And the award for Biggest Disappointment of 2013 So Far goes to….! Along with the rest of the blogosphere, I was dying to read Taken. Who wouldn’t be, especially after the cover reveal. I admit, the cover raised my expectations quite a bit. I’m a loser like that. Unfortunately Taken was pretty much your generic dystopian. It offered nothing new, unless you count the male POV as ‘new’, and because of that it was easy to figure out where the story was going.
Firstly, there are a few minor spoilers here. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Secondly, I must warn you that this review is going to be a bit of a rant. I have a reason for this, I promise. You’ll see what that reason is when I go on to talk about the main character, Gray….
… around about now.
My issues with Gray began very early on in the book. And by early, I mean I started out hating him from the first couple of pages. My reason? He beat up a girl, who was – and I quote – “half his size”. Look, I often don’t take issue when it comes to male/female fighting in novels, as long as it’s key to the plot or it’s a fight for survival.
Could I deal with Katniss fighting men in The Hunger Games? Yes. Could I deal with Gray beating up a smaller, less skilled girl in the street just because he’s upset about his brother being taken away? No I bloody well couldn’t. It was nothing but an act of aggression. It wasn’t a fight for survival, and I am not okay with it.
The fact that Gray beat up and wounded a smaller girl was hardly brought up after the event occurred. His brother told him off (he hadn’t been taken away yet), and his future love interest mentions it. But it didn’t have any consequences on Gray. He didn’t suffer, and he certainly didn’t improve.
So, due to this, I spent the whole book wanting to murder Gray and tear the pages apart. And then, much to my disgust, there was another incident later on. But I will talk about that later.
The plot was fast paced most of the way through. It wasn’t all that exciting, but I was interested in what was happening. I wanted to find out more about the Wall and what’s beyond it. Why are the citizens of Claysoot there? I like that there were answers and some unveiling.
I wasn’t at all invested in the relationships in this novel, neither platonic nor otherwise. The relationship between Gray and his brother should have been the key relationship in this book, kind of like Katniss and Prim’s relationship should have been (and you could argue that it was) in The Hunger Games. After Blaine was taken from Claysoot, Gray set out on an adventure to discover what was beyond the Wall. And then he all but forgot about his brother! There was little emotional connection there at all, and at some point he just started thinking about Emma, Emma, Emma. Dear God.
The romance between Gray and Emma also got on my nerves, however I do like that Gray fancied Emma before the book actually started. It was nice not to have to go through that whole “I turned and saw the most beautiful goddess I had ever seen, with her ocean eyes and perky lips. And then I was in love.” thing.
Right, here come a few mild spoilers.
Gray runs away from somewhere, leaving Emma behind. Emma believes that he is dead. Gray returns a few months later, and sees her in bed with the new guy. He becomes very angry with Emma for moving on, despite the fact that she explains that she thought he was dead. Emma begs for him to forgive her. Gray replies with: “I need some time. To decide if you deserve a second chance.” FUMING RAGING DIE IN A HOLE. Then she thanks him. “Thank you for my second chance.” Nope.
I am sorry, but NO. Emma thought you were long gone, buddy, you do not have the right to come marching back and make demands! You certainly do not get to let her beg to you. In fact, you should be asking for her forgiveness! Gray acted like a complete ass. And it didn’t get better, either. They eventually settle things because Gray forgives her and decides that she is worth it. Excuse YOU, buddy, Emma was always worth it!
I’m not even making any sense now because I am rage-typing. I’m going to stop.
So, in short, I liked the descriptions, I liked the mystery, I liked the world it was set in. It was all very generic, and gives nothing new to the YA dystopia genre. And, lastly, Gray is a complete arsehole and I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.