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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?

360 pages, Hardcover

First published April 16, 2013

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About the author

Erin Bowman

15 books1,899 followers
Erin Bowman is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books for children and teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, the Edgar Award-nominated Contagion duology, The Girl and the Witch’s Garden, and the forthcoming Dustborn. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

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PLEASE NOTE: Erin does not check goodreads mail. If you message her this way she will not see it. For contact methods, visit Erin's website.



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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,446 reviews
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,360 followers
April 14, 2013
Such a shame especially that up until almost halfway I would have given this book a good 3 stars. It has such a unique premise with a super intriguing world that could have been awesome had it been executed much better. Unfortunately with an insufferable protagonist, the world building and plot were all that this book had left, and after seeing the halfway mark come and go, I realized that in both of these aspects it was beginning to fail miserably--and it didn't stop.

Gray Weathersby is not a likeable MC. I was forewarned from other readers, though, so I knew to expect a douche who hits girls (he punches ones several times in the opening chapter), and is overall an arse. Thus it did not come as a shock when I didn't find myself in love with him. Still, I expected to come to understand him by the end. This did not happen. If only his behaviour would at least improve, but as the story progresses he only gets more annoying: thinking he's much better than he is (he's pretty full of himself); making demands when he's trapped in a risky situation with people who would--and want to--kill him (toopid); or saying things like:

"All those times that I felt things for Bree, anytime there was even the slightest feeling of affection growing, I'd brushed it aside for Emma" As if this made him such a gentleman, someone who dances in fidelity's good graces. *snorts*

Now for the world building, or the whole plot, really. Well, to be honest, it literally made me nauseous I wanted it to end so badly--so I think it's safe to say it's full of barf? It starts off with such a great premise too. It arouses many questions from the mysteries surrounding their lives--this heist thing truly had me fascinated for a bit--but then it all goes downhill when we start getting some less than interesting answers. Plus, it gets increasingly predictable the further you read, making it all the less exciting. It's like the plot simply becomes too crowded. Everything is a twist, no character is who you think they are; it's a little overwhelming, and not in a good way. Then there are a lot of little quirks along the way that only ground my dissatisfaction further: How, for example, they arrive in a withering post apocalyptic town where we're told they have to ration water and supplies, but the first thing the people in charge do is give Emma a makeover: face make-up to the max, eyebrow tweeze, high heels etc. What is up with that? I can see dystopians where this might work--Like Fever by Lauren Destefano--but it did not fit in the world we see beyond these wall. It only felt illogical. Then, how about when towards the end we have this deus ex machina who conveniently helps them along in an impossibly tight situation. This person was a nobody, came from nowhere, and was dismissed and forgotten after saving their asses... Sure these might seem minimal when taken individually, but these were just a few examples and everything together makes a mess of this plot. It was a good premise... until it wasn't.

I'm not even going to go into the horrid love triangle. I still have not recovered.

I've read a lot of dystopians, and maybe it's part of why this one annoyed me so much, but in the end I found it was nothing more than that: a regurgitated dystopian novel. But it tries so hard. So so hard. Let's all give it a moment of silence.

--
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
319 reviews1,898 followers
March 28, 2013
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Writing this review is extremely difficult for me, not only because I absolutely loved Taken, and writing reviews for books I love is usually a difficult process for me (if you haven't noticed, I'm not the most eloquent reviewer. I use gifs and tend to swear. Often.), because I always feel like I am not doing the book I'm reviewing justice with my words, and other times, I'm just at a loss for said words.

Though with Taken, that is not entirely why writing this review is so difficult for me. Yes, while I don't feel I can do this book justice with just my review and I am at a loss for words concerning how awesome Taken was, this review is mostly difficult for me to write because there is so much I want to say but I don't want to spoil anything.

I've been looking forward to reading Taken ever since I saw its absolutely stunning cover, and have been looking forward to it even more after reading the mysterious and intriguing synopsis. From that point on, Taken has been one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2013. However, despite my immense anticipation for Taken, I was really worried about the concept of men just vanishing as they turn eighteen. More often than not in YA, and really any other book that I've read lately, authors have come up with an amazing and seemingly impossible central concept, but when it's time for the authors to explain how that concept works, they give a mediocre at best explanation that makes little to no sense.

I am happy to say that Taken is most definitely an exception. The mystery behind the Heists in Taken is so richly developed, unpredictable, original, and is just so much fun to read and uncover as the novel progresses, and it actually makes sense and is given a logical reasoning. Along the way, there are tons of twists - some I saw coming, some I did not - and each twist adds another layer of depth to the plot and the mystery of the Heist. Along with the mystery of the Heist, we are provided with an extremely fast-paced an interesting plot, filled to the brim with, like I mentioned earlier, brilliant and original plot twists that make you question everything you already know. There was a time early in the novel, around the 25% mark, where I questioned where the story could possibly go since it was moving so quickly, but all my doubts were soon proven to no avail as Bowman throws more and more plot twists at us, most - if not all - of which are tied up by the end in an entirely satisfying manner that still leaves the reader wanting more.

As well as the brilliant mystery and plot, the world-building in Taken, while something I was a bit unsure of at first, grew to be something I was soon praising in its sheer originality and awesomeness. Erin Bowman has such a skill in creating a thoroughly interesting world seeping with detail, while giving little explanations of how her world came to be scattered throughout the entirety of Taken, without it ever feeling like she's cheating the reader by keeping things from them.

Another thing I was worried about in Taken was whether or not the male POV that the novel is told in would be realistic, as I read a book told by a male POV that was horrible just prior to Taken. My worries concerning this, too, were soon proven to be to no avail. The character of Gray is believable as a male teenager, and is an overall likable character. He is at times impulsive and a bit selfish, but to me it only added to the believability of his character and his actions. I also loved the secondary characters in Taken, and am (for the most part) satisfied with the romance in it. Usually I am all against love triangles, but Erin Bowman managed to make it work by making the romances in the love triangle interesting, well-developed, and not predictable.

With genius plotting, awesome world-building, quite a few surprises, incredible writing, and a great deal of character and relationship development, I am thrilled to say that, after all my months of pining and offering to sell my soul for a copy, Taken most definitely did not disappoint. I absolutely can't wait to see where the story goes in the second installment, and I also can't wait to see how the love triangle plays out.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews608 followers
November 3, 2015
Based on the premise, I thought this could be the novel that would change my perception of the YA genre. Unfortunately, it only further degraded the genre for me.

Predictable, underdeveloped characters, and weak plot. After the first 50 pages or so, the novel started going downhill. It's a surprise that I managed to reach page 266, but by then it was unbearable. I had to put the novel down before I end up rating it 1 star.

The biggest question is for you YA lovers is, "Was the novel really that bad?" And my answer, as usual, is that no, it wasn't that bad. It was just that bad in my case, because I've given up on the genre a long time ago. I'm sure another question pops in your head, "Why the fuck did you read this then?", and my answer is that I'm still looking for YA books that are actually good. I'm sure there are a bunch of them out there, and I don't want to be labeled a genre discriminator. I may have a negative perception of the novel, but at least I still try to read some from time to time.

