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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Hostage Three
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on 5 January 2013
The first thing I shall say about this novel is that it is not the type of book that would usually attract me - had I not received it for review from Bloomsbury, I most likely would never have picked it up at all. I'm telling you this because I want my review to really stand out to you because of this - I had not expected to like it much, but I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

The opening chapter of the book could not have done a better job of grabbing my attention by the collar and dragging me into the story. Rather than starting at the beginning of the story, it begins with a scene from closer to the end of the book. We're immediately right there, on deck, with a group of apparently fierce, gun-wielding Somali pirates, not really knowing what to make of the chaos that is unfolding before our eyes, but the sense of extreme danger is definitely there - and for me, that pump of adrenaline that you get from that, goes hand-in-hand with a really good thriller. This definitely got the adrenaline pumping!
About a third of the way down the first page we have the line: "There is a gun pointing right at my head". You won't find many sentences that are more charged than that! It was definitely this sentence that originally grabbed me, and by the end of that first chapter, I was totally hooked. It stayed that way for the rest of the book.

After the initial exciting first chapter, the story rewinds three and a half months, and we find ourselves in London, getting to know the main character, Amy (the girl on the boat with the gun pointed at her head), and the kind of life she leads. At first, I really didn't like her character. That's not because she was unrealistic, but because she was the opposite of that - she was a spoilt, rich teenager, who always had to be at the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons. She did stupid things - stupid things that would seriously damage her future - just to annoy her Dad and get some kind of reaction out of him. She was immature, spoilt, and attention-seeking, but I did understand why she did of all this, with the kind of Dad that she has and with all that we find out she's been through. It didn't make me like her any more at that point, but it did make her feel like a real person, so this wasn't really a problem. I also knew from reading the first chapter, that her character was going to go through a drastic change over the next couple of hundred pages.
I was definitely right about this - once the pirates have captured the boat and taken Amy, her family and the crew hostage, she soon begins to change not only the way she acts (necessary for everyone's survival), but also the way she thinks. By the end of the book, I not only liked her character, but I also felt as though I fully understood and respected her. She'd come a long way from the spoilt brat that she started out being.

What I really loved about the story, and what I think made sure I never got bored, or lose interest, after that great opening chapter, was the fact that it didn't stand still for very long - yes, we went back three and half months, to before they even had the yacht - but it wasn't very long before they were on the water, and then soon after that, the pirates arrived. The story didn't hang around with any unnecessary events, and even though it did move very quickly to get to the main part of the story, it didn't feel as though it was being rushed towards these events either. It felt very natural and real.
There was always something going on, and even though for the majority of the book, they were just on the boat as captives (and it would've been so easy for things to become monotonous), something was always happening to put the characters in danger, and that kept the book really exciting.
There's also the case of the unlikely romance on board the ship. This was something that I definitely hadn't expected from the book, so when feelings started to develop between Amy and one of the Somali pirates, things got really complicated, and even more interesting. There was a danger with this that the romance would be so far-fetched, that the relationship wouldn't seem real, and then it would be out of place - but that's not how it turned out at all. Like Amy's character, Farouz (the love interest) seemed real as well, and the way they went about their relationship, in their difficult situations also seemed very realistic to me. At no point did I think "well, that just wouldn't happen". I really wanted things to work out for them, but I knew that things were never going to be straightforward.

The pirates themselves really interested me. When we think of pirates, we think bloodthirsty, selfish, violent, uneