Author: Erin Bowmen
Series: Taken #1
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
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?
When I first discovered Taken, I was really excited about it. Then for some reason that excitement fizzled out and I contemplated not reading it at all. But I decided to give it a go anyway. Now, I’m torn on how I feel about this book. Part of me is glad I read it, and part of me wishes I hadn’t. Not that it was completely terrible, it just had some problems I had a hard time with.
Grey resides in Claysoot, a walled in town where every male is subjected to the Heist. Which means they vanish on their eighteenth birthday. Always. They literally vanish right in front of everyone. No one knows why or how, that’s just how it’s always been. There is a solution to how they keep from going extinct, even though I have some reservations about it. No one knows what is beyond the wall that surrounds Claysoot, and no one ever makes it outside alive.
Taken starts with Grey preparing for his brother, Blain, to be Heisted. Oh boy, did Grey ever start off on my bad side. Within the first couple of chapters he beat up a girl half his size because she pissed him off. Listen, I understand he was going through a lot and alluded to a rough history with this girl, but it was uncalled for. I was going to quit reading the book right then, but I was curious to see if maybe he’d be remorseful and somehow redeem himself. So I soldiered on. When it got to the part where he had the chance to appeal to my softer, more forgiving side, he did the opposite by saying “she deserved it.” No remorse or acknowledgment that it was wrong whatsoever. I found it disturbing and had little hope of ever liking him. By then, I was intrigued by the town and the Heist. I needed to know just what the heck was going on.
When Grey discovers a secret, he sets out to discover the truth of what exactly is beyond the wall. I don’t really want to give any details beyond that, because that’s part of the big mystery of the book. It became predictable and easy to figure out once it got past a certain point early in the book, though. Even so, I did find it interesting, and the story itself is what kept me engaged. The pacing was great, and the author did a good job at showing realistic reaction to the environment Grey enters.
To be completely honest, I would have enjoyed Taken a lot more if it hadn’t been for Grey’s unsavory personality. I understand that he is supposed to be fiery and stubborn. Hell, those are my favorite types of characters, but he’s so unlikable. He eventually got tolerable at one point, but then he pulled more a-hole moves. It’s not even like he’s one of those likeable jerks with a good sense of humor that I can appreciate. He’s just annoying.
Taken is the first book in the series, so I’m really torn on whether or not I want to read the next book. I would love to find out what happens next, not with Grey, but with the overall story. I was fairly confident I would, until the beginning of a love-triangle made an appearance. I’m usually okay with them, but this… gross. Two girls vying for Grey is not something I want to read about.
So, as you can see, this was a hard book for me. I’m drawn to the world building, but repelled by the main character. What’s a girl to do?