Friday, 19 April 2013

review: Taken

by Erin Bowman
HarperTeen, April 16 2013
young adult dystopian
digital review copy received via Edelweiss

Summary shortened from Goodreads:
In Claysoot, every boy 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 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.
The cover:

Very nice! The red-to-green/blue gradient isn't obnoxious, and everything has a very sleek, slick look. Actually, that might be a detriment, considering how Claysoot is supposed to be a very basic civilization. Ah well. It looks badass, so readers will pick it up, I guess?

The book:

I really didn't care about this novel. Gray is perfectly acceptable as a protagonist, but hardly remarkable in any way, even as the love triangle tries its hardest to characterize him. I hardly remember any of the supporting cast as well, aside from the soft, sweet girl who Gray initially goes steady with and the prickly girl who he transfers his love to--because he wants to hurt the first girl who "betrayed" him by sleeping with someone else when she thought he was dead. This smacks of a convoluted and unhealthy relationship.

The pacing felt off to me. A few chapters are spent establishing Claysoot, and then we're thrown into a fast-forwarded world where new figureheads are introduced left and right. The traditional twist is included--the villain is not who you suspect--and Gray, of course, joins a rebellion, because that seems to be the only thing teenagers are allowed to do in dystopian novels.

The potential for solid world-building there, and it most likely will be expanded upon in the next novels of this trilogy. However, Taken is standard dystopian-fare with a straightforward plot and a lack of truly enjoyable characters. Not recommended.

Ethnic balance: Oh gosh, I really don't remember. Was it even considered? N/A

Rating: 2 out of 5