Taken by Erin Bowman.
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?
I think I had read a review or two, I just knew I'd seen the cover before. So I just grabbed it when I saw it at my library hoping it'd be good :)
In the town of Claysoot all the males are heisted (mysteriously taken) at midnight the day of their eighteenth birthday. This all started, Claysoot and the heists, when the first kids came. They didn't know how they got there or where the adults were. But they knew some things like their names and how to care and raise food, mostly. Their town grew and they developed a town council and a set of rules. They developed the slatings to keep the population growing and everyone has a job. When the heists were discovered they set up a goodbye ceremony too.
Gray has just been to his brother's heist. He grieves him. His last relative. They don't know where they go, just that they're gone. Soon after Gray discovers a curious letter suggesting a secret, it makes him curious and unhappy. Even when he is slated for Emily, the only girl he's ever felt truly interested in. He's restless about what really happens when boys are heisted. The only way to know is to climb the wall surrounding the town...but all the others have been returned, as charred corpses. But once Gray learns more about the secret his mother kept he can't stay. He has to try.
Pros:World building!! It gets a A++! Why? Because there is Claysoot, which feels just perfect. Then you get outside and everything is so realistic and just wow. Really well done there, it felt developed and complex but I didn't have to force myself to imagine exactly how it looked, it kinda just came. She did a really great job separating the two worlds and "switching it up" sorta as Gray leaves Claysoot. The plot wasn't super amazing, but it was really good. I called some things because it seemed a little obvious, but there were still several things that really surprised me. It was good :) I did like Gray...the characters were strong yet I didn't fall in love with them immediately.
Cons:The romance was a little annoying because it felt conflicted and a little vengeful several times near the end. Still it was justified and it wasn't instalove, thank goodness! So it was really okay it just felt sad and mean :( Building up for the next book I'd imagine. It also seemed like the biggest/bigger plot reveals were revealed and then were explained in some dialogue that took up a few pages. That's just what it seemed like. Something would happen and turn up and then there would be the back-story behind it. Nothing wrong with that, it just kinda stood out to me a bit. It wasn't bad...just I wish it could have been worked in, it would have "looked" nicer I guess.
Content wise there was brief mention of making out in Gray's room with a girl near the end. There are the slatings which means one of the guys in Claysoot is set up to woo one of the girls and if they sleep together and make a baby? +1 in the population. It isn't required to sleep with them but it's encouraged and talked about briefly a couple times at the beginning. Gray kinda walks in on something, sorta. Some kisses. Shooting of guns, hunting, training, and brief battle type scene. Breaking some laws. Some drinking mentioned. Making clones(-ish) and there were about 10 cuss words.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was unique, a little science-y but a lot of action and rebellion too. It has to be one of the better dystopian books I've read in a while! I was really impressed with the world building! I'm excited for the next book!! I would recommend to teens who enjoy dystopian books and the hunger games. While this isn't as exciting, it's rather along those lines. And it's written from a guy's pov with some girly touches here and there. Good for guys and gals :D