Author: Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Dystopia
Release Date: April 16, 2013
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 Sentence: Today is the last day I will see my brother.
After seeing negative reviews after negative reviews of Taken everywhere, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read or buy the book. I’ve seen people hating on Gray and saying how the book could have been so much better if it wasn’t for him. In the end, what made me decide to read Taken was the cover. Namely, I wanted to know why the tree is on the cover, especially since Altered by Jennifer Rush had the same tree on it’s cover. Did the tree actually mean something in Taken or is it only on the book to make it look pretty? I wanted to see what the tree symbolized in Taken.
Gray was the one guy I had a huge problem with in Taken. I understand that part of his personality is being impulsive, which was why I let it pass when he beat up a girl in the very first chapter, even though I knew it was wrong. However, as time went on, I grew more and more annoyed with Gray, and for different reasons. I’ll simply put it like this: Gray doesn’t have a brain. Sure Gray, tell someone you’re majorly suspicious about about your secrets and plans. Meet someone who doesn’t tell you anything and tell him the most important information you have while you’re at it. Just don’t be surprised when he locks you up.
After some thinking, I realized that Gray isn’t in fact dumb, but in fact, it’s his ego that causes him to do all those things; he easily spills his secrets to people he doesn’t trust or know because it allows him to brag about the fact that he’s so “special.” (You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean or just check out the spoiler below.)
[HUGE] SPOILER: Gray has known for his entire life that he’s seventeen while Blaine is eighteen. However, later in the book, Gray finds out that Blaine is in fact not only his older brother, but is also his older twin, and Gray’s mother and Blaine has been keeping that secret from Gray all along. However, Blaine got Heist when he was eighteen, but Gray didn’t get Heist when he was also eighteen, making Gray “special.” So whenever Gray sees a person he obviously shouldn’t trust, he spills the beans that hey, he’s special because he never got Heist. Always.
To make matters worse, the one decent main character I actually liked in Taken, Emma, made me absolutely furious towards the end of the book. After I found out about what she did, I want to throw the book across the subway car, and boy, it would not be pretty. (Thank goodness I didn’t do it, that women sitting across the seat from me would probably sue me.) From that point on, I was full on raging at Emma. You should see all the very angry notes I wrote to her and about her in my note-taking notebook.
[MILD] SPOILER: Emma and Gray gets separated for a while, I’m not sure for how long, but it’s definitely for less than a year. They claim they love each other. Emma mistakenly thinks Gray is dead when he isn’t really dead, and when Gray goes on a mission, secretly also planning on saving Emma, he finds out that she slept with another guy, the same guy that Gray told to leave a message for her that he loved her. And I repeat, to make matters even worse, Gray hasn’t even been dead for less than a year. Some kind of “love” she feels for him.
What Emma did made me realize something: Gray and Emma’s relationship is based on instalove. At first, I didn’t really quite think so; Gray states that he had strongly liked Emma ever since they were little kids. When they got together in a short span of time after talking to each other again and started dating each other for less than a month, Gray claimed he loved her, and well, I believed him because he had said he was in like with Emma ever since he was a small age. Emma also claimed that she loved Gray back after they spent some time together. However, what Emma did makes her look so fickle that their relationship is no way “love,” especially if you count Gray’s cheating brain.
Yes, you read right, Taken also has the dreaded love triangle. Sure Gray, you didn’t actually do anything to physically cheat on Emma, but thinking about kissing another girl more than once might as well be the same thing.
Besides the two main characters that make me absolutely furious about the book, Taken also starts getting really predictable when you reach the second part, which is less than one-third of the book. From there, I easily figured out how the rest of the book would go, and surprise surprise, I was right. Taken is basically like any other dystopian novel out there, nothing about it stands out from the others.
Another thing that really annoyed me is when the Rebels in Taken decided to stop and chat for awhile when they are currently on the run, with alarms going off and people looking to capture and kill them. I was just shaking my head through those pages. It’s no wonder that guy found them.
The only one redeeming quality of Taken is that it has a lot of awesome quotes…if you know where to look for them.
Maybe I felt something because I’m always looking for feelings. Without them, I don’t know how to act. (67)
No matter how obvious something may seem, there are two sides to every story, and the thief never had a chance to tell his. (157)
People have all sorts of pasts, sometimes dark or dreary, but perhaps the actions they choose in the present are the ones that carry the most weight. (241)
Second chances are not the same as forgiveness. (330)
As a side note, I never did find out what the tree on the cover symbolizes or stands for.
[SMALL] SPOILER: It might symbolize the tree Gray used to climb over the Wall, but that small event regarding that tree doesn’t really explain why it’s on the cover because the tree is nothing special, unless it’s used to make the cover more pretty, not that I’m complaining.
Overall, if you hate reading about main characters that are violent, cheating jerks, then definitely skip Taken. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful cover.