Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hostage Three ~ Nick Lake (earc) review

Hostage Three
Bloomsbury USA Children's
November 12, 2013
384 pages
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From the author of the Michael L. Printz award–winning novel In Darkness comes a critically-acclaimed, fast-paced thriller that’s as dangerous as the seas on which it’s set.

The last thing Amy planned to do this summer was sail around the world trapped on a yacht with her father and her stepmother. Really, all she wanted was to fast-forward to October when she’ll turn eighteen and take control of her own life.

Aboard the Daisy May, Amy spends time sunbathing, dolphin watching and forgetting the past as everything floats by . . . until one day in the Gulf of Aden another boat appears. A boat with guns and pirates – the kind that kill.

Immediately, the pirates seize the boat and its human cargo. Hostage One is Amy’s father – the most valuable. Hostage Two: her stepmother. And Hostage Three is Amy, who can’t believe what’s happening. As the ransom brokering plays out, Amy finds herself becoming less afraid, and even stranger still, drawn to one of her captors, a teenage boy who wants desperately to be more than who he has become. Suddenly it becomes brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things . .
I remembered that i liked the plot that Nick Lake had chosen for In Darkness and the real event - the 2004 Haitian earthquake - that he had chosen to center his novel around. It wasn't something that a lot of novels had been written around (at least that I've found).

Hostage Three is similar in that it's about a fictional teenage character in a very realistic situation. While in In Darkness Shorty was trapped by the hurricane, in Hostage Three Amy is aboard a yacht when it's taken by pirates.

Again taking on a topic that is seldom addressed not only in fiction - let alone YA fiction - but or in anything, really Lake doesn't allow things to be black and white; there are so many shades of grey. It's the grey, the lack of clearly defined 'good' and 'bad' characters - for the most part, at least - that make much of this story so compelling. It's not the 'good' guys on their trip who are taken over by the 'bad' pirates and that's that. We're given a deeper look at who these characters really are, their motivations. Some of it is to help you understand Amy, her person and her relationships, but some is to paint a fuller picture of Somalia, its history and pirating there.

Hostage Three became a much more complex story than I was expecting. Much deeper and infinitely more thought provoking. It was really very easy to connect with both Amy and this story. The pain it's obvious that she is in from the start of the novel on pulls you to her. The dual unfolding of the stories, both the main narrative of the ship and the pirates, but also Amy's past with her mother, parallel each other very well.

The vulnerability - yet also that hardened exterior - that her past has given her, put Amy in a unique position for what she experiences aboard the Daisy May. She does some things and does not do certain others that a character without that past wouldn't - at least not understandably. Her past pulls you in, but it's the present that really makes you feel for her . . . and hope for the future.

The characters make this a great book but so does the action and suspense. It's not just about the characters' feelings while they're being held hostage by pirates, it's also about what they pirates do, how they're held hostage, etc.

It is a very well done book for all audiences, about human emotion, relationships and the strange things desperation can lead us to do.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my egalley

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This is definitely a startling change from the usual fare in this genre.

    Great review.


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