The idea of boys disappearing on their 18th birthday did catch my interest, but what i failed to realize early on was that this was so similar to The Maze Runner. I mostly ignore and forgive such similarities because I'm sure the author didn't copy TMR. It was just a realization I had about 200 pages in.

I didn't like the writing because it was too spoon-fed. It's like the author didn't even want the readers to think on their own. This is not a children's novel, and I'm pretty sure most teenagers can decipher ideas on their own. That's one of biggest problems I had with this novel.

Even though I didn't enjoy this, I still won't spoil anything for interested readers. I guess you'll have to see for yourself if this is good or bad.

1.5/5 stars. Not recommending this because I didn't even finish it to begin with. Hoping other YA fanatics would enjoy this though.
Profile Image for Susan.
Author 19 books8,493 followers
January 23, 2012
I had a very vague idea (er...mostly no idea, actually) what TAKEN was about when I began reading. Dystopian and some action? Cool, I thought. I'll read this on my transatlantic plane trip, and...

::times passes::

I glanced up at the big TV-clock-thingy. WHAT?! We're already landing?! I forced myself to ignore the turbulent ride down to the tarmac--I WAS SO CLOSE TO THE END, and I just HAD to know what would happen!

Fortunately, in case you were worried, I managed to finish just as the plane touched down. And then I managed to think about the book all the way to the baggage claim, all the way home from Stuttgart, and all through the next week.

Okay, so what did I enjoy so much? GRAY! GRAY, GRAY! It's SO refreshing to read some YA told from a guy's POV--a sexy guy's POV at that. He's kickbutt yet also a sweetheart. He's impulsive and sometimes careless, yet he's loyal and determined. And every step he takes is both unpredictable yet utterly consistent with his character.

Oh, and the love triangle? SWOOOOOOON. I cannot WAIT to see how it all plays out in book 2!

I don't want to give away the full story--the Heist is SUCH a delicious secret--but don't worry: the plot matches the characters in its intensity (so much action!) and depth.

So if you're in the mood for action, dystopian, or a swoon-worthy hero, then be sure to pick up TAKEN.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews602 followers
December 24, 2012
Taken is one of those books that relies on secrets and lies to build suspense leading up to the big payoff, which means two things. One, unfortunately it's a tough book to review because spoilers are a definite no-no, can't ruin it for those of you yet to read it, can I? But more importantly two, what's behind the curtain has to be good, or at least worth the price of admission of pulling it back.

And in Taken's case, it wasn't. I want to say I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who's just peeked behind the curtain and found a mere man instead of the all powerful wizard she was expecting, but that's not even the case; the mystery behind the Heist is so painfully obvious once Gray really starts digging into the disappearances the curtain was really a transparent shower curtain and I could see the fuzzy outlines of my disappointment a mile away. I guess a good comparison would be with M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, another story about an isolated village of people living in medieval accommodations with a similarly themed dark secret about the town - checking the rotten reviews on Rotten Tomatoes gives me dozens of choice yet apt critiques that completely apply to this book:
'I'm not sure exactly why I'm protecting the Shocking Twist, because it certainly doesn't deserve to be protected.'

Or:
'It's hard to care about situations that have been designed only to obscure the ultimate twist.'

And my favorite because it's absolutely on target here:
'Picturesque, slightly haunting but silly in a frustrating way.'

And that's about it. You have a book divided into four parts, Part One being Gray's life in 'The Village' of Claysoot where he's glumly accepting of his ultimate fate until his brother gets Heisted and he stumbles onto a clue that points him toward the ultimate secret behind the Heists. It's not bad, Erin Bowman goes all out creating a society where the guys disappear at eighteen (requiring a lot of teen fathers!!), but beyond the one or two mysterious clues Gray digs up, there's really no movement towards any answers. Why? Bowman also goes all out protecting the reason why the guys are disappearing - absolutely nothing is explained at all, the only development is certain people behaving suspiciously because of course there's a conspiracy. That or Gray and/or his (girl)friend Emma pointing out various inconsistencies in the setup I could've and did notice myself. Very useful you two.

After all the intentional confusion in Part One, I was hoping for some answers in Part Two, when Gray finally builds up the courage to leave town, confront the dangers beyond, and get to the truth. And Gray gets to the truth, I got answers, that's not my problem. No, my problem's that it's obvious Bowman's thinking ahead to Parts Three and Four, so she's giving away a twisted version of the truth, sort of making Claysoot a dystopian society within a dystopian society, with more secrets and conspiracies in the bigger dystopian society outside Claysoot, like peeling back the layers of an onion. In a way, it works, explaining why we'd have this messed up town - except, Bowman doesn't really do a good job with this bigger dystopian society. Claysoot was fine, but the stuff outside with the government conspiracy, secret police, malevolent dictatorship, all of it is just generic and doesn't stand out from every other dystopian premise. Even worse, once the secrets come spilling out, the version of the truth Gray's presented in Part Two is so painfully transparent I called the entire setup - including the purpose of Claysoot and the Heists - immediately upon the return of a certain character. After that, Taken just failed to surprise me - ever.

I wish I had positive things to say about Parts Three and Four, but they were just your average take down the evil, corrupt establishment plot I've read so many times now I'd pay a lot of good money to an author who can actually surprise me with something unique and different. Ok, maybe Bowman did surprise me a little bit, but she did it by introducing a superfluous love triangle late in the game to, I don't know, annoy people who hate love triangles? Because it certainly wasn't well done or anything, you can't just write a triangle from a male point of view by recycling the same two guy characters from every other book and making them girls instead. And there was something about cloning too (none of it I actually saw), called Forgeries here, except it didn't do much of anything for the plot expect provide another reason to hate the dystopian government who can now add human experimentation to the long list of its crimes. Yawn.

So Taken starts from a good premise, and kept my interest at first by not showing its hand and revealing the true extent of what's going on. But once that first card was revealed, the rest of the hand becomes so transparent the story did nothing for me after that. Disappointing.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16k followers
January 12, 2013
So I really wanted to like this one, but I just didn’t and the more I think about it, the less I like it. For me, the biggest problem was Gray, whose head we experience the world in. If you don’t like a protagonist in a novel that is narrated in the first person then that’s an immediate problem – one that is probably highly dependent on the individual reading. Gray just didn’t feel like a real character to me. It was hard to explain exactly what it was I didn’t like about his personality, but when I made a list of Gray’s characteristics: Angry, impulsive, curious – and realized that was all I could say about him, I figured that was a pretty good indication.

Actually, the focus on the novel really is largely on the characters, which was unfortunate for me because I simply couldn’t connect to them. I couldn’t really name my favourite other than a slightly more preferential nod toward Bree. But the others tended to fall under a giant banner of Meh from which none of the actions of plot developments could rescue them.

