Title: Taken (Taken #1)
Author: Erin Bowman
Release date: April 16, 2013
Reading level: YA
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?
Taken, Erin Bowman’s debut novel, completely blew me away. I had high expectations from the very beginning and all my expectations were met, if not exceeded.
Taken is told from a male point-of-view but it is written by a female author. In the past I’ve found that female authors either get it perfect or fail miserably. In this case, Erin Bowman definitely got it perfect. Gray lives in a futuristic society but he still thinks like your average teenage boy. He worries about girls, family, and growing up. However, he also has the Heist to worry about. His mind is a jumble of worries for himself, his friends, and his family. He’s an honorable guy who is impossible not to love. He’s strong, brave, smart, and funny. He’s not perfect, by any means, but he’s pretty dang close.
I adored the world that Erin Bowman created. To me it came across as a mix of fantasy and dystopian, a lot like Defiance by C.J. Redwine, actually. The people of Claysoot lived like people of the past. They had very little technology and they lived off the land. However, there are many secrets in Claysoot and things definitely aren’t as they first appear. Let’s just say that Claysoot isn’t as rooted in the past as it’s citizens think. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
The story is completely pulse-pounding and impossible to put down. Erin Bowman managed to blend action and information perfectly. From the very first page readers are thrown into Gray’s world and his problems and they aren’t anything like the problems of a typical teenage guy. There’s mystery, suspense, action, romance, and so much more.
As for the romance, it’s not typical either. There is a love triangle but in this case it’s one boy and two girls. Neither romance is spur of the moment though. Both girls take the time to get to know Gray before starting anything with him. Honestly, I like both girls and I think Gray could be happy with either of them. It’s a dilemma for me since normally I’m very decisive about who I want a character to end up with. Also, both girls are different but they have some similarities. One of those similarities is that they are very kick-ass although in very different ways. One is a very skilled healer who dives into situations where people need her help. The other is a very skilled fighter who doesn’t appear to be afraid of anything. Even though Taken is told from a male point-of-view, the females in the story still get plenty of recognition.
Overall, Taken is at the top of my list of recommendations. Readers will not be disappointed with this debut novel and it will leave you wanting more!
Looking for more reviews of Taken by Erin Bowman?
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog’s review
Presenting Lenore’s review
Chick Loves Lit’s review
Untitled (#2) – 2014
Untitled (#3) – 2015