Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 1, 2013 | 5 Comments

Review: Taken by Erin BowmanTaken by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published by HarperTeen (4.16.2013)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eBook, 352 pages
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

4 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?

My thoughts

Taken is a fantastic dystopian that is great for fans of Legend by Marie Lu. If you didn’t already know, this was my #1 most anticipated 2013 release. Did it live up to the hype? Mostly. I did really enjoy it, but it wasn’t as spectacularly epic as I thought it would be.

Gray was a good lead. He was almost completely ruled by his emotions, which was probably why I liked him. It made him seem more realistic.

The romance…sigh. This kind of ruined it for me. At first, it was fine. I didn’t really like Emma and didn’t care about their relationship, but it wasn’t overwhelming and it wasn’t instalove. But then…DUN DUN DUUNNN…yep, the dreaded love triangle. It cropped up in the last third or quarter of the book, and not gonna lie, it kind of ruined my enjoyment of the story a little bit. Because after meeting Bree, Gray started flip flopping back and forth between the two girls. Sigh.

I loved the scene where Gray and Emma see technology for the first time, because the way they thought of everything (magic candles, baha) made it SO convincing that they had never seen anything like it before, and really captured what it’d be like to be the person seeing it for the first time. It was great!

It’s extremely hard to write this review without giving anything away. Because from the synopsis, you have NO clue what is going to happen beyond the Wall, or what you’re in store for. I think that was the best part!
I do want to say that the first part of this book reminded me SO much of The Village (by M. Night Shyamalan). Small sheltered town surrounded by a Wall, with an unknown atrocity killing off anyone who attempts to leave. Seriously, almost exactly like The Village, with a wall instead of those creepy red-cloaked spiky things. So, of course I started coming to my own conclusion of why they were really stuck in Claysoot and what was actually behind the killings – I’m not going to tell you whether I was right or wrong, in case you’ve seen the movie ;)

I don’t want to say much else…but the world building was great. The only complaint that I have is that sometimes there were enormous info dumps and it was a bit of a struggle to keep up. The plot was crazy intricate, and there was a LOT to stuff into my poor little brain in a very short span of time. But it was fantastic! Very well thought out.

Something I thought was interesting was how the people who were given less were the ones that lived in harmony; those given more were the first to fall to chaos. Very interesting, indeed. And sadly, I think it reflects on the world today. Again, this is why I love dystopians so much. To see what an author depicts as a possible future.


If my black hair were feathers, I might outshine even the bird’s gleaming darkness.

I don’t know why, but I just love that line.

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4.5/5
Writing style: 4/5
Originality: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Jessi (Geo)

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5 responses to “Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

  1. This one was my most anticipated debut YA novel of 2013! It sounds so awesome. I’m glad you’re praising it! And love triangle? That kind of ruins things for me, but! But, if the plot is good I don’r care about the romance a lot.
    And yeah that is reason why I love dystopian books too! The way authors see the future is so cool, and particularly dystopians who reflect the world we live in today. (Uglies is one of them!!!)
    This review is totally bubbly Jessi! LOVE IT!

  2. OH MY GOSH. I thought I was the ONLY one who thought of “The Village,” and I wanted to say so SO BADLY in my review, but I wrestled with if it was too spoiler-ish. This is a hard one to review because of what happens with the Wall and everything.

    But gah, GRAY. I loved Gray. The romance was really sweet with him and Emma, but then THINGS happened. I was hoping this one wouldn’t have a love triangle, and because of that, I did waver a bit on the rating, especially with the things one of the girls did that made me like her less. Anyway, fantastic review, Jessi!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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