The world building was interesting, and is at least certainly different, though a little M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village for my taste. FULL OF TWISTS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

twist

But, having said that, at least the world building was interesting. What I did find intriguing is the number of typos. And, yes, it is an ARC so I expect they’ll all be fixed up by the time Taken goes to print. I’m just still not used to seeing that many typos in an ARC. My only real issue with the writing was how often it turned from an engaged narration to a reflective one.

And not that that’s bad because different tones represent different kinds of story telling, but it would spend a lot of time in reflective mode which involved a lot of summarizing and musing which kind of stalled it up a bit. When I would have liked to have seen these things, even briefly rather than just hear about them. Particularly at the end where it felt like the reflective tone started just a little too early and spent an inordinately long time wrapping up events that would probably have been better off not being consigned to a summary of their happenings.

Also, and this is really weird to complain about but… but… GRAY HITS A GIRL! Like just punches her in the face. Now can I mention that she was being a horrible, nasty person. And my feminist instincts would say that if you’re an equal opportunity douche, then you maybe can get an equal opportunity punch in the face. But… But… DUDE!

wasn't cool

She does slog him a good one back, but the thing is, most women can’t hit anywhere near as hard as a man can. So hitting kind of takes it into unfair territory. I know Gray is impulsive and angry and that takes up 2 out of 3 of his personality traits – but wasn’t there a better way to show this than beating up on some girl and putting her in the medical bay?
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,520 reviews33.8k followers
February 24, 2013
If you guess the big twist in the very first chapter, it definitely affects the way you view the rest of the book. But then again, there are books/films I can experience over and over again knowing full well what happens, and I still love them. Unfortunately, this one doesn't fall into that category, even on first reading--what a disappointment!

Review to come.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,867 followers
April 16, 2013
It took me over a month to read Taken, which must be some kind of a record for me. I don’t usually do that – I either finish the book right away, or I just give up. Taken didn’t grab me as it should have, but at the same time, I felt that abandoning it would be unjustified since there was nothing technically wrong with it. In the end, I managed to talk myself into finishing it, but aside from a few gripping moments, my effort brought me no reward. I should have saved myself the trouble.

On the surface, nothing seems to be wrong with Taken. It’s a tightly-paced dystopian story full of surprises and excitement. Gray escapes one walled society, only to find himself in the second and then the third, each with its own set of rules. That, in itself, was part of the problem. Bowman tried to do too much, changed the course far too often, and ended up with a crammed plot and incomplete worldbuilding. In her desire to be original, she took on too much. A messy and unsatisfying story was the result.

Her protagonist(s) didn’t help matters much. I disliked Gray from the very first page, and not a single one of his emotions felt genuine at first. With the progression of the story, he became slightly more acceptable, but I never warmed up to him as much as I should have. For years Gray has been in love with Emma, but their circumstances, the rules of their society made him think that a future together would be impossible. And then suddenly, they got paired up to procreate (which was very creepy in itself) and even though Emma practically despised him until that point, he changed her mind with no more than two sentences. Instalove (and it was instalove on her part) makes me so very uncomfortable, and it didn’t help that Emma herself was very plain and weak.

To make matters much worse, this instalove was followed by another trope I utterly despise. Love triangles seem to be out of fashion, and while this would normally make me ecstatic, the fact that they were replaced by love rectangles drives me to despair instead. I am tired of unnecessary romantic complications and I want to read a story in which a couple faces troubles coming from the outside. I think that would be far more interesting. With the exception of Bree, all the participants in this love mess (Gray, Emma and that guy whose name I don’t remember) deserve to be alone for all eternity. The words obnoxious, selfish and clueless accurately describe them all.

If there is one thing going for Taken, it’s that it doesn’t end with a cliffhanger. Although many things were left unresolved, the last chapter still gave me a satisfactory conclusion. Gray’s complicated and tentative relationship with his father is another thing I wanted to highlight. It gave his character some much needed vulnerability and it made at least some of his actions seem more understandable, if not entirely acceptable.

All in all, there’s no denying that Erin Bowman’s debut is a thrill ride and should be taken as such. Characters are everything to me and if I can’t sympathize with them, I’m not likely to enjoy any book, but if you’re looking for an exciting read with a whole lot of twists and turns, then this is a very good choice for you.


Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,417 reviews1,333 followers
September 29, 2014
First of all... Dystopian told in a male point of view...

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And let me tell you, Erin Bowman does not disappoint.

In Claysoot, men are in the minority, in fact, there aren't any past the age of eighteen. At midnight on a boys eighteenth birthday, the Heist happens. "The ground shakes, the wind howls and a blinding light descends... and he's gone." The older residents don't remember much about how Claysoot came about only that they woke up and found themselves in the walled in city and shortly after is when the young men started disappearing.

Gray Weathersby has just watched his older brother be taken and now has just 12 months until his eighteenth birthday to figure out how to avoid being Taken himself. He can either stay in Claysoot and wait it out, or he can climb the wall and try to find out what truly happens outside their small town.

I'm not sure I can explain how much I loved this...

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The twists and turns that Bowman had in this story had me wishing someone was reading along with me so I could turn to them and say "did that just really happen?"

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First, the story is so far from predictable. You think you've read every dystopian plot out there... you're wrong. This one is so different and so well developed and so intriguing. I was dying to get my hands on this one, and I was blown away.

The mystery surrounding Claysoot and the Heists is so original and unpredictable and just execellently developed. Everything made sense and fell into place as the story progressed at a perfect pace. I didn't feel anything was rushed, least of all the world building. Bowman has created an original and interesting world for these characters.

But this story has so many layers... it's not just about Claysoot, it's also what is beyond their walls and how Gray makes his way. Twist after twist keep this story moving along and each one was more brilliant than the next.

Like you might have noticed above, I'm a sucker for a good male pov, and I won't lie, I worried a bit that this would fall flat. IT DID NOT. I thought Gray was completely believably written as a male teenager. And even though he was selfish and impulsive and didn't quite think things through, he was totally likable. While I'm not a fan of love triangles (Who is really?) this one was done really well, and I know who I'm rooting for that's for sure. AND once again we have a novel that manages to incorporate a little bit of romance for us who adore it, without it taking over the whole plot of the story.

I normally try to incorporate some quotes in my reviews, but I can't even really do that here... while I highlighted a ton of things in my copy, I don't want to spoil anything for readers and so you'll just have to take my word on the genius of the dialogue and writing! I can't even tell you much about the secondary characters without ruining things!

So... what I'm saying is that on April 16th you need to buy this book... no matter what, get to the store and get it!

If you're looking for incredible world building, fantastic writing, non-stop action and brilliant plot at a perfect pace, than this book is for you. I am excited to see where Bowman takes Gray and the rest of her characters in the next book in this series.

Thank you to HarperTeen for providing a copy for an honest review.

