Hostage Three by Nick Lake started off pretty good. I mean, I didn't love the format of the book, but I can get past that for a great story. Things got shaky the farther I got into the story, and then they got downright ridiculous.
I gave Hostage Three 2.5 out of 3 Stars. My husband thinks I am generous to give the story this rating. He didn't read the book, but he was there when I was making such comments like, "Really?" "Ugh!" and other not so favorable sayings.
As far as content is concerned, the language and sex is reasonable and in context. Disturbing aspects are implied, but they are never flat out stated or portrayed. There is underage drinking and smoking as well. I would say this book is best for 9th grade and up.
Even though, I didn't like several parts of the story I still finished it b/c I really did want to know how it was going to end. Therefore, in that aspect it did grab me as a reader.
If a book is really bad I'll stop reading it. I'm of the mindset there are too many good books to read out there to force your way through a book.
Since I'm already going down the, "What I don't like about the book" road I'll continue, but I will give my praises as well. First, the format was not great. I didn't love that there were no chapter breaks and no quotation marks used at all. By the end of the book I had grown used to the format, but it was frustrating to not know for sure what was being said and what was being thought.
Second, I felt the romance between Farouz and Amy was absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure, teenagers love "the bad boy" aspect of this story, but the romance side seemed so far fetched that it was annoying. The several statements about chemistry with Farouz and the feelings she had were kind of weird as well, but I guess they also seemed very teenager like. It all seemed a bit much for the story though, and I really wish it had not been in the story or a major factor.
Third, the middle of the book, when the Somali pirates have taken captive the boat and are waiting for the ransom, seemed to drag a bit for me. I know the author was trying to allow character development during this time period, but I thought it could've been written better. I really wanted to skip over this middle section.
Fourth, the overall emotional growth of Amy as a character was lacking. I felt her relationship with her father, sadness from her mother's death, and how she was trying to find herself could've been written stronger, clearer, and maybe worked on rather than the romance aspect of the book.
As you can see there were several major aspects that I didn't love about the story, hence the reason for the lower score.
However, I will state that there were some good things as well. Lake does a good job of grabbing you as a reader. At the beginning of the book you know they pirates have taken the boat; the entire time as a reader I wanted to know the outcome of the pirate situation. I do think Lake did a good job of recounting why piracy is now a business, how they took the boat, and how Farouz got involved in the "Coast Guard" aka piracy in the first place.
In my opinion, one of the strongest parts of the story is how life in Somalia is portrayed through the characters and their stories. The book was most definitely eye-opening and saddening that there are parts of the world that live that way and have to experience such things. For that reason alone I think teenagers in general could benefit from reading a book like this.
Overall, there were some credible parts to the story, and the idea of the story was interesting, but the execution on some major aspects were below par in my opinion.
However, I am apparently in the minority with my thoughts and ratings of Hostage Three. Amazon and goodreads gave it much higher ratings.
Amazon had the following book description:
"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."
Have you read, Hostage Three? What did you think? What would you rate it?