The Taken by Casey Kelleher Book Review.
The Taken tells the story of Lena Cona. An Albanian young girl whose dreams have been taken away from her in a single moment, because she lived among people with a different way of thinking and living. As Casey Kelleher said in the prologue:
Strong-willed. Defiant. Unlike most of other girls in her class who had left school at the age of twelve or thirteen due to the pressure that their families had bestowed on them, Lena had refused to follow suit, insisting on completing her education. Why should she be penalised just for being born female? Why should she submit to a life doing what was expected of her? […] Lena had loved that idea. Travelling the world, working as a teacher or translator. […] She didn’t want to be stuck here in Albania as just somebody’s wife, or sombody’s mother.
But unfortunately, Lena had been kidnapped by Ramiz; who forced her to be his wife, the mother of his child, and the key to escape his fate: death. In order not to spoil the whole story, I can only tell you that Lena had remained strong (as possible, there were moments when giving up to Ramiz and his mom was her only option), it has never been easy, but she fought as hard as she could. Now, the question is: Will Lena be able to get her old life back? Or will she live in fear and under Ramiz’s control and mercy for the rest of her life; just because as a female and teenager, she could never exceed her husband’s physical strength? The answer is in The Taken, READ IT!
Actually, what is even more exciting is that this novel does not only contain one story, but THREE: Lena’s, Colin’s and Saskia’s. Reading towards the end, these three stories start to connect and become one.
So, who is this Colin? He’s psychopath, he had a difficult childhood, he was accused of killing his baby sister, his father left their home a long time ago, and his mother is a crazy alcoholic! Dangerous combination, right? And to make it even worse, I have to tell you that he works at a graveyard. Haaa did I scare you? Colin Jefferson is a mysterious and a scary freak, again READ THE TAKEN to know everything about him.
Saskia Frost seems like the lucky character of the story. Living in London, and going to a ballet dance school. Wow modern teen, living in a country of freedom. I could hate her, but only for a minute. Because, after that I felt sorry for her, and after that I loved her. This might be weird, but she had so much in common with Lena. Overnight, Saskia had lost every thing, her dad, her home, her scholarship (she did not really care about the latter, though). How did all of that happen? When her dad died of a sudden heart attack and went to join her mother up in the sky, a man with the name of Vincent Harper went to her house and told her that she could no longer live there, the house did not belong to her anymore. It became his brother’s Joshua, who owed money to Saskia’s father. In order to pay this dept, Saskia decided to take the 1st job she could find. Talking to Joshua Harper, he tricked her to dance in his club. He thought that she could never do that; as a result, he could make her his little toy for a moment, have fun, and then take her house. But guess what? Saskia could play this little game too! What will she do in order to get her house back? What will the Harper’s put her through? Read The Taken.
I know I started to become annoying with my read The taken, but at least add it to your TBR if you think that this genre suits your reading taste.
What did I like about The taken?
- The sitting: Albania was a nice new country to know about. Paris and London: in most books; these two capital cities are a symbole of romance, love, dreams, and freedom. But, in The Taken we read about their dark sides. Even though you might not believe what you read, because you just want to keep this beautiful picture of the city of light and the fog city. But, Casey Kelleher had written about fictional chracters and not fictional places.
- The point of view: most of the novels I read are written in a first person with a chapter by chapter for the characters (I do not really know how they call that in litterature, but let me give you an example: The Taken could have been written like this: a chapter for Lena, where she’d be the one narrating, then a chapter for Saskia, then another for Collin, again one for Lena…) but in The Taken it felt like I was standing in a balcony and watching these characters with my own eyes and hearing their thoughts, not like with the 1st person narrative, you live the story through one charcter’s eyes, and you only hear this character’s thoughts. As a result, while reading this I felt like I was able to understand each character well; I was not really left with many questions at the end of the story.
- The strong female characters: Hell yeaaaah for GIRLS POWER! I was really touched by the stories of Lena and Saskia, and I really connected with them. I know that many many females are going through similar circumstances as Lena and Saskia all around the world, and I cannot blame those who eventually give up their fights, and I truly respect those who keep resisting. Let me tell you why I really appreciate this story: first, it did not show the free and strong female who can do whatever she wants just because she was lucky to be born in a developed and strong country, while the one living in a less developed country is struggling with having the least normal life. The Taken showed an example of two similar girls, though with different problems and living in two different worlds, they are going through the same hell. Second, I am sure that if you read this novel you will totally agree with me that Saskia and Lena are strong females, but the strong female thing is currently à la mode. So, why was I really touched with this particular story? Let’s take the “Boss” female who studied hard at college and made her own way to the top challenging everyone who told her she cannot do it for several reasons (not only IT IS A MEN’s WORLD problem, I do not want to sound sexist), she surly is a strong girl and I totally respect her. Now, let’s think of those females who are forced to live a “certain” life that they do not want, just because they live in some place that have a wrong definition to the word “female”, and whenever they try to do something different, something that they want to do, something that is not against religion or reason or any thing, something that can really be beneficial for them and for people around them; they are called with vulgar names and treated like they are not human beings (they get beaten, locked up, tortured…) but they eventually do what they dream of doing. These are idols and heroines. And , I think that especially Lena, can be considered as a heroine.
- The title: simple, mysterious, and has a great meaning. I am sure that it is about Lena since she was the one to be TAKEN. But, it can be applied to both Saskia and Colin as well: Saskia had her dad, house, scholarship, normal life TAKEN away from her; Colin had his childhood, a normal mom, at the end his life TAKEN away from him!
What did I not Like about The Taken?
Not much acually, I just had a little problem with:
The cover: I have a problem with all covers that show a face. For me the ideal cover would have some mysterious drowings mixed together, for example: a baby (Roza), some blood, a sea, a boat, a gaveyard, dolls, alcohol, drugs, a dancing pole, the jungle, the Effel tower, Big Ben … Since I am no book cover designer, I do not really know if all of these things can be put together as one picture, but if you read the novel you will be able to understand what I mean. I really like covers that seem like a big mess but while reading the story you start to understand why a certain drawing was put on the cover, they are like clues to stuff that are inside of the book. (I am weird I know🙃)
- Joshua and Vincent’s cousin (I do not remember his name): I know that that part was crucial, since that’s when two stories started to connect. But, at that stage of the story, I really was not interested in being introduced to a new character, I would have prefered to read Misty’s thoughts rather then the drunk cousin’s
- Colin: all of what the author wrote about Colin had to be written in order for the reader to understand the whole novel and the individual story of this particular character. But, he really bore me during most of his chapters, he only became interesting to me at the end. Before that, I was more into Lena’s and Saskia’s stories.
I wish… [spoiler alert, do not read this part]
There were mini-novellas about some characters.
I understand that the big problems where solved (Tarik was dead, Lena went back home, Saskia did not want her home any longer, it meant nothing anymore…) However, I really want to know if Lena would fnish her studies, will she be able to persue her dreams and take her family with her wherever she would go.
What will happen to Saskia, will she go back to school (any school, not precisely the ballet school)? Where will she live? What will she do for a living?
Will the Harpers be caught and put in jail? If yes what will happen to Misty? If no, what will be their new business? Will misty forever work for them?
Korab: will he live like the rest of the poor people in the jungle? Will he just go back to his family? Will he be able to save enough money to start his own business? I would also love to know a few details about his cousin: what will happen to his pub when someone discovers that Ramiz was killed in one of the rooms?
To conclude, I would like to tell you that there is no better feeling than someone telling me that they read a certain story because of a review that I wrote, so if you ever read The Taken, please make sure to come back and leave a comment with what you thought of the book. I would love to fangirl about it with you.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Aldiko for providing me with the free ebook.
Thank you for reading my post. Take care and read books 😘🤓