Author: Erin Bowman
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: Taken (Book 1)
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062117262 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062117267 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Bridget
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?
Quick & Dirty: A fast paced dystopian with an intriguing love triangle.
Opening Sentence: TODAY IS THE LAST DAY I will see my brother.
Gray has grown up in the town of Claysoot. In this town there are no men only boys under the age of 18. At midnight on their 18th birthday every young man disappears and this is called the Heist. No one knows where they go or what happens to them but it is unpreventable. Some people try to escape the Heist by climbing the wall that surrounds Claysoot, but it is always fatal for anyone that tries. Every time someone has tried their body ends up by the wall burned so bad it is unrecognizable. Gray is turning 17 in a few days but his brother is exactly 1 year older than him and will be going through the Heist very soon. Blaine is Gray’s only family, his father was Heisted when he was a baby and his mother died when he was only 13. They have taken care of each other ever since, and are very close. After Blaine is Heisted, Gray is lost but he finds a letter that his mother wrote to Blaine on her death bed. The letter contains some very interesting facts that leave Gray questioning everything he has ever known. What really happens during the Heist is it preventable, and what’s really on the other side of the wall. As Gray searches for answers he discovers that nothing is what it seems.
Gray is a very interesting character. There are things that I really liked about him and others that drove me nuts. I loved that he always follows his gut. At times it makes him very irrational, but he acts instead of doing nothing and I liked that about him. He really cares about his family and he is very dedicated and follows through when he makes a promise. Now for the things that drove me nuts. There is a love triangle in this book and honestly I thought that he treated both of the girls crappy and I didn’t like that. I felt that both girls deserved better. At times he jumps to conclusions and he doesn’t forgive easily. I feel that he judges people unfairly and I had a hard time with that. Overall, I did like him as a character, but he has a lot of maturing to do and I hope to see that more in the next book.
Emma also grew up in Claysoot and ever since they were kids Gray has always fancied her. To keep their population up, Claysoot has set up a system where the boys are slated to a different girl every month. Realistically there really is no reason to have any kind of relationships since the boys will be gone by the time they are 18. Gray has never really liked the slating system and he tries to avoid it at all cost. He doesn’t have any children and he doesn’t want one, but right after Blaine is Heisted he is finally slated to the only girl he has ever liked. Emma is a sweet girl she is the daughter of the healer in town and works with her. She has known Gray since they were children; she is the same age as Blaine and they all played together as children. She has always thought Gray was too spontaneous and at times unkind, but as she spends time with him and gets to know him her feelings change. I think that Emma is actually really good for Gray, she mellows him out, and is a good partner for him. Yes, she makes some mistakes, but I feel that she tries to do what’s right and follow her heart.
Later on he meets a girl named Bree. I’m not really going to go into details about her since that would spoil some if the book. She is very wild and spontaneous as well. She has had to protect herself for most of her life so she doesn’t open up easily to people. Her and Gray fight a lot but they also have many things in common. So as they get to know each other they start to become attracted to each other. They have pretty good chemistry, but I felt that their personalities were just too similar. I actually really liked Bree as a character, but I don’t think she is quite right for Gray.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. The story moved right along and it was a really fast read. There is lots of action and some interesting plot twists throughout the book. The love triangle at times drove me a little nuts but honestly I am also very intrigued by it as well. I really can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. This book would be a great read for boys or girls and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys YA Dystopian books.
I stoop to collect the fallen frame, which houses a charcoal drawing of the Council building done by Blaine as a child. It has broken on impact, and as I collect the pieces, I notice something behind Blaine’s childhood sketch. The parchment is coarse but not as faded as the original artwork. I lift it from the debris and unfold it carefully.
It is a letter, written in script I would recognize anywhere.
To my eldest son, it begins. This is Ma’s handwriting, careful and clean.
I take a deep breath and keep reading.
It is imperative that you read this, know this, and then hide it immediately. Gray cannot know. I have thought many times of how to share this with you—both of you—but have come to terms with this secret being one that you alone must bear after my passing. Know that I write this to you in my final hours, that I wish so much to be able to explain it in person, but I am a prisoner of my bed.
This world is a mysterious one, with its Heists and Wall, so unnatural that I have never been able to accept it outright. And I believe, come your eighteenth birthday, you will understand why I’ve shared this secret with you. The truth, or the pursuit of the truth, must not die with me. Above all, you must not tell your brother. I know this will be hard for you, but if Gray knows, he will look for answers. He will risk everything, and in turn jeopardize your discovering the truth. And you must. You must discover the truth for me because death will take me before I am able to witness it myself.
And so I share this with you now, my son: You and your brother are not as I’ve raised you to believe. Gray is, in fact—
I flip the letter over, but there are no more words. I search the debris on the floor, but whatever sheet once accompanied the first is no longer hidden within the frame. I reread the letter once, twice, several times over.
Gray is, in fact— I am, in fact, what?
1. Taken (April 16, 2013)
FTC Advisory: Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Taken. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.