Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

by Erin Bowman
Pub date: April 16, 2013
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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?

First of all, thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for sending us an Advance Reading Copy of this book.

This was a refreshing read for me, but it's not something I would recommend to my co-blogger, Kenya. One of the many (many) differences between our reading preferences is that I'm not a romance junkie. Sure, I like good alpha male as much as the next girl, and I'm sure as heck not going to turn away from a good sex scene . . . but I don't need a strong romantic plot or subplot to fall in love with a book.

If romance is your thing, this book may not be for you. The romance takes a back seat to the rest of the story, which was just fine by me.

Taken has some similarities to Mockingjay, except it was better executed. (Sorry, Suzanne Collins fans; Mockingjay was a huge disappointment for me!) At the beginning, boys disappear from Claysoot in a flash of light on their eighteenth birthdays. Pretty cool! And when the  circumstance behind the Heists is revealed, it makes sense. The author created a believable dystopia with a rational basis. Win!

The dystopian world begins to come apart at the seams, and there's a rebellion in the making. Only unlike in Mockingjay, where the protagonist is little more than  figurehead, we get to see the main character fully involved in making a change. There were hard choices that had to be made between loved ones and freedom.

Now let's talk about the romance: I was truly torn between the two love interests. On the one hand, sweet Emma is Gray's first love. She represents innocence. But Bree has more in common with Gray toward the end of the book. She represents fight and change. I liked both of them. I also liked how Gray kept his focus on the rebellion instead of fawning all over the girls. This just made sense to me; I bought it.

So why not five stars?

I just didn't love it. It was good.

It had all the right parts. But I can't recall ever being on the edge of my seat, or feeling like my heart was being ripped out, or itching to flip ahead and see what happens. In short, this is a good, solid book with all the right ingredients. And the Heist concept is just awesome. But it didn't blow me away.

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