Friday, 26 July 2013

Review - Taken by Erin Bowman

Taken (Taken, #1)
Taken by Erin Bowman
Series: Taken #1
Published by HarperTeen on April 16 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Pages: 360
Rating: 1/5 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?

It’s hard to enjoy a book when the main character is as insufferable as Gray Weathersby. There is nothing to like about Gray because he isn’t a fully developed character – he’s a collection of traits typically belonging to ‘heroes’. He’s impulsive, suspicious, and easily angered. There is little else to say about him. Well, there is one other thing – he’s a huge hypocrite. Time and again he gets mad at people for doing things that he himself does without a moment’s hesitation. Early in the book Emma tells him that he is selfish, and I agree with her.

Oh, Emma. I wanted so badly to like her, and I feel like I sympathized with her more than any other character in Taken. That said, she’s just as underdeveloped as Gray. Her defining feature is that she’s gentle and good at stitching people up. I’m not kidding. That’s it. I actually really liked her when she was introduced; she was fiery and didn’t take Gray’s bullshit. That changed very quickly with the introduction of… drumroll please… INSTA-LOVE! Of course. I just can’t seem to escape it lately. I truly don’t understand what Emma liked about Gray. His attitude never changed, nor did his behaviour. It really felt more like Emma was trying to replace her friendship with Blaine with a relationship with Gray, despite the fact that the boys’ personalities couldn’t be more different. I’m just trying to find some reason for her to have attached herself to him so quickly, so I’m reaching here.

On the topic of girls, this book has one of the worst love triangles I have ever read. This is mostly because both girls are pretty decent people who deserve much better than whatever Gray could offer them. I was particularly upset by Gray’s decision (SPOILERS) after Emma cheated on him, thinking he was dead, to start something with Bree. I get that he was hurt, but SHE THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD. He thinks that he’s a better person than her because he didn’t act on his feelings for Bree while they were separated. However, Gray never thought that Emma was dead. It’s just not comparable.

I wish the characters had been more likeable, because the plot wasn’t that bad. It was predictable, and I found it very segmented, but I liked it. It was engaging enough for me to finish reading the book, which it gets credit for. But that’s really all there is to say about it. There were so many different elements to the plot that it felt as though Bowman was just throwing everything she could think of into this book. It wasn’t refined at all, and none of the plot twists and big reveals were very gratifying.

It just wasn’t much fun to read. I found myself bitching about it to myself and writing snippy little notes to myself making fun of it and poking plot holes (for instance, how do they explain the fact that a two year old child doesn’t look the same as a one year old, particularly a one year old who has supposedly been so ill as to disallow visitors for an entire year. Someone would have noticed that.).

No comments:

Post a Comment