Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen, 360 Pages (April 16th, 2013)
From: the Publisher & Amazon Vine
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: 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?
Review: 3 Stars - Taken, the debut title from author Erin Bowman was a highly anticipated book for many readers. From the beautifully haunted cover to the mysterious “Heist” of all boys on their eighteenth birthday, I just couldn't pass this book up.
The setting of Claysoot is almost a character in itself. It’s a walled city with no way out, except if you’re a boy turning eighteen. At midnight on their doomed birthday they simply vanish right before everyone’s eyes, never to be seen again. The town is strange because of this, so the rules for the boys and the girls are somewhat shocking but understandable… if their world as they know it is to survive. Trying to get over the wall, to stay alive and to trick the Heist hasn't worked for others in the past, but our main character Gray Weathersby - just might want to take that chance.
Gray’s alone, his family gone. His brother’s eighteenth birthday came and the Heist took him. Of the two brothers, Gray is more the wild one. The one who goes against the grain for what he believes is right. He questions things that could be dangerous for him to question especially living in Claysoot. He was a hard character to like. I had more of a Love/Hate relationship with him. Just when I felt he was doing or saying something good, something horrible would follow. Some of this I think is due to circumstance but I can’t even use that excuse for him 100% of the time.
Another main character is Emma from Claysoot, whom I also had a Love/Hate relationship with. She didn't stick to her guns, she was easily swayed and was way too quick to forgive and forget and change her feelings for Gray in what felt to me like the blink of an eye. Some of this could also be due to circumstance, but again… she’s not a stupid girl, so I didn't understand her playing one in the times she did while reading.
There is a love triangle that made me upset. I hated how wishy-washy Gray was over this and this is when my heart hurt for Emma, yet she pretty much did the same thing, so they were BOTH wrong and this in turn made me upset in a different light.
Now, to explain how after these issues I’m still giving it 3 stars – because while reading I always wished for more for the characters because I felt so much was continually taken from them. I wanted to know what the Heist was all about and what the grand master plan was for all these taken boys. And it was a shocker that I didn't see coming right off the bat. I also wanted these characters to grow up and I was hopeful that I’d have a chance to see this throughout the book.
While this wasn't the best, it has potential for the next two installments for the trilogy. It fell short, but I don’t think I’ll be giving up all together. I still want to know more. I’m still looking for these characters to grow and for them to take back what was taken from them. I’m looking forward to the next book because I have hope that these things will be given to me and the characters. This title is dystopian-esque so fans of the genre should give this one a try and make up their own minds to see if it’s for you.
FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.