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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Taken by Erin Bowman

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Taken
Author: Erin Bowman
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062117267
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


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 secret. 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?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


On his eighteenth birthday, a man has only two choices: either he allows himself to be whisked away by an unnatural force, or he attempts suicide by scaling the Wall. When Gray finds out that he is in fact, his recently taken eighteen-year-old brother's twin, he will stop nothing to get to the truth, even if it means leaving the familiarity of Claysoot for the uncertainty ahead.

What surprised us about Taken was how we enjoyed the protagonist's voice. Gray's voice is quite engaging and we liked how he just thrived on impulse and feelings and while he seems tough and unfeeling on the outside, he's actually a big old romantic. One thing that baffled us was the love triangle, although we do understand why the girls went weak in the knees around Gray. In one corner, we have Emma, his sort of childhood friend and in the other, we have Bree, the new girl. When Gray was Emma, it seemed like they were in a balance. With Bree, Gray's recklessness seemed to be amplified. 

We know that writing POVs from the opposite gender that actually works is a special skill, and Bowman singlehandedly delivered that aspect very, very well. The only other book we can think of that had a very engaging - and believable! - main character written from the perspective of the opposite gender was Tom from S.J. Kincaid's Insignia. Despite our attention being almost fully engrossed by Gray's charm, Taken is, sadly, very much a textbook dystopian novel. The book did little to come up with plot twists that actually surprised us. There wasn't really any momentum for any "major" surprises, so we were pretty much indifferent to the change. 

The pacing was a bit rushed at times, but nevertheless, helped keep the story going. If it's your first time to delve into the dystopian genre, Taken would make a good introduction. Another series a bit reminiscent of Taken is James Dashner's The Maze Runner series, so if you enjoyed that one, you might want to check this one out as well.

Taken is scheduled to hit bookstores on April 16, 2013.


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