Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gripping Action with Beautiful Storytelling in HOSTAGE THREE by Nick Lake

When a book starts with, "There is a gun pointing right at my head" it's certain to grab my attention. But lately, I've been kinda ADD with books. I've started several and put them down after a few chapters, so keeping my interest has been a mighty task.

This one kept my interest. In fact, I read it mostly in one afternoon.

Here's the synopsis:
As Amy sets out to sea with her family on a yacht, she's only thinking about the peaceful waters and the warm sun. But she doesn't get either after a group of pirates seize the boat and its human cargo, and the family becomes a commodity in a highly sophisticated transaction. Hostage One is Amy's father--the most valuable. Hostage Three is Amy, who can't believe the nightmare she's in. But something even stranger happens as she builds a bond with one of her captors, making it brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things.

There is a lot to love about this book. It has suspenseful - edge of your seat action, along with some deep meaningful storytelling. And I'm not spoiling anything here by saying this (see above), Amy forms a bond with one of the captors and learns about his life back in Somalia. The striking difference between her very wealthy life and his starving family is startling to her. You begin to understand, if not sympathize with, the pirates. There are some gruesome moments. There are many more meaningful and enlightening moments. All the way around, I highly recommend this beautiful book. 

I do want to address something unusual about the writing style. The author does not use quotation marks, but uses dashes/hyphens for dialogue. This was confusing at first. Sometimes you aren't sure if the latter part of the section is still dialogue or internal monologue. SEE:

I was so annoyed at first, that I stopped reading it. Then I thought, oh this is an ARC, so maybe it's just something in the manuscript. So I bought a copy and...it was the same. I finally realized that I was being childish, got over it, and read the book. I totally got used to it after a while. I'm glad I did - it was worth it. But I did want to point that, so you aren't surprised when you see it. 

By the way, if the author is familiar, you may remember that his book IN DARKNESS just won the Printz award this year. (And I checked. Yes, he employs the same dialogue method in that book.)

It was released in the UK in January, but isn't releasing here in Hardback until November. You can buy the ebook now, though. Enjoy!