Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"Maybe when your real life becomes the terror, there's just nothing left to dream about."

In Taken Edward Bloor imagines the year 2036 as one with severe class divisions (an outgrowth of divisions which are already dangerously increasing.) Thirteen-year-old Charity Meyers is a Floridian daughter of privilege who lives in the Highlands, one of many gated communities, escorted to and from satschool (a school where lessons are beamed by satellite from an elite Manhattan academy) a heavily-armed butler, Albert (who along with her family's live-in "french maid" Victoria are part of the RDS~Royal Domestic Service~the "largest and most prestigious company in the service industry.) Their very names are regulated by the RDS.
Kidnapping has become a "major growth industry" in this society of the future and, as such, the rich kids are trained to deal with the stress of the situation as well as follow the "protocol", the ransom is to be arranged within twenty-four hours and the child returned safe and sound. On New Year's Day 2036 Charity is kidnapped and thus begins her twenty-four hour countdown. The pace of the book keeps the reader enthralled as the hours are counted down and Charity's story is told in both present-tense and flashback. The details of the society she lives in are often relayed from details she has written about in various term papers.
Charity's father is a dermatologist who amassed his fortune by developing a skin bronzing treatment (ironically, her mother died of skin cancer) and his wealth has survived the "world credit crash". Her stepmother, Micki, is a self-centered "vidqueen" who makes documentaries and with Micki and her father in the midst of a divorce Charity spends much of her time with Victoria and Albert. With many twists and turns and Charity's growing sense of social awareness, Taken is a fast-past, thrilling read.

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