Monday, December 30, 2013

Taken

Taken by Erin Bowman
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 360
Keywords: dystopia, rebellion, science
Format Read: library book

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?

The book is split up into parts, and that's done really well. It wouldn't make sense if there weren't distinct divides at different points in the story. And naturally, it would make sense for the parts to pick up as you went further into the book, but that's where my disappointment fell. There was so much world-building done in part one, the part that introduced the characters and the town and the Heist and basically what everything was, that it made me much more concerned with this world than what happened in parts two and on. And there was so much detail about the society itself and how it worked, and how they stayed populated and had a government and how food worked, but it didn't bog me down with too much information all at once. By the end of part one, I was super intrigued and settled into this world, and then everything changed.

Jumping from part to part was good, but it confused and disoriented me at the same time. I got tired at learning about each new thing that was happening, and I got tired of all the information dumps and expository chunks that were needed to keep the reader in the know about what was going on.

The whole premise itself is really interesting, that the idea of a society that has no idea where its citizens are going to. It also reminded me a lot of Divergent, which makes much more sense if you've read both, but I won't go into any more detail for fear of spoiling it.

The big issue that surrounds this book is, yep, the main character. So, after getting about midway through the book, I started to hear some backlash against Gray, saying he was an irritating main character, people didn't like him, he was selfish and immature, etc. Here's my problem with that — do all MCs have to be likable? NO. They are human! I loved that Gray struggled with behaving like an "adult" because really, he is 17, and trying to be a teenager in the middle of a society where he might be gone the next day and doesn't know what's going to happen to him. That's difficult! I would not want to be in that situation.
So yes, I did like Gray, and even if I didn't, that wouldn't make the book any less likable, I had other issues with it besides him.

What do you all think about likable main characters?

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