Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Taken Trilogy by Erin Bowman

*** NOTE: this is a full series review and therefore probably contains spoilers. Continue with caution (This has been a public service announcement from you friendly, neighborhood blogger.)

Taken Trilogy by Erin Bowman (Taken, Frozen, Forged)
Series: Taken
Released: Taken, April 16th 2013; Frozen, April 15th 2014; Forged, April 14th 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: bought/hardcover

Goodreads | Amazon

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? (from Goodreads Taken page)

There is something completely raw about the way Erin Bowman wrote the Taken trilogy. I can't exactly put my finger on how, but it is clear that she does NOT hold back punches. When I think about how much has changed for Gray, from his simple life in Claysoot to the greater parts of a divided post-apocalyptic America, I just have to blink, repeatedly. To put it simply, this series is a whirlwind of non-stop action, and I loved every moment of it. 

Honestly, I don't think this series got the praise it deserved. Perhaps it was timing, being released after so many other successes in the dystopian genre that people were growing tired of it. Whatever the case may be, I think the Taken trilogy is well worth the read!

Taken
It took me a while to get into Taken, honestly. Erin puts us in a world I didn't really know what to do with and these strange things were supposed to happen and there's a romance that I want to root for - your typical YA dystopian. And then BAM the story takes off in a different direction and doesn't slow down until the very end of the third book. 

Gray's time in Claysoot is a time for slow, methodical discovery and character development. Then he and Emma are over the wall and literally anything can go, things are HAPPENING. And there were suddenly a LOT more characters to get to know and motives to understand and plot twists to navigate. I loved every second of it. Reading Taken was like going to an amusement park - sensory overload!

Frozen
Unlike the first book, this one had a wonderfully steady pace. Toto, we are not in Claysoot anymore. In fact we are far, far from Claysoot. But where the pacing is even, the twists in this installment rattled everything I expected. Erin balanced the fine line between unexpected and unbelievable, the perfect level of shock factor. Where you don't want the plot to be predictable, especially in a narrative such as this, neither do you want it to be so shocking that it changes everything you know about the characters involved so much that it's unbelievable. 

Take the other Frozen for example, the Disney one. I don't like that movie, in all honesty. The whole Hans twist was disappointing because it was so cheaply executed. There was NO build up to it (don't hand me some lame robot dance as evidence), no hints, just SURPRISE HANS IS EVIL! And I'm expected to be okay with that? No. Unacceptable. Thankfully, that is not the case with Erin Bowman's Frozen. I was legitimately shocked by the end of the book, but it also made sense and developed the characters and the plot organically! This book is what made me LOVE this trilogy and put anything Erin writes in the future on my auto-buy list.

Forged
WHAT AN ENDING! This book was non-stop, heart-racing action. Gray and Co. are... well, the back cover says it best: they are ready to risk everything.

This book is not for those who can't handle violence and vivid description thereof. There is a lot of blood and pain and cringe worthy moments. It's a rebellion, an overthrowing of an established government. What else would you expect?! And that's why this book was so phenomenal. It was everything that I expected it to be, but still nailed those plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat and unable to put the book down for a second. 

To this, I give Erin a STANDING OVATION.



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