Book Rec: TAKEN

I am so very excited to share one of my most anticipated 2013 debut novels:
Erin Bowman‘s futuristic dystopian thriller, Taken (April 16th)
(Reviewed for the Debut Author Challenge and The Bookanistas.)

Taken (Taken, #1)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?

This is a tricky review to write because Taken is one of those very cool novels in which almost nothing is as it originally seems. That summary up above? It’s only the beginning. Countless surprises follow, and to discuss the story itself would be to spoil it. I will say that Erin Bowman’s plotting is tight and her twists are unexpected. Seemingly inconsequential bits of information presented early in the story have a way of popping back up at crucial moments, tying once unrelated threads together. There was never a dull moment in Taken. I flew through this book as if I was on Gray’s journey with him — and what an exciting journey it was.

Speaking of Gray… I totally fell for him. It was refreshing to read a dystopian YA story told from a male protagonist’s perspective, and Erin totally nailed Gray’s sheltered, contemplative, gritty voice. While he certainly has his flaws, I found Gray incredibly endearing. His temper is short and much of his decision making is rash, but he is loyal and vulnerable and very much a romantic. I loved, too, the female characters in this story, Bree especially. Oh my goodness… She is totally kick ass. Like, literally! Plus, she’s part of one of the best almost-kiss scenes I’ve ever read, one that totally made me laugh out loud.

Erin Bowman has a gift for simple, graceful prose that reads as effortless. In Taken, she has built a complex, formidable world and woven a truly unputdownable story — I’m already curious about how the remainder of this trilogy will play out. Fans of twisty dystopians like The Giver, Matched, and Under the Never Sky will be all over this novel. I can’t wait for you to read it!

{In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like it’s important to mention that Erin and I have been friends for a few years. While I adore her personally (here’s her Twitter and her blog), my review of Taken is without bias.}

Check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:

Jessica Love raves about MY LIFE NEXT DOOR

Elana Johnson is head over heels for LET THE SKY FALL

And learn more about the Debut Author Challenge HERE.


20 thoughts on “Book Rec: TAKEN

  1. Erin Bowman (@erin_bowman) says:

    Katy, I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again: Thank you so much for reading. And thank you even *more* for this wonderfully eloquent and spoiler-free review. (I know how hard it is to talk about this book without spoiling things. I’ve been struggling for months!) Also, those comp titles you named at the end? *faints* I can die happy. I’m so thrilled you had a chance to read early, and like you, I’m very excited for the rest of the world to meet Gray.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

    • katyupperman says:

      I’m thrilled that I got a chance to read early too (thanks, Jess!), and I couldn’t have been more awed by your debut. Beautiful writing, and a story I couldn’t step away from. Gray! *swoon*

      Congrats on an amazing novel, Erin… I can’t wait to see how the world embraces it!

  2. Rachel says:

    Erin is super sweet. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Dark Days pitch tour in Boston and I am so looking forward to reading her book (she even says there’s a world building thing that makes sense to my confusing question of “If no guys = no kids?” ;)) Looking forward to this one! Thanks for the review, Katy.

    • katyupperman says:

      I wondered about the whole procreation issue at first too, Rachel, but it’s dealt with in a believable, mature way, so no worries. 😉 Can’t wait to hear what you think of TAKEN!

  3. Jaime Morrow says:

    I can’t wait for this book to hit shelves. It’s been on my TBR list for ages now and I’m thrilled that I don’t have much longer to wait. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much. A Katy rec is a rec to be trusted! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Aww, thanks, Jaime… A true compliment. 🙂

      I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy TAKEN. Erin’s writing is lovely, and who doesn’t love a twisty plot?

  4. Jessica Silverstein says:

    Oh man, you’ve made me even more excited to read this than I was before! I love love LOVE it when books plant seeds early on that pay off later. Can’t wait till this comes out!

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