This review can be found on my blog, Fic Fare


Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews732 followers
April 9, 2013
Taken was another book which I was extremely looking forward to reading. It had a unique premise; at 18 years old, boys in Claysoot are Heisted, why did this happen no one knew, but it was a ritual established in Claysoot for many years. These boys were also meant to be slated before their Heist, these slatings were organised eventually to result in an offspring, so that they would continue their family line, before they were Heisted. With everyone just accepting this extraordinary phenomena I was surprised that in the many years, no one had ever decided to dig around and find out why this heist actually occurred, why at that age and where the heck did these boys disappear to? There were some boys who refused to accept it and tried to escape over the wall, with who knows what was lurking behind there? But they never survived. So I was glad after losing his brother Gray decided to take it upon himself to get to the bottom of the truth.

These beliefs that there were nothing beyond the wall and that being Heisted was a necessary part of Claysoot had been instilled into this society for a long time. So after discovering some shocking things Gray decided to risk his life in finding out the truth. Gray was a character who at first I found easy to connect to, he constantly found himself in his older brother Blaine’s limelight, his impulsive behaviour everyone picked on and the several comparisons of why couldn’t he be more like Blaine would bug anyone. So despite having to lose Blaine in the Heist, I think it was completely necessary to Gray’s character building as it motivated him into action.

What was on the other side of the wall I was extremely eager to find out about, but this is where the story fell flat for me. Some of the discoveries they made along the way did come as quite a surprise to me but there were parts that I found to be lacklustre in places. I think it may be that I was imagining that out of this world extraordinary things could be lurking behind the wall but instead we got a case of lots of finger pointing and no clue about who to believe. The later development of the love triangle kind of buggered things over for me to, I think it was sort of unnecessary and wished that certain characters hadn’t made impulsive decisions that led to it in the first place.

Taken was the first book in the series with a lot of potential to deliver, I think with this book it was a case of it not being my cup of tea. As a lot of the early reviews from several blogging friends show that they really enjoyed it. I guess I’m more miffed with myself for not enjoying it as much as I did, as I had high hopes that I would find this to be a thrilling new series I could dive into. But unfortunately I don’t think this will be the case.
Profile Image for Jenni Arndt.
438 reviews331 followers
April 10, 2013
After seeing some not so favorable reviews of Taken roll in, I was pretty wary going into the novel. I was told by multiple sources to lower my expectations in hopes that if I did it would seem better. So lower my expectations I did, and it did not work. This novel was full of unrealistic conveniences, a terrible love triangle and a male MC who made me want to pull my hair out. I don’t really have anything positive to say about the novel so we will see how this goes.

I’ll start with Gray. What a terrible person this guy was. He was so impulsive & full of rage and I hated him from chapter one (in which he punches a girl in the face and stomach.) His brother is getting heisted and even at the goodbye ceremony he has all of these jealous thoughts that made me so angry. You are about to lose your brother forever, let your shit go and give him a proper farewell you ass! I can see where his rage was supposed to have come from, he was living in his perfect brother’s shadow his whole life and found out he was lied to by both his brother and his mother but it was much too over the top for me. I also didn’t see much growth in his character, even at the end of the novel he is super jealous and does stupid things to get revenge on people he is supposed to love.

Speaking of love, there is a love triangle here you guys, and it’s a doozy. Here is my favorite quote: “The best I do is nod in and out of consciousness, my arms always hugging Bree, but my eyes always lingering on Emma..” Oh please, first of all this guy was such an ass I can’t fathom why either of these girls wanted him. I guess when there is a shortage of men you will go for anything. Also, I never bought the supposed “love” between Emma and Gray. In the first chapter so much is done to enforce her distaste with his character and the fact that she has always had a thing for his older brother, Blaine. But once Blaine is heisted Emma and Gray immediately get up to all sorts of tomfoolery and are claiming love in a matter of days. I knew that he always had a thing for her, but her mood switch was far too abrupt to be believable.

Speaking of believable (ha notice a trend here? Worst transitions ever, that is the trend.) The conveniences that popped up here and there to advance the plot were just way too perfect. Breaking into a final room and all of a sudden someone pops up that you had no idea existed prior to that scene who is on the right side in the right place at the right time, it was just far too easy. The novel comes with it’s fair share of twists but none of them felt that way because it was so easy to see what was coming a mile away. There is so much of the story that is just way too typical for the genre that it didn’t stand out at all.

This is definitely not a novel that I can recommend. With a flood of dystopians hitting the shelves there has to be something special for one to stand out and this one just doesn’t pack the punch that it needs to. It’s terribly cliche, and is full of dialogue that feels uncomfortable and forced. If I can give you one tip for your Spring reading list it would be to avoid Taken as best as you can.

An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

--

You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.
Profile Image for Zeynep.
104 reviews28 followers
December 5, 2017
Bence daha ilk sayfadan okuru kitaba bağlayan bir kurguya sahip Tutsak. Heyecanlı heyecanlı geçip duruyorsunuz sayfaları ama benim için minik eksiklikleri vardı. Aksiyon yüksekti ama beni inanılmaz şaşırtacak şeyler de bekledim açıkçası."Yok artık!" dedirtecek birkaç şey olsaydı daha güzel olabilirdi.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
949 reviews731 followers
May 27, 2015
"Second chance is not the same as forgiveness."


Oftentimes, I don't read the blurb. I usually add books to my list because of the cover and the genre. By genre, I mean dystopia or sci-fi most of the time. And Taken is one of those books. I really love the cover of this book like seriously.

When I started reading the book, I have no idea what it was all about but after a few chapters, I understand what the book wants to deliver to me. Though I sense a well-used plot of something about "walls", "experiments", "rebels", I don't care because I enjoyed reading this one and I devoured it in a matter of hours.

I find the writing simply to grasp and understand, though I also sense something off about it which occasionally bothered me. However, I can't pinpoint it out. The flow of the story in the beginning, was quite rushed for me and the detailing appeared to be lacking in minimum sense. Nevertheless, the author built the world in a good way, unraveling the mysteries carefully, answering the questions in intricate way and supplying twists unexpectedly.

The only problem is that the origin of the battle between the AmEast and AmWest wasn't furnished well or I just didn't pay attention? (The blame is on me, I think. Hah!). The characterization was also good though I really thought that the point of view, at first, belongs to a girl but I sit corrected, it was a boy. It was also quite off for me that the main character easily accepts that he was a product of an experiment or something like that.

Anyway, a good read.
Profile Image for Z (Through The Inked Pages).
77 reviews9 followers
October 26, 2014
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

Spoilers ahead

This is the most confusing book to review. I probably won't even make sense, but I just have to try.



There were so many things wrong with Taken, and I blame Gray's character development for the most part. The plot is nothing new (but it's still okay) and the overall concept didn't feel dystopian whatsoever.
dystopia - An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.
Taken may meets this standard, but it fails so horribly at giving that feeling. I can't really explain it, but think of Divergent and The Hunger Games . Pretty awesome, right? But no. Taken is set in the modern time with a pansy leader who isolate five groups to experiment on and then start grabbing the most powerful of genders in each one depending on their age. At first it did feel dystopian, but after they got into the car, it just totally strayed away from the genre. Here's where I just started crying because there were NO. FLYING. CARS. and I was mislead by Bowman's word choice:
"'Let's go,' I say. I slide into the car and she follows my lead.
Marco says something to his partner, but a clear panel divides the front seats from the rear and his words are muffled and flat. I can hear the car, though, rumbling beneath us. Emma leans into my shoulder, and suddenly we are flying."


Next chapter,
"We rattle ahead, the car lurching over uneven ground."


Maybe I'm just overreacting, but I still had high expectations for Taken.

You're probably wondering why I have so many problems with Taken, but still rated it 2.5 stars. Well, Bree (my one and only love) and a couple of minor plot twist along with a bit of action kept me reading. If a book ever makes me want to rush to the end, then it deserves a good 2 stars or lower. However, I was entertained. I'll get to that after I explain what I hate.

What I hate about Taken:
Gray, the MC. It's true, he is annoying most of the time. In the beginning, he has anger issues that he gets from his father. I came up with an excuse as to why he's such an asshat because I wanted to like him, but as I progressed through the book, I thought NO MORE. You can't blame his genes, and you can't blame his teenage hormones. He's just a stubborn idiot. Not only that, but after he found out God's grace (that's what I'm calling it to hide spoilers), he continues to be an asshole to Bree:
Bree: "'You come in wearing that horrible Order uniform, and we spares, nurse you back to health. We take unnecessary risks for you because you're *God's grace*. And instead of seeing what's happenings around you, you focus on how we've treated you unfairly?'
I roll my eyes, uninterested in arguing with her. 'Maybe you should have shot me then, Bree...Maybe that would have made things easier for you.'"


Um, you just witnessed Heaven yet you're being a sassy pansy, Gray? There are so many things going on right now but you're focused on the fact that they had to test you to see if you're really who you say you are. Here's a tip: IT'S CALLED TAKING PRECAUTIONS.

There is so much stupidity radiating off of Gray that it's unbelievable at times. But it's just one idiot, who cares, right? No. Emma comes along in the end being a slattern (had to look up a nice way to say that) and Gray sees, but she's like, "No. It's not like that. I was lost and heartbroken. Given me a second chance." I'm just sitting here thinking, girl, you are telling him this while you're still naked under the covers.



Moving onward.

The supposed "plot twists." All except three plot twists were easily predictable from the moment I read them, and these were the significant ones. Honestly. I like to engage in my reads and try not to predict the outcome, but just reading one sentence blew everything. While Bowman approached the outcome with suspense, my heart didn't race and I didn't grip the book. I didn't gnaw my nails off and my eyes didn't widen. You know what I did? Nothing except read on to it because I already knew, not guessed, it.

The setting. Dystopian? Oooo, I can't wait to see some awesome machinery and advanced technology with badass rebels. *reads about regular cities, a ridiculous leader gathering an army for what I do not know, intercoms, bow and arrows, ugly vans* What?

The hot-ass-mess love-triangle. It's obvious who Gray should choose. But after reading this, Gray doesn't deserve Bree. Gray wants revenge on Emma by using Bree without her knowing, and the only thing that I made out of it was Gray being a

My expectations. There it is, flying away unlike the car that didn't actually fly. After Part 1, I expected Part 2 to be pretty good. Wrong. After Part 2, that's when my expectations went berserk. The next half of Taken seemed like a promise to fulfill a piece of my soul that was taken away. Wrong again. It improved only slightly because of the introduce characters, but other than that, blah.

What I actually liked about Taken:
Bree. Bree reminds me of Ringer from The 5th Wave : totally badass, stoic, and skillful. She's not some wannabe who will cry for Gray and run after him naked.
"'I guess that depends on how you feel. I've made myself clear. You're the one who has to make up his mind.'"
Emma, how is a sixteen-year-old girl going to be wicked and not yourself?

Harvey. Am I the only one that just fell head-over-heels in love with this adorable, grown man? I love how he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the Rebels and will risk his own blood to do it. It's not as if he does it out of reluctance, he is literally happy to do whatever.

The fast-paced action. Taken is undeniably fast-paced and balanced with action. I wouldn't say there is a lot of combat in Taken, but the events laid out throughout the book was enough to keep my attention drawn here instead of elsewhere.

Gray improved just a teensy-weensy bit. Just a bit. (He stopped hitting girls! Yay!) And he actually felt bad for his moronic choices and not caring about the events around him. However, that doesn't mean he's going to change completely in the next book. Usually I never read the sequel to a book I didn't like so much, but I am just going to read for Bree.

All in all, don't get your hopes up with this book. In fact, here is a life-long lesson so you won't be disappointED with future comings (not just about books):



Review available on: Stop and Smell The Books
Profile Image for Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews).
1,694 reviews870 followers
July 21, 2015
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

I am so disappointed. I had such a good streak going. Three, nearly four, months and eighty books into 2013, I'd only had one 1-star read before this. I started Taken with high hopes - that cover! that synopsis! - that quickly, and I mean QUICKLY, plummeted from "this is going to be good!" to "Oh, no..." to "To DNF or to not DNF?" to "I just want this to be over." Thankfully, my pain was rather short lived this time. Taken is three hundred odd pages, but there's so little depth to the world or the characters that it's a thankfully fast-moving read. In the end, I have to recognize that this was just a book that was not meant for me and abandon the series.

I knew thirteen pages into Taken that this was going to be a rocky road. My main and first issue was with the main character and narrator, Gray Weathersby. Erin Bowman can write an authentic male voice, but she utterly failed to create a likeable, or even interesting, one. Gray is a jerk, and Gray is rather short-sighted. He was awful, and he was where the cracks started to show. If you can get around Gray's 'tude, you will find Taken a more fun read than I did. I can see my way to loving some awful characters, anti-heroes (Jaime Lannister, anyone? I adore him. Don't judge me.) and even villains (Sepp dan Teufel is my favorite character from The Blade Itself trilogy, and he is a horrid, broken man). But they, unlike Gray, manage to be interesting, complex in their moral failings and errors. They are more than the worse of them. Alternatively, Gray is just a brat. With lifelong insecurity issues.

The other characters don't do much to take the heat and focus off of Gray's long list of shortcomings. Everyone in the book is so one-dimensional and flat. Emma, the *first* love interest, flipflops from one side of an idea to the other in pages. Her affection does the same, and her characterization is pretty much null. Blaine, the brother, is a Larry Stu, and thus practically perfect. There's no complexity or intricacy to the characters or their relationships with one another. It's alllll surface. I need more, and the book needs more - I need depth and real characterization to care about what's going on to the characters. Otherwise, I get bored and start counting down the pages til: a. everyone dies or b. the book ends.

