Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review of Taken by Erin Bowman

Bowman, Erin.  Taken.  HarperTeen,    2013.

In Claysoot, boys become men at age fifteen, but women rule the town.  All men are heisted, vanishing into thin air at midnight on their eighteenth birthday.  No man has ever escaped a Heisting.  Those that try come back burnt and unrecognizable if they flee over the Wall that surrounds Claysoot.  The town holds an elaborate banquet and remembrance ceremony on each man’s eighteenth birthday so that friends and family and say goodbye.

Gray is devastated when his brother, Blaine, is heisted on his eighteenth birthday.  He discovers a secret about he and his brother that makes him determined to avoid his own heisting.

Gray goes over the Wall to find answers and is followed by Emma Link, who he secretly loves.  They find themselves in the city of Taem when rescued by members of The Franconian Order, the army that governs the city.   When Gray and Emma doubt the true intentions of the Order and its leader, Frank, they are captured.

Gray manages to escape and goes in search of the rebels that The Franconian Order is trying to wipe out.  What he discovers about Claysoot, its beginnings, the rebels, and The Franconian Order cause him to doubt everything he has been raised to believe.
This debut novel by Erin Bowman grabbed me from the start.  I had previously read several chapters as they were revealed on a blog tour, which compelled me to buy the book when it was published.  The concept of boys disappearing at the stroke of midnight on their eighteen birthdays I found extremely intriguing!

Ms. Bowman’s world building was amazing!  The people of Claysoot are very primitive and do not have ordinary things like cars, photos, guns, and glasses.  To read descriptions of new things as seen through Gray’s eyes was like playing a guessing game.  The way Taem is portrayed feels similar to a futuristic type city like the capital in The Hunger Games.

There are a number of surprises, twists, and turns that I was not expecting and a love triangle!  Readers, get ready for a great ride!  The sequel, Frozen, comes out on April 14, 2014!  I give this book 4 out of 5 fleur de lis and recommend it for high school and public libraries.