TAKEN (2013), FROZEN (2014), and FORGED (2015) by Erin Bowman
In early 2014 I found myself in a mild reading slump. I’d spent the final weeks of 2013 and the first few weeks of 2014 reading some incredible books, but around February I ended up having finished up some fantastic series’ and had generally read myself into a corner. I had nothing on my shelf that I was bursting to read, and I any books that I was anticipating the release of were still months from coming out. So, naturally, I turned to the interwebs to find something new to read.
And I found something alright.
I seen on Goodreads that a few of my friends there had read a book called TAKEN, and they had given it generally positive reviews, and so I knew that was going to be the book that I went for next.
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?
This book (and its sequel) was filled to the brim with suspense, with action, with secrets, and with some of the most exciting twists-and-turns that I’ve read in years!
The main character, Gray, lives inside a walled town named Claysoot where there are no men. There are boys, however when they reach their eighteenth birthday, they mysteriously vanish from the town in what the locals have come to refer to as the Heist. As the book opens, Gray is preparing for the final day he’ll ever see his brother, who is ‘heisted’ when he turns eighteen. Gray is left feeling alone in the world following his brother being taken, however he soon discovers a secret which changes not only his life, but the calls into question the very nature of the Heist and the authority which runs Claysoot, and it leads him to do one of the most suicidal things in the world; he climbs the wall to find out what is on the other side. Throughout the book, the one thing that kept me completely immersed in the world of TAKEN was the way in which Erin Bowman raised the level of suspense with every passing chapter, leading the reader to believe that they know what is going on before having the plot twist and turn in the opposite direction. Believe me; it happens a lot, and it happens in the best way!
Moving forward, things only begin to look bleaker for Gray et al in the sequel, FROZEN. If the stakes were high in TAKEN, then they are astronomical in FROZEN. Nowhere is safe in the sequel, and Gray has to constantly question whether anyone is who they say they are, and he has to put a lot on the line in order to even consider trusting anyone.
Our main character is Gray Weathersby. I’ve read a number of people complain that Gray is somewhat of an un-relatable character, even to an extent of him being unrealistic. I respectfully disagree, because the way I see it, he’s one of the most realistic characters I’ve read in YA in recent years. He doesn’t live his life trying to be the big saviour, or go out of his way to take the moral high ground. The way I read Gray, he’s a very driven guy, he knows what has to be done and, under the circumstances, he does what he knows he has to do to survive, and help his friends and family survive.
Then we have the first female corner of our love triangle; Emma. She’s grown up with Gray in Claysoot and even followed him over the wall. She’s pretty much Gray’s high-school sweetheart, minus the high-school.
And then there’s Bree. Hot-headed. Knows what she wants and how she wants to get it. Can sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But we love her anyway.
Behind these three, there is a cast of really interesting characters; Gray’s brother, his [Spoooooiler alert] father, and many of the rebels in Crevice Valley. I could get into all of the characters, but if I did then this post would end up taking hours to read. Both books so far are filled with characters (good guys and bad guys) who help shape the world and the story that drives through both TAKEN and FROZEN.
This unfinished series is currently one of my favourite series. Erin Bowman has crafted a world full of action and suspense in which I feel in as much danger reading every page as the characters are in. I absolutely flew through both books in the series so far, and can do nothing but praise Erin for what she has created within both books.
The conclusion to this series, FORGED, hits bookstores this April!