I kept running into issues with the plot and the progression of the story as it went along. There are too many tropes (instalove! Love triangles!), cliches, and conveniences to be found in Taken. It's just too much to be believable. I have a great suspension of disbelief, but after a point, I just... can't. Gray's entire motivation and actions are too easy, and almost of the twists and conflicts he runs into end quickly, usually in a deux-ex-machina kind of way. The plotholes in the story also started to add up as more and more is revealed about the world Gray exists within. All of that adds up to more than I can buy into. And if I can't identify or relate or even care about the characters, if the plot falls apart with closer examination, and if it's a passionless, easy affair, I'm out.

Taken is a great idea that falters out of the gate with its muddled execution. The long and short of it is that a good, original and mysterious concept is not enough to carry a novel, especially one that's hundreds of pages. The novelty and curiously wear thin, and then out completely. The series will continue with books two and three, but I will not be reading to see how it all plays out.
Profile Image for Irmak.
400 reviews837 followers
August 20, 2016
İkinci kitap ne zaman çıkacak acaba şimdiden bunu düşünmeye başladım :')
Kitaptan gerçekten çok keyif aldım. Bir kere yazarın dili inanılmaz akıcıydı. Ve her şey yanı başımda oluyor gibi gözümde canlandırabiliyordum.
Kitap distopya klişeleri ile doluydu. Duvarlarla çevrilmiş bir bölge. Sisteme karşı gelen ve duvarı aşan 18 yaşında bir genç. Yanı bütün distopyalarda gördüğümüz şeyler.
Ben klişeleri seven bir insanım yalan yok :') O yüzden okurken hiç sıkılmadım. Gayet keyif alarakta okudum. Distopya okumaya yeni başlamış olanların daha da seveceğini düşünüyorum. Çünkü dili de ağır değildi, akıp gitti.
Sadece Gray duvarı geçtikten sonraki süreç çok hızlı gelişti gibi geldi bana. Keşke yazar biraz daha yayarak anlatsaydı. Böyle hızlı gelişmesi de tempoyu hiç düşürmemesine yardımcı olmuş orası da ayrı konu. Çünkü kitapta tempo bir an bile düşmedi.
Bree sanırım en sevdiğim karakter oldu. Bayılıyorum böyle güçlü kadın karakterlere. Devam kitaplarında kendisini bol bol okuyacağız diye umuyorum zira o son nereye gidiyor hiç belli değildi.
Ama o son o güzel son :') Gerçekten devamını bir an önce okumak istiyorum.
Akıcı, kafa dağıtmalık bir şeyler arıyorsanız bu kitap o kitap :')
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews333 followers
December 24, 2012
I liked that Bowman tried to make this book different with the strange, and slightly disturbing concept. But by the end, I felt that she pulled out all the stops, and it ended up being your typical dystopian.

THE HEISTS - I'm a huge dystopian fan, but these days, there is such an influx of them, and they really do all start sounding the same. So I'm all for a different concept - even if it's a bit riske. I think Bowman was very bold to create a society where boys disappear on the 18th birthday. They weren't exactly oppressed, though their standards of living seemed pretty primitive. And they had to fast-track a lot of things - growing up, training for jobs, slating and mating - as they prepare for the inevitable.

I do think Bowman could have a worked a little more on world-building because 1) I didn't even know how old Kale was until 2/3 through the book, she's under 3 by the way and 2) the concept of the wall wasn't really clear, as in I couldn't figure out what was the dangerous part beyond the wall, and I wasn't clear why or especially how these bodies were coming back - do they just magically appeared charred or someone brought them back. And the secret Blaine had been hiding from Gray was very intriguing indeed.

BEHIND IT ALL - With that interesting concept, I have to turn to the big question, "Why was such a society created." And that was kind of where the book, while entertaining enough, failed to meet my expectations.

The story was by no means unpredictable. It was not hard to guess who were the good guys and the bad guys, and I knew there were certain people who didn't seem important would have a greater role in the grand scheme of things.

Here was where the problems started. Bowman began pulling all of the tricks out of her hat into creating your typical dystopian and that I'm left wondering, "Where the heck did that come from, and how is that really going to fit in here?"

MAJOR SPOILERS ALERT! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAD NOT READ THE BOOK!

So overall, did I like this book? Yes, I was entertained because there was a good mix of a unique concept, some strange but evident romance (although the last quarter kind of pissed me off), interesting characters, and a little bit of action at the end. However, despite the intriguing start, the rest of the book just failed to blow me away, and I felt Bowman wasted such great potential.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,670 reviews1,268 followers
April 2, 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss.)
Gray’s brother Blaine is about to turn 18, which means that he will soon be lost to the ‘heist’. Every male in Claysoot is taken at the strike of midnight on their 18th birthday, the ground shakes and a bright light envelops them, and then they are gone.

With Blaine gone, Gray is alone, apart from Emma, a girl who was Blaine’s best friend, who Gray has always had feelings for. With Blaine no longer in the picture, a romantic relationship forms between Gray and Emma, but when Gray discovers a secret that was hidden from him by his mother and brother, he begins to believe that maybe he is special, maybe he can beat the heist.

Taking very little, and saying goodbye to only Emma, Gray heads for the boundry wall, the wall that surrounds Claysoot. No-one who has tried to leave over the boundry wall has survived, but Gray goes over it anyway, he’s in for a shock when he realises that Emma has followed him though.
What lies on the other side of the wall? Can anyone beat the Heist? And why is Gray special?


This was a great dystopian adventure, with plenty of twists and turns and a dash of romance.

This book grabbed me from about the 10% mark, and was a really compelling read! Gray discovered a letter from his mother to his brother than stopped at a crucial point, and I was just as desperate to find out what the rest of the letter said as Gray was!

Gray was quite a tough, headstrong character, and although he tried to keep others safe, he thought little of his own safety, and often just did what he wanted to do, and never mind if it might kill him. He was quite a blunt character too, and not afraid to let people know that he didn’t like them, even when that involved punching a girl in the face!
I liked the romance between Gray and Emma, and their relationship was really sweet. I was also really impressed when Emma followed Gray over the wall – it was unexpected, and a real girl-power move!

There were plenty of twists in this story, and plenty of things that I didn’t see coming! I was shocked in several places, and there was a real feeling of trepidation and intrigue woven into the story.

Overall; a fast-paced dystopian adventure, with plenty of twists and surprises.
9 out of 10.
Profile Image for Alexa.
350 reviews286 followers
March 16, 2013

My review can also be found on my blog Collections.

May contain minor spoilers.

Taken started off good for me. Even though I had an idea where the story was headed, I was still immediately intrigued with what the main character Gray was going through, and I really liked that the book was from the male perspective. I couldn't wait to know more about him and Emma, the girl he liked, and watch their relationship develop while they tried to solve the mystery revolving around the Heist.

