end seemed ridiculous.

I may still pick up the second book because I honestly liked some of the secondary characters way more than Gray, but it won't be a disappointment if I don't.

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