Sunday, April 14, 2013

ARC Review: Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
352 Pages

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?

I'm all for unique dystopian fantasies. Bring 'em on! Taken was one of those unique ones and it had a lot of potential. A lot of good could be done with it, but I found that in a lot of places where it should've been shining, it was either dull or way too much.

Things That Worked in Taken:
- Blaine
- Owen
- The construction of this futuristic world

Things That Didn't:
- Slating
- The love-triangle
- Emma's "mistake"
- Gray

I only liked two characters: Owen and Blaine. There were a few times where I liked Gray, but overall,  he was just extremely obnoxious. I didn't like Emma. I had difficulty liking Bree and none of the other characters were really shown enough, or expanded on enough for me to really react to them. They were all very one-dimensional and couldn't evoke any sort of feeling out of me if they'd tried, unless you count annoyance… I'm an emotional person, so the fact that it lacked the ability to really make me feel something made difficult for me to connect to Taken.

My favorite part of this novel, and the only part that I truly enjoyed, was the world-building. I think this book had the making of a fantastic dystopian setting, but all-in-all, this just didn't do it for me.

One of my biggest faults (if you'd consider it this way) is that I like the main character and his (or her) love interest to be all about each other. I'm a one-on-one kinda gal. That's probably why love triangles bug me so much. The thing about Taken is that intercourse and love aren't really sacred. I'm not saying that all relationships need to have both partners be virgins, but I get squicked out reading about these kids (because they are kids) basically being forced to have sex all the time. It reads as though these minors are being pimped out. That was a strike one for me. 

Strike two was literally a strike. Gray hits a girl--she hits back, but come on! I am not a hardcore feminist, but Gray's immaturity and rash actions were introduced in a way that did not sit well with me. So add on the fact that this boy is having sex with multiple women to try and have a baby made me a bit ragey. Sex is something that needs to be looked at maturely and with respect and the characters in this story did not do that. I would not want my teenage stepsisters to view sex this way and I wouldn't want them to read a book that in my opinion, does better at promoting it than showing the consequences.

The following paragraph contains a spoiler and my strike three. Read it at your own risk.
Strike three was the infidelity. Emma and Gray get together. It's obvious from the beginning that the author was going to steer their relationship into a romantic direction. I have no problem with that. The problem I do have with it is that they two are supposed to be in love. Fierce love. Strong love. Love they would die for. And when Gray goes missing for a month (A MONTH!) she sleeps with the boy she had a crush on previously and the only boy she's ever "slated" aka slept with. CAN YOU SEE WHY I FIND MYSELF A BIT FRUSTRATED? Again with the lack of respect and horrifying nonchalance regarding something that at least I personally believe should be given high value. I don't mean to be a prude, because I'm really not, but something about the way this book handled the subject… It made me so angry and to this day, the thought of it infuriates me.
Okay--it's safe to read on now.

So, no. This was not the book for me. While I wanted to love it, I didn't and that sucks. A lot of people will enjoy this, but my nitpicking and beliefs got in the way in this case. I doubt I will be continuing the series, but I may try to read Ms. Bowman's work again someday--if she tries writing from the female perspective.

**PS: I'm really angry that this was spoiled for me before hand because someone was ranting in their review about someone else spoiling. I didn't read the review, but it was the very first line, without a spoiler tag. That didn't help me love the book. Respect other readers, please and tag your spoilers.

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.


  1. Hmmm... I am reading SO many similar reviews for Taken. I'm actually scared to pick up my ARC now. Like you, I see sex as a pretty sensitive subject, as well as fidelity in a relationship. I think I'd be frustrated/disgusted for the same reasons you mentioned, and that makes me sad. Great review! I appreciate your honesty.

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  2. I was so excited to read it and look at that cover..awesome review though!

  3. Aw, I'm sorry you didn't like it! I haven't read it yet, but I'm really excited about it. Thanks for the warning, though! =)

  4. You already know my thoughts on this, but I just wanted to say: PREACH! :)


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