WOW. The day is here. I've been planning this celebration for months. And it's starting. Today. Wow. Anyway, hey, everybody! Welcome to day one of my Blogoversary Celebration! In case you couldn't already tell from the big banner thingy, today I am featuring the awesome Erin Bowman, and her equally as awesome debut novel, TAKEN! [Review] Below are some excerpts Erin has picked out for us all today, giving those who haven't had an opportunity to read TAKEN yet to meet the main character, Gray, before actually meeting him, as well as some commentary on the excerpts from Erin and I, where I go on a bit of a tangent--practically reiterating exactly what Erin says in her commentary. ;) I hope you all enjoy it, and now Erin will take the stage!
When Blythe invited me to be a part of her blogoversary celebration (happy first birthday, Finding Bliss in Books!) we both agreed it might be fun to share (and discuss) some excerpts from TAKEN. Who doesn't like teasers, right?
The novel is split into four parts, and today, I'll be sharing one mini-excerpt from each. My favorite passages all seem to focus on TAKEN's protagonist, Gray, so consider this your chance to meet him early! (I fear four passages is not a very thorough introduction to a character, but it's the best I can give you until 4/16, when the book officially hits shelves.) :)
This is why they’ll all miss [Blaine] but barely notice when I’m gone. He’s calmer and has a better heart, looks at the whole of things. But me, I’m reckless, always reacting to some feeling in my chest.
E: I love these three lines because they say so much about Gray. He's constantly comparing himself to his brother, and so his own identity is very tied up in Blaine's. Without Blaine, Gray feels lost, and yet with him, he feels like a bit of a failure, the lesser of two men. It creates for a complicated bond, but even still, it doesn't make Gray love his brother any less.
B: "Without Blaine, Gray feels lost, and yet with him, he feels like a bit of a failure [...]" That line from your part of the commentary is exactly what I love about both Gray's character, and his relationship with his brother. There's no white or black when it comes to either Gray himself or his relationship with Blaine--both his character and his relationship with his brother is complex, and there are negatives and positive impacts Gray's relationship with his brother has on his life, and how he views himself. But, exactly like you said, despite the complexity of their relationship and, as you also put it, the fact that being around Blaine often makes Gray feel like the inferior man, none of that makes Gray love his brother any less, which is what makes this relationship and his character not only complex but authentic--I'm sure most siblings have felt inferior to their other sibling in one way or another in one point in their life, yet regardless of that, they still love them.
(That was a long comment for just one point.)
Straight ahead, out the open window, a black crow soars past. I think of the crow in the Claysoot meadow, how I couldn’t shoot him from the sky. I think of the crow atop the Wall, urging me to climb over. And I see this one now, flying along the roofline, guiding me again. I don’t think about it. I don’t contemplate if it’s the right choice. I react.
E: Birds play a special role in TAKEN (as well as the rest of the series) and this is just one instance in which Gray looks to them for answers. I love the quote for that reason, but I also like how Gray thinks he's acting impulsively here, when in reality, he's made a conscious choice to let the crow guide him. Perhaps a bit rash and risky, but a conscious decision nonetheless.
B: First, you tease me with the mention of the rest of the series. Tease! *ahem* But I love how this quote, like the previous one, really emphasizes Gray's character, and, like you said, gives the readers a chance to meet him before they meet him. While he does look to birds for guidance, this quote accentuates the rash and impulsive manner in which Gray makes many of his decisions, and his impulsiveness is a key part to who Gray is and why he makes the choices he makes throughout the entirety of the novel.
"Well, are you going to report him or not?" I ask.
There's no point," she says..."And, besides, the things you fight alone make you stronger."
I'm fairly certain this is untrue, but I don't argue.
E: This is a concept I have strong feelings about. The way I see it, some battles are personal and really do need to be fought alone. Other times, asking for help is the act of strength and bravery. My favorite thing about this exchange is that neither character's opinion is wrong. Even still, Gray's internal thoughts could be considered hypocritical. While he occasionally relies on his brother, he almost always fights battles on his own. It's him against the world half the time, and, at least in this moment, Gray doesn't seem to recognize this about himself.
Ditto. That's all. You said everything I would ever be able to say about the above quote and then some, so this will probably be nothing more than a reiteration of your commentary, but I both agree and disagree with, "[...] the things you fight alone make you stronger."--but I think whether or not it rings completely true depends on the situation. On one hand, I fully believe that working together as a team (hooray--teamwork! *flails arms*) is/could be beneficial to both the people involved and perhaps the final outcome of the situation, but being able to solve problems on your own can be something much more valuable than working as a team, especially if the situation is a personal one that really needs to be fought alone, as you put it. Being able to rely on others for help truly is an amazing thing, and, like you put it, is an act of strength and bravery, but at the same time, I think being able to do something on your own and fight some of your battles on your own is an act of strength and bravery as well. And I love how you linked this all back to Gray!
(That, too, was a long comment.)
Sitting on the edge of my cot, I try to remember what life was like before all this. I don't feel like the same person anymore. Maybe I'm not...I stare at the painting on my wall and wish it were a window. I need to see blue sky and clouds and birds flying in twos. I need to know that somewhere in this world, things are fair.
E: This might be my favorite passage in the novel, and it comes less than ten pages from the end. For better or worse, everything has changed. Gray has changed. The world seems unfair and the future uncertain. It's a crushing realization, understanding that so much of your life is completely out of your control, and this moment hits Gray hard.
B: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, WOO! (I love how your responses are so eloquent and well-worded and mine include 'woo', flailing, and caps.) And I love that it's not only Gray that changed by the end of the novel, but, like you put it, practically everything. Change is a bit thing, no matter what is the situation is and whatever's changing, and this particular quote and your commentary applies to that concept even further.
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?
**all giveaways in this event are international
Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.
Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. Her debut novel, TAKEN will be published by HarperTeen on April 16, 2013.