Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 352 pages
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Taken trilogy
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to read review through the Amazon Vine program. Thanks to HarperTeen and Amazon for making this book available for review. I believe this is the first book in what is a planned trilogy. It was a decent read, but explored many of the same themes that a lot of YA post-apocalyptic dystopia novels do.
Grey and his brother, Blaine, live in Claysoot. Claysoot is a rustic city surrounded by a strange Wall. Oh, and there are no men in Clayfoot…on the eve of their eighteenth birthday all boys are taken in a ceremony called the Heist. They disappear forever. No one who has tried to escape over the Wall has ever survived, their burned corpses always show up the next day. When Blaine is Heisted, Grey decides he needs to figure out the mystery behind Claysoot and the Heist.
This was a well written YA dystopian novel with lots of interesting twists and turns in the story. Pretty typical to a lot of other YA dystopian novels out there; although this one is written from a boy’s perspective so that makes it a bit different.
Grey is an impulsive boy who is driven to find the truth. I enjoyed his dedication to what he feels is right and his determination. He was an easy character to engage with. The story is told completely from his point of view.
Emma is also a strong and interesting character in her own way. She is tough and determined, but not as impulsive as Grey. She was a good counterbalance to him throughout the story.
There are some interesting themes explored in this book. For example what would happen in a society where there are no men? A society where all the boys disappear at eighteen years old and most of the society is made up of heartbroken mothers and young girls? What kind of implications does a situation like that have on the mental health of society?
The above questions are probably the most interesting part of the book. As the story continued it became more of a typical post-apocalyptic YA read. I won’t go into it too much so that I don’t spoil things. You do have many themes seen in other YA dystopian books though. For example; a desolate United States fractured by war, Rebel groups, corrupt government entities, and non-voluntary genetic experimentation.
Overall this book was easy to read and enjoyable, but honestly by the time I got to the end I wasn’t dying to read more about this world or characters. I think I may have just read too many of these types of books lately and this one just kind of blended in with all the others. If you are a huge fan of YA dystopian novels this book is a good read. It is well written and if you are really into those type of stories then this might be your thing. It’s not as good as say, The Hunger Games, but it’s decent. I probably won’t read any more of this series since I am reading a ton of YA dystopia series right now and this one really didn’t grab my attention much.
I would also recommend the following YA dystopia series if you liked or as interested in YA dystopia: Partials by Dan Wells, Legend by Marie Lu, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Matched by Ally Condie, The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, Pure by Julianna Baggott and The Mystic City by Theo Lawrence. Also if you haven’t read The Giver by Lois Lowrey, well then you have to read that…that is pretty much classic YA dystopia and is an awesome read.