Unfortunately my feelings for Taken changed drastically as the story went on. I almost wish Gray and Emma had stayed in their village Claysoot. Because once they left that's when things began to go downhill and into strange, make-no-sense territory. Their reaction to their new surrounding did not feel realistic. They seemed to accept things easily, and at the same time, they quickly figured out when someone wasn't trustworthy or when something wasn't quite right. The pacing of parts of the story did not help at all. Certain situations were rushed and resolved with what I thought was not much time or effort. There were many holes and flaws in the story that just made everything even more unbelievable for me.

Although that all bothered me a bit, it was nothing compared to how I started to feel about Gray's character and the weird direction of the romance. I liked Gray in the beginning. He seemed like a pretty good guy who only wanted to make things better for those he cared about. But as the story progressed, I found him to be such a selfish and hypocritical person. His character shift began once another love interest for him was introduced, which I felt came out of nowhere. The new love interest, Bree, was not a character I ever connected to or liked. Her relationship with Gray was a whole lot more telling than showing compared to his development with Emma in the beginning. And Gray can whine all he wants about what Emma did. At least she had a good reason. What was his excuse for being cruel to her, especially considering the slatings they went through in Claysoot? Gray's treatment of Emma was unforgivable in my eyes. I have to say this was one of the worst love-triangles I've read in a while. I almost couldn't believe what I was reading.

Taken truly had a promising beginning. In the end, that beginning couldn't make up for what happened next: a story full of holes, a rushed pace, unlikeable characters (actually, I liked Blaine and Emma but sadly they weren't important enough for Gray's story), and a random love-triangle that destroyed whatever hope I had left of liking this book.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 18, 2013
I started this book on January 11, and I didn't pick it up at all in February. Finally, sick of having it on my currently reading shelf, I picked it up again on March 18, and determined to power through. Well, obviously I wasn't that into it to begin with if I left it alone for a month and a half. It shouldn't take me two months to read a book.

Picking it back up, I was even more bored than before, with no patience for the unnecessary descriptions (two boys are carrying water and either have blisters or callouses - FASCINATING).

Plus, I've read some reviews and it seems like most of the people who have enjoyed Taken liked Gray, and I feel nothing but annoyance for him. From what I've heard he only gets worse, and I'm already feeling stabbity. Engagement with the MC is crucial in first person narratives, and I do not have it.

So I'm marking this DNF, because I don't think it's right for me. I don't care enough to get force myself through it and write a negative review.
Profile Image for Andis / Slytherin 🐍.
34 reviews18 followers
April 30, 2015
4.5 stars

I loved this book! It had me at the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.
This was one of those books that you just want to hug because it was just THAT good.
Profile Image for Shanyn.
375 reviews141 followers
January 26, 2013
It takes a little extra oomph for me to pick up a dystopian or paranormal novel over a contemporary, and for TAKEN it was the cover and mention of excitement on countless blogs for a Top Ten Tuesday feature. I had heard about it here and there but hadn't really committed myself to reading it until so many blogs exclaimed excitement and I decided to look into it for myself.

Full Review: http://chickloveslit.com/2013/01/revi...
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,231 followers
July 12, 2016
**Fair warning:  this review will contain spoilers, ranting, and likely some swear words.**

I was excited to get my hands on an ARC of this book.  It had some serious potential, and I couldn't wait to find out what that whole Heist situation was about.  But I quit reading at page 132, so I guess someone's just going to have to tell me.  Nothing major happened on that particular page, and I hadn't yet thrown the book across the room, but I'd had enough.  The throwing fit was coming, and I could've used an outlet for my frustration at that point, but instead, I decided to cut my losses.

I was so pumped to read another novel from the male perspective, but this doesn't read like that at all.  It reads like a male POV written from a grown woman's perspective.  And the dialogue!  It was cringe-inducing at best and left me feeling like I was reading about 12-year-olds instead of kids who were supposedly considered adults in their community:
     "No, that's not what I meant."..."I'm trying to say that I think doing what you feel can't always be easy, but at least you're being true to yourself."
     "It's okay, Emma, you don't have to try to make me seem like a better person.  You don't have to justify why it's all right to spend time with me."

     "I ...I wanted...Well, fine, Gray!  It's nice to see you, too."

And then there's the way sex is [mis]handled in this book.  I get it:  adulthood has to come a lot earlier when all boys are Heisted on their 18th birthdays.  But that does not mean all kids over the age of 15 should have to consent to the Slating.  For those of you not in the know, Slating is a system of matching up boys and girls for a month at a time in hopes of procreation and growing the population so that these people don't dwindle away into nothingness.  Fine.  But there are some kids who don't like this arrangement.  And others who only agree to it because it's what's expected of them.  Blaine's situation, fathering a child knowing that you're going to be Taken from them, is all the more reason to avoid the whole thing.  Gray does just this, possibly the only thing I liked about his character.  Sure, he's completed Slatings, but he assures us he's done everything to avoid becoming a father only to have to leave his child behind when the time comes.  But no one else, save for Emma, seems to have this aversion to the Slatings.

As I said, I didn't even get halfway through the book.  But I've been informed by other readers that the romance gets a little convoluted, as well.  It's not a love triangle but a freaking rectangle.  Why am I not surprised?  Apparently, sometime after Gray and Emma make it over the wall and are picked up by those other guys, Gray goes missing.  While he's gone -- my friend Em tells me he was missing for approximately a month -- Emma reunites with that one guy that she actually completed a Slating with and they have sex.  And I believe Gray meets Bree while he's missing and there's something between them, too.  Just knowing this makes me glad I stopped reading when I did.

Also, all those boys who were Heisted?  They're in a community on the other side of the wall.  Including Blaine.  And also, apparently their father.  How the hell can these guys not go back for their families?  I flipped through the pages and saw something about a resistance.  Is that what they're fighting?  Were there ever any freaking monsters on the other side of the wall?  Do I really care anymore?

I could rant forever on this.  In fact, Em was hoping I would finish so we could rant together for hours.  But I just couldn't put myself through that torture.  Needless to say, I will not be picking up further installments in this series.

Rating:  DNF - But I think Joaquin more adequately expresses my feelings on the matter...

The Gladiator

But there are plenty who have really enjoyed this book.  Check out some positive reviews below:

The Book Hookup
Finding Bliss in Books
Step into Fiction

An ARC of this novel was provided by HarperTeen.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Profile Image for Kevin.
174 reviews31 followers
January 25, 2013
3.5 Stars

I feel like there was one reason in particular most readers would want to read this, to find out what all this "Heist" business is about.

I've read several books just due to my interest level concerning the twist or the big reveal, but Taken has got to be one of the more disappointing books in terms of its big "twist." The rest of it was mighty fine, and I would even stretch to say I was into most of it...but this twist..

I'm obviously not going to reveal what happens, but it is discovered pretty early in the book, where as I thought the whole book would be about it, and when it happens you're pretty much just like, 'that's it?' I wanted so so much more from it, but I guess the rest of the book wouldn't of made sense if it went a different direction? So yeah.

Taken felt to me like a combination of different dystopian books all poured into one. I would often wonder what book was even going to come out of all this clutter. So to say that I enjoyed it for the most part, was even surprising to me.

The Story

After the "big" reveal early in the book, it turns more into a conspiracy laden concept between two sides wanting two very different things. At first you are not sure who is telling the truth and who can be trusted, but as that slowly becomes clear the story loses its complexity. It went from intriguing inter-personals, to flat out survival in a matter of pages. I was grateful that the journey portion of the book went rather quickly and we got to learn about different people and ideas concerning the society.

The book really benefited from the lack of world building early on. Gray, the main character, had no idea of what was going on, other than what he was told, which was clearly a lie. Once he starts to search for his own answers, we the readers learn how the society came about and what the big issues are concerning the rest of the series. I like being in the main character's shoes and wondering what to believe, and what to throw away as just another bad theory. I still don't feel the story though is incredibly interesting. I just didn't feel the rush or care to much for how things turned out at parts, which was not not good.

The Characters

Let's start with Gray. Gray, named after his matching eye color, and I did not start off on the right foot. He BEAT up a girl! Like full-on punching in the face! I mean she did say some nasty things to him, and got her shots in on him. It still was just a weird weird part. I thought this girl would be around longer in the book..but I think shes mentioned like one time more. Okay then.
He grew on me though, he didn't just let things happen, he asked questions, he kicked some ass and he became so much more by the end of the book. His growth was great, even if he has a real bad anger problem.

Bree and Emma: the two sides of a love triangle I have no interest in. I liked Emma early on, and where her relationship with Gray was going, but then they were separated and yeah...there went that theory. Emma truly didn't have much of an impact on the actual story, but her involvement made Gray want to be more involved in general, so there's that. I want to see if there is more to Emma and her involvement in the changes the society is going through.
Then there is Bree who is one bad-ass chick with an attitude to go with it. I loved her and everything about her..till her and Gray started to happen. I think I would have preferred if they just stayed in the friend zone, but sigh, that of course wasn't meant to be. I felt she was that strong independent woman, and falling for Gray was a no.

I also liked Gray's brother Blaine. He wasn't around too much, but when he was he seemed like a caring big brother and just a nice guy. I want to know more about how he is with all the things going on around him. Also, his family seems so awesome and they need to be around more.

Overall, the book was not bad. There were things to like and things to have massive eye rolls over. I will likely read the next book if for no other reason to finally find the truth about everything that's going on. I would only really recommend to those who are REALLY into dystopian and can like them regardless of what's going on. You know who you are.

This book was provided via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews713 followers
November 30, 2012
2.5/5

TAKEN… so many things going on and I don’t know if I liked that part of it or not.

Start with a boy, almost a man really, who’s resigned to what’s coming and more than just lost over what his brother and others like him have had to suffer. Shift to that boy making some unexpected discoveries and then shift again to him being told how things are yet surprisingly enough accepting things as is. Surprising given the fact that he’s so loud, almost proud, about being reactive and gut-feel about things versus his brother’s think-then-do manner.

I’d piece the story apart in terms of where things happened. There’s Claysoot, the Center, the Rebel strongholds. Were we to take each bit as a separate thing, I think each bit would have been a stronger basis for story. As is lumping them all together as they were, we come away with a bland story. You’ve got what’s supposed to be the highlights from each part smooshed together, and one is bombarded by these things that should be interesting, but shockingly enough… bored me! I’ve read better post-whatever stories before. I’ve read better stories of societies under the heel of manipulative tyrants, too. I’ve even read some stories with desperate rebels doing what they could. And TAKEN has all of those, but sadly it felt bland to me.

The sad fact is the only time I truly was more than engaged as in ‘what an asshole move that was!’ was when Gray was actually pulling said actual ass hole move. I did root for him; I did want him to survive and all that, but my emotions were never truly engaged ‘till that one asshole move by him. I even respected him admitting himself selfish. Plus, the whole experiment set up and their outcome was more than just interesting, but all that was too little in the grand scheme of things. And that may be the problem with this one: All so grand in scope that the details were lacking.

Thank You Edelweiss!

Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,287 reviews72 followers
March 31, 2013
TAKEN was a very promising debut novel. The characters were well-written and well-rounded and the writing didn't get in the way of the story. There was enough description and world-building and the author didn't inundate us with large info-dumps.

TAKEN stands out among the large current crop of dystopias because of its well thought out plot and intriguing characters. Grey Weatherby is the younger more impulsive brother. When his older brother Blaine reaches eighteen and is removed from their town of Claysoot--"heisted" as the residents say, Grey doesn't know what he should do next. When he finds a part of a letter that his mother wrote Blaine as she was dying, he begins to look for answers to the new questions it brings up.

Grey decides to climb the wall that surrounds Claysoot, even though everyone else who has tried has been found near the inner wall as a burned up body. Learning that he was a twin and has passed the time when he should have been heisted, makes him believe that he will be able to successfully cross over the wall. But he doesn't go alone. Grey has had a crush on Emma, the healer's daughter, for a long time but she seemed to prefer Blaine. Now that Blaine is gone and Grey has been slated for Emma, they become better friends. When Grey leaves, Emma follows him. Together they discover a world that they couldn't imagine.

This story has it all--exciting adventure, great danger, a dastardly villain, and noble rebels--and Grey and Emma find themselves in the thick of it. There is even a potential love triangle as Grey meets a rebel girl named Bree who fascinates him with a courage and recklessness much like his own.

Fans of dystopias will enjoy this one. I know that I am eager to read the next book in this trilogy myself.
Profile Image for Empress Reece (Hooked on Books).
915 reviews78 followers
March 30, 2016
In Claysoot, all boys vanish on their eighteenth birthday. The residents call it the heist. They have no idea why it happens or where all of the boys go. No one has ever even questioned it, until now, that is...

I really like this book. I knew when I read the preview that I had to read it & it was going to be good. Luckily, I was not disappointed. : ) From the very beginning, I grew attached to the characters and the alternate world the story is in. The world is really unique and different from anything I've read so far, which is one reason I like it so much. The author also does a great job of creating angst and building the tension leading up to the heists. You really sympathize with the boys that are scared to death to turn 18. I really can't say any more about the plot without giving it away. If it sounds intriguing to you though, then you should definitely read it. It's a great series!


Review Posted at:
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Profile Image for Ain020596.
133 reviews
Want to read
July 20, 2012
This book sounds cool, but I think it may face a problem a lot of people face with Dystopians; What led to this dystopia in the first place? That led to something so drastic, like removing all men at the age of 18? Is it logical, or would the reason be a shoddy excuse for the foundation of the entire dystopia?

Looking forward to the book, but I hope the question gets answered!:)

PS.

description

HOLY PIXIE FAIRYDUST! What a gorgeous cover! GAH. Want. Now.
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