Received from publisher via Edelweiss
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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?
There are times when a strikingly beautiful cover can be both a blessing and a curse; a gorgeous design encouraging readers to pick it up, yet at the same time instantly creating high expectations as we can’t help but hope the story lives up to its packaging. While Taken has a deeply intriguing premise–one that will likely have our interest increasing as we learn more about Gray’s world rather than lessening as the series continues–our lack of connection with the characters themselves keeps us from glorying in the grit and guts we know must exist beneath this book’s pretty face.
Gray draws us into his world immediately with a haunting opening line, and we easily come to care for him more and more as soon as he starts to question the emotionally stunted and brutal way of life in his small town. We fully support his curiosities and his decision to find the soft spots the elder women in the village are protecting and give them a much-needed poke, but we are never quite provided the opening we so desperately want to be able to crawl into his heart and mind and make ourselves at home. Our time with him is captivating and his various exploits practically have the pages turning themselves we flip them so quickly, but that extra spark that would elevate him from an enjoyable character to a memorable one remains elusive.
Part of the troublesome connection with Gray stems in part from his romantic relationship with Emma. The love he’s had for her since he was a child (a setup we can’t help but like and much prefer to any sort of instant connection) exists only in word form, never quite transcending the black and white ink to become truly heartfelt sentiments we feel ricocheting back and forth between his fiction and our reality. About halfway through a new romantic player enters the picture, and while thankfully a triangle doesn't fully form, there is one event in particular that ensures that formation doesn’t take place and effectively kinks the straight path we thought existed between Gray and Emma. Based on the lack of resolution for their romance in this first installment, it’s probable a triangle will be forthcoming in future books, but those who fear or loathe them should take comfort in the absence of one in Taken.
Overall, Taken introduces us to a very complex and deeply fascinating world, new facets of it revealed and new questions raised every chapter to keep us interested throughout. The reasoning behind the Heist itself when it’s finally brought to light, however, feels a bit thin and grossly impractical given the end result those in charge are looking for, but it’s easy to overlook that factor in favor of trying to decipher which characters are black, which are white, and which exist in shades of gray. Hopefully book two will explore a few more emotional subtleties to help deepen our investment in Gray and his journey, but it’s a journey I’m interested in continuing.
More information on Erin and Taken can be found here: