Positively Fleshed-Out Characters: A Review of TAKEN by Erin Bowman

Taken (Taken, #1) 
Erin Bowman
352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 16th, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LIKED

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 was inevitable that I would pick up TAKEN by Erin Bowman when I set eyes on its cover. The rich colors and eye-popping text placement were both a combo I’ve never seen before. So yes, inevitable.

But while I enjoyed the debut, I can’t say I loved it as much as the cover.

Gray Weathersby lives in Claysoot, a world where boys disappear on their eighteenth birthday. There’s a Wall surrounding Claysoot, but escaping only gets your burned body sent back to your mourning family.

And while that sounded interesting, the turn the story takes mirrors that of a dystopia. Its mildly reminiscent of THE MAZE RUNNER, and I believe that if TAKEN had released around then, I would have loved it. But dystopian has been overdone frankly, reducing my potential love for this book to like.

Genre aside, the characters of TAKEN are positively fleshed out. Especially Gray, the main character. He has a fiery, impulsive attitude that differs greatly from his brother’s – and is one of the propellers of the plot.

The plot itself was interesting, with a mix of sci-fi in the mostly dystopian filled bowl. There was quite a few pages of ongoing description, which was more telling than showing, but it’s easy to ignore. The romance was more of a side thing – which was a plus.

All in all, TAKEN is a good start to a new series by debut author Erin Bowman. I could see myself loving it had a few things been different. But I really did enjoy the book – especially the fast-paced, last quarter of it.

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom)

    April 19, 2013

    Thanks for sharing. I've read this twice now. Can't wait to check it out myself. :)

  2. Reply

    Jenea Whittington

    April 19, 2013

    I am looking forward to this, I put it on hold at my library so hopefully soon. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  3. Reply

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    April 19, 2013

    This had such a great premise but it kind of fell flat for me. I definitely agree it was more telling than showing, which is sort of where it made me loose interest.

  5. Reply

    Ellen Alwaysyaatheart

    April 19, 2013

    I have been disillusioned with quite a few of the dystopian novels I have read lately. I think you are right about them being overdone. I guess when something is selling, everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. I am glad that you did like it though. Maybe I'll check it out when I get caught up. Thanks for the great review.

  6. Reply

    Brooke DelVecchio

    April 19, 2013

    I was not thrilled with this one. I disliked the main character, A LOT. I just could not connect with him at all. And there were so many characters and things introduced. And so much never followed up on. The cover was beautiful, for sure it drew me in. But this story just fell flat and it's doubtful I will read the next one in the series.

  7. Reply


    April 20, 2013

    I think I rate dystopias harder because of how saturated they are in YA right now. I hold them up to a higher standard, since they're competing in a league with some pretty heavy hitters. So to hear that this does a lot of telling versus showing is pretty disappointing. But fleshed out characters and an action-packed ending are both pros, so I might still give this one a shot!

  8. Reply


    April 20, 2013

    The fact that this is reminiscent of the Maze Runner and has a great MC has me really intrigued, but I've been really picky concerning dystopians lately, as well. I will most likely give it a try, though. Thanks for the review!

  9. Reply

    Lisa Richards

    April 21, 2013

    I've been on the fence with this one as the reviews have been 50/50 on liking it.

  10. Reply


    April 22, 2013

    Ugh. I'm so glad you liked this. I couldn't even finish it. Gah. Hated Gray So. Freaking. Much. and the plot KILLLLLED it. Ugh. If you care to read my rantings then you can HERE

    <333 your review girly!

  11. Reply

    Julia :)

    April 23, 2013

    I SO agree that Dystopian is way overdone right now. I used to love anything and everything dystopian, but now it's all just rehashing the same stuff which is sad. :( However, I'm the type of reader who tends to appreciate good characters so maybe this one will win me over in that way. Thanks for being so honest!

  12. Reply

    Dazzling Mage

    April 23, 2013

    I haven't read The Maze Runner yet (have it around somewhere) but I'd still pick this up…yes, because of the cover. And while dystopian is over done, there are only a few, in my opinion, who can really pull it off.

  13. Reply


    April 30, 2013

    I've read so many different reactions to this book. From loved it to absolutely hated it. I'm really going to need to read it myself. I'm glad you were able to enjoy parts of it.