09 April 2013

Taken by Erin Bowman

Taken by Erin Bowman
Taken #1
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Goodreads Stars: 1
Rating: Troll

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? - Goodreads

And the award for Biggest Disappointment of 2013 So Far goes to....! Along with the rest of the blogosphere, I was dying to read Taken. Who wouldn't be, especially after the cover reveal. I admit, the cover raised my expectations quite a bit. I'm a loser like that. Unfortunately Taken was pretty much your generic dystopian. It offered nothing new, unless you count the male POV as 'new', and because of that it was easy to figure out where the story was going.

Firstly, there are a few minor spoilers here. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Secondly, I must warn you that this review is going to be a bit of a rant. I have a reason for this, I promise. You'll see what that reason is when I go on to talk about the main character, Gray....
... around about now.

My issues with Gray began very early on in the book. And by early, I mean I started out hating him from the first couple of pages. My reason? He beat up a girl, who was - and I quote - "half his size". Look, I often don't take issue when it comes to male/female fighting in novels, as long as it's key to the plot or it's a fight for survival.

Could I deal with Katniss fighting men in The Hunger Games? Yes. Could I deal with Gray beating up a smaller, less skilled girl in the street just because he's upset about his brother being taken away? No I bloody well couldn't. It was nothing but an act of aggression. It wasn't a fight for survival, and I am not okay with it.

The fact that Gray beat up and wounded a smaller girl was hardly brought up after the event occurred. His brother told him off (he hadn't been taken away yet), and his future love interest mentions it. But it didn't have any consequences on Gray. He didn't suffer, and he certainly didn't improve.

So, due to this, I spent the whole book wanting to murder Gray and tear the pages apart. And then, much to my disgust, there was another incident later on. But I will talk about that later.

The plot was fast paced most of the way through. It wasn't all that exciting, but I was interested in what was happening. I wanted to find out more about the Wall and what's beyond it. Why are the citizens of Claysoot there? I like that there were answers and some unveiling.

I wasn't at all invested in the relationships in this novel, neither platonic nor otherwise. The relationship between Gray and his brother should have been the key relationship in this book, kind of like Katniss and Prim's relationship should have been (and you could argue that it was) in The Hunger Games. After Blaine was taken from Claysoot, Gray set out on an adventure to discover what was beyond the Wall. And then he all but forgot about his brother! There was little emotional connection there at all, and at some point he just started thinking about Emma, Emma, Emma. Dear God.

The romance between Gray and Emma also got on my nerves, however I do like that Gray fancied Emma before the book actually started. It was nice not to have to go through that whole "I turned and saw the most beautiful goddess I had ever seen, with her ocean eyes and perky lips. And then I was in love." thing.

Right, here come a few mild spoilers.

Gray runs away from somewhere, leaving Emma behind. Emma believes that he is dead. Gray returns a few months later, and sees her in bed with the new guy. He becomes very angry with Emma for moving on, despite the fact that she explains that she thought he was dead. Emma begs for him to forgive her. Gray replies with: "I need some time. To decide if you deserve a second chance." FUMING RAGING DIE IN A HOLE. Then she thanks him. "Thank you for my second chance." Nope.

I am sorry, but NO. Emma thought you were long gone, buddy, you do not have the right to come marching back and make demands! You certainly do not get to let her beg to you. In fact, you should be asking for her forgiveness! Gray acted like a complete ass. And it didn't get better, either. They eventually settle things because Gray forgives her and decides that she is worth it. Excuse YOU, buddy, Emma was always worth it!
I'm not even making any sense now because I am rage-typing. I'm going to stop.

So, in short, I liked the descriptions, I liked the mystery, I liked the world it was set in. It was all very generic, and gives nothing new to the YA dystopia genre. And, lastly, Gray is a complete arsehole and I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire.

What other bloggers thought of Taken
- Debby @ Snuggly Oranges (Rating: 3 out of 5)


  1. Um.. not sure really what to comment. This sounds generic, although I admit the wall could be intriguing. But no, I'm not going to read this with the problematic aspects you highlighted. Thanks for noticing that btw.

    1. You don't have to thank me! Haha. I couldn't help but notice it, and then of course I had to include it in my review XD Thanks for commenting, Iris!

  2. Hahahahaha oh man. Even though you'd told me about Gray before, I was laughing out loud when I read this. Seriously, what that dude did and said to Emma... I'm pretty sure he'd end up on my to-be-killed-next list. (We've already established that I'm a serial killer, after all.) Also, I like dystopias, but I've been meh over a lot of them lately. It should have crazy good world building, or I will keep comparing it to The Hunger Games and Divergent. So anyway. I still want to give this book a try someday (probably if it somehow ends up in my library or something) but I think I will hate Gray instantly. Yes, I blame you for that. (But not really.) Peace out.

    ps. I'm making a list of people I want to kill. (FICTIONAL PEOPLE, obviously.) I'm weird like that, apparently.

    1. Bahahahaha, I'm happy my anger could provide some amusement! Yep, he'd definitely be on your ever-growing list of names. Have you ever watched Death Note? Blame me all you like, as long as you don't start sympathising with an abuser XD

  3. I have to admit, I am with you all the way with your assessment of this book. What a disappointment. I was generous in my rating. It had potential. And, yes, the cover is gorgeous (good thing b/c the book doesn't live up to that and I don't think people would pick it up otherwise). And the author left so many loose ends and kept introducing new stuff over and over again. And the thing with Emma bothered me to no end. WTH? I wont' be reading the rest of this series unless someone tells me the second book is phenom!

    1. I totally agree that it had potential. I hope the next book is better, although I don't have much faith with Gray as the main character. I might just read it to see what happened, or perhaps get someone to write me a summary!

  4. This is one that I was really looking forward to, but not so much anymore. I keep seeing reviews with pretty much the same issues with it. Makes me sad, it sounded like it would be amazing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  5. I have to admit that I came to read this review based solely on that first gif that showed up in my reader. I KNEW this was going to be good (as in, a rant I would want to read). I have yet to see a positive review of this book, and your rant explains things very well. I mean what the HELL?! Definitely taking this off my list.

  6. Hahahaha, awesome review Amber. You made me snort out loud at least two times. I seriously can't stand unlikable characters like that. I always end up hoping that they die and that doesn't happen. Ever. The world sounds great, so it's a shame it disappointed you so much. I won't be reading this one any time soon, that's for sure..


  7. Thank you for being a big enough blogger to post a negative review. I posted one a couple of weeks ago. They are not the funnest books for us to read or review, but the least we can do is save somebody else the trouble of reading a horrible book.

  8. This was probably my most anticipated book of 2013, but after reading your review I definitely won't be going anywhere near it. I absolutely HATE guys like Grey in books, they just ruin everything. He's sounds like a complete arse and I wouldn't be able to stand reading about him. It's a shame really, since the whole world and story sounds interesting. But with a main character like that, I definitely won't be reading it now.

  9. I star? I've seen a few bad ratings of this book now I think I'll stay clear of it.
    Fab review though- "Gray is a complete arsehole and I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire" just made me snort out loud!

  10. I laughed a lot reading this review :) How annoying that you didn't enjoy it! It looked so good :(

    Charlie "Star" xx

  11. lol GREAT REVIEW! I love your sense of humor. I've been meaning to read this book, so when I do I'm sure I'll be thinking back to your gifs. :)


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