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About the book
Taken is the first book in the series of the same name by Erin Bowman. The book was published by Harper Teen on 16th April and it is 352 pages long. A e-book review copy was provided through Edelweiss.
In Claysoot, there are no men - only boys. On their eighteenth birthday, at midnight, a blinding light makes it so each boy vanishes and no one knows where they go or why. It is known as The Heist.
Gray Weathersby's eighteenth birthday is coming round fast and after losing his brother not so long ago, he's prepared for what is coming. When he finds a strange note from his mother, he begins to question everything he has ever been told about Claysoot and himself. Questions build about the leaders of the town, The Heist and his own upbringing.
A wall surrounds the town and before, Gray has accepted that no one will live if they try to cross it but with all of the secrets he uncovers, could that just be another lie. Not wanting The Hesit to end his life, Gray decides that climbing the wall can be no worse and he takes a massive chance on something that could change everything forever.
What I thought
The first thing to note with Taken is that it is told through a male narrative. Most of the young adult books I read are generally told from either a girl's perspective or a dual narrative so it was refreshing to have a boy's voice for once. Gray Weathersby lives in a town called Claysoot, a place where there are no men, only boys. On each boy's eighteenth birthday, they disappear. They are Heisted. No one knows what happens to the boys or where they go. At the beginning of Taken, Gray's older brother is just turning eighteen, with Grey's birthday not that long behind his. Gray was a fantastic protagonist and one I liked immediately, even though he is head-strong and doesn't really think about the consequences of his actions. However, there is a lot more to Gray than is let on to begin with and I really enjoyed getting to know his character.
The central plot of this book is the Heist and what happens to all of the boys once they disappear. The idea for me was very original and different and it was also really interesting. Due to the nature of the plot, there is a lot of mystery involved in Taken and it takes a while to get to know what's really going on. Even then, Erin Bowman throws in some many twists and turns that you're never really sure what is the truth and what isn't. Although the beginning of the book begins to explain about Claysoot and the Heist, Taken isn't completely set there. Gray is extremely brave when he attempts to climb the wall in order to see what is on the other side but I don't really think he was ever prepared for what he would find.
Although Gray is the protagonist of Taken, there are so many other wonderful characters introduced along the way. Love interest Emma takes up a large amount of the beginning of the book, due to the way in which Claysoot is run. I liked getting to know about the town where Gray grew up and the kinds of things that they did there. However, the outside world was far more interesting but Bowman manages to mix the two places together. While there are more important things going on, Claysoot is a part of them and it was exciting waiting to find out how the town fit in to everything. However, Emma presence is quite short lived and I don't think the character was used as much as she maybe could have been. Along with Emma, there are so many other characters on the outside world who I utterly loved but I don't want to mention anything about them so I don't give anything away.
All in all, Erin Bowman has created a world full of mystery and suspense but also one with an intricate background. Taken's plot was by far one of the most original and intense that I have read for a long time. Gray's strong and sure narrative makes Taken a fantastic read and now I am desperate for the second book to find out what will happen next.