REVIEW: FORGED (Taken Trilogy #3)

By: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Year: 2015
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: 5/5 

Official Description
Gray Weathersby and his group of rebels must make their final stand in the epic conclusion to the Taken trilogy. The Order is building an unstoppable army, with every generation of Forgeries harder to detect and deadlier than the one before. It’s time for Gray and his fellow rebels to end the Order’s world of lies. But when the most familiar faces—and even the girl he loves—can’t be trusted, Gray will have to tread carefully if he wants to succeed. Or survive.


Spoiler-Free thoughts

Reading the conclusion of one of your favourite series’ is such a bittersweet moment. I absolutely fell in love with TAKEN and FROZEN last year*, and have patiently waited for so long for FORGED to come out so that I could get my hands on it as quickly as possible and find out how Gray’s story ended. After having an absolute rollercoaster of wait (during which time Amazon emailed me to say that the expected delivery date for this book was going to be Mid-May, before emailing me on the day of its release to tell me that it was dispatched and would arrive at my house the next day) I finally managed to open the book up and dive straight into it. After being let down in the past by conclusions to series I adored (I’m looking at you, Blood of Olympus), I couldn’t help but be slightly apprehensive; what if, after waiting all that time and getting so hyped for it, I don’t like how the trilogy ended? What if I *gasp* hate it?! I’ll tell you now that I was, in absolutely no way, let down by this book. FORGED completely blew me away. As I said, it’s a bittersweet moment. Finally getting that last book, finally being absorbed back into the world for the final time, finally knowing the ending is just the best feeling, but… that’s it over. But I can’t stay too sad forever. I know for a fact that I’m going to re-read this series at some point in the near future, and I’m so happy with how it ended and how satisfying all of the loose ends were tied up. The Taken Trilogy is one that I definitely recommend to anyone, especially fans of dystopian novels. It’s a very fun series to read, and you won’t regret giving it a chance!

I really can’t say enough about this book without getting into spoiler territory, so if you haven’t read this book (or series ) yet then you need to leave this page, pick up a copy of all three books, devour them, and then come back to read the rest of this reveiw!

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spoiler-filled review

Plot-wise, this conclusion was a lot more straight-forward and less twisty-turny than the first two books. One of my favourite aspects of TAKEN was how awesome the twists were, but I think that FORGED benefitted from a more straight-forward narrative. Gray et al needed to find a way to stop the Forgeries, and they needed to take down Frank and his Order. And that’s exactly what went down. That’s not to say that there were no twists, there definitely were some, especially with the threat of the Forgeries and how difficult it was to tell if someone was the real person or the Forged version. And, in mentioning that, Gray’s Forgery was terrifying. Reading Gray looking at his Forgery, and having his Forgery interrogate and have Harvey torture him was pretty scary. In the end, the story came to a logical (if slightly convenient) ending, with the redeemed Forged Harvey remembering that he had planted a fail-safe in the coding of the Forgeries which would disable them when a certain alarm was played. After the gang managed to have the Forgeries disabled, it was only a matter of time before Frank was taken down, and I’m so glad that it was Emma who was the one to kill him in the end. She was the one who had been personally at the receiving end of Frank’s evil-ness throughout most of the series, so seeing her take him out was such a yesss moment, even if she was shaken by it.

I was expecting deaths in this book. The build-up to this conclusion prepared me for deaths because the stakes were so high and the stage which had been set was so life-and-death. But I wasn’t quite prepared for how many deaths there would be, and how sudden and cruel they would be! I had a feeling that Blaine would die, but the circumstances were so emotional, so sudden, and so cruel, which perfectly set how dangerous this world was. The weight of Blaine’s death was carried throughout the rest of the book in a way that led to all of Gray’s decisions being underpinned by thoughts of Blaine; what would he do, and how would he feel about what Gray had chosen? The one death that really killed me though was Clipper. Like, out of every character in the series, I most expected him to survive and to grow up having been shaped by everything that he’d gone through. It was so nice to see him celebrate his birthday at the beginning of the book, and begin to form a really innocent cute-sy relationship with a girl, and at last be re-united with Harvey (well, Forged Harvey, but as we learned, he was as much Harvey as he could be!). But then he died. Just like that. That was the only point that I actually put the book down and thought, ‘Dang. That was sad.’ And Gray’s comment on the very next page tore me down too; ‘He was thirteen.’

Away from the deaths, I really loved the relationship arcs between Gray and Bree, and Gray and Emma. I can’t lie, when I first read TAKEN, and then through quite a bit of FROZEN, I was completely Team Gremma. But FORGED, almost from the get-go, really hooked me on the idea that Gray and Bree were the two who would end up together. Their relationship was so strong, and they knew exactly how to define it from the moment they officially became a couple. They argued, they hated each other’s decisions, but there was no chance that they would ever be anything less than perfect for each other. Gray’s relationship with Emma was completely changed, as you could expect, when Gray told Forged Gray to spare Blaine over Emma. From that point there was no way that Gray and Emma would ever go back to how they were at the beginning of TAKEN, and though they did resort back to a sort of friendliness at the end, it’s clear that Emma won’t ever be able to un-hear Gray choosing Blaine over her, regardless of how understandable his choice was.

And one last little point; when Gray and Bree go to the Group’s to tell them everything and offer the inhabitants a chance to leave their Group if they want, it broke my heart when he spoke to Kale and she thought he was Blaine–her father.

final thoughts

Overall, the Taken Trilogy was an incredible read. It wasn’t a series without flaws, because I don’t believe anything we ever read will be perfect. There were parts that I loved, and parts that I didn’t, but in the end, I’m never going to look back at this series and think about the parts I didn’t like. Because, for me, it’s series like the Taken Trilogy that remind me why I love reading. A first book which opens up a world in such a beautiful way, in a way that completely immerses you in the world and keeps you fully interested from the first line to the last, then a second book which develops the world and doesn’t let you go, taking the story and changing all of what you thought was real and true, then a third book which wonderfully ties up everything that had to be tied up, and leaves you with an incredibly satisfying conclusion.

I want to thank Erin Bowman for this series, because it’s honestly a series that I can see myself re-reading very soon, and enjoying as much when I do. When I picked up TAKEN at 2am because I couldn’t sleep, and struggled to read it by the light of a tiny broken book-light, I had no idea that it would turn into one of my favourite series of all time.

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