Monday, 19 August 2013

Hostage Three by Nick Lake

You sometimes hear about Somali pirates on the news but at the back of your mind you think that it could never happen to you. Teenager Amy Fields had these dismissive thoughts when she boarded a yacht for the trip of a lifetime with her rich father and her unwanted stepmother. In her case she was wrong.

Somali pirates take over the boat and hold the occupants to ransom, and she becomes known as Hostage Three. Narrated by Amy/Hostage Three throughout, she talks us through the events leading up to the boat trip. Then, whilst being held captive on the boat she has plenty of time to reflect on her life, namely the mental health struggles and sudden loss of her mother. 

Whilst on the boat, she also develops a relationship with one of the pirates, a translator named Farouz. He tells her tales from his culture and fragments of his own difficult life that puts her own problems into perspective. I really enjoyed their interaction together and the stories within stories were a fascinating and imaginative touch to an otherwise dire situation. 

Amy’s character had a great voice; her story was told in a clear and unforgettable style. I liked that her thoughts and concerns reflected her teenage personality; not altogether childish but sometimes not completely rational or mature either. 

I found the story as a whole completely gripping and totally unpredictable. Nick Lake sets string scenes with rich descriptions of the African location, both sea and shore. Hostage Three is a striking and memorable tale for teenage and adult readers.

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