Taken by Erin Bowman is a YA dystopian novel. Book #1 in the trilogy, it’s about a town trapped within the confines of a wall. Outside the wall is death. Inside, it’s women and children only. Early on, we discover that it’s all one big experiment created within a ruined America. We’re talking an evil dictator, a mad scientist, blissful ignorance, and deception. Think along the lines of The Maze Runner and Divergent.
It took me about 200 pages to get into the book. It’s broken up into four parts. Parts one and two were pretty meh. The protagonist, Gray, is built-up decently; he’s reckless with a good heart, which is always a fun combo, but his main love interest, Emma, bored the hell out of me. Their story is the very definition of insta-love, even though they have apparently known each other their whole lives. We never really get to know Emma. Her character isn’t developed enough at the start, and before we know it the two are madly in love. Eh. Not my thing.
In parts three and four, things get more interesting as we start to get real answers and meet a new potential lover, Bree. Her fiery addition makes the book readable, creating a divide in the oh-so-predictable love story.
The book introduces a few interesting concepts that differ from what is usually found in YA dystopian novels, and it’s filled with non-stop action, which helps with the lack of character development. Now, I do typically prefer character-driven books rather than action-driven, but the book flows so smoothly I have trouble faulting it 100%.
Overall rating: 7/10.
While character development flat-out sucks and the romance is awful, the general plot and quick pace is enough to make me not hate it. I’m curious to see where the rest of the trilogy will go. So far, it’s teetering on the edge of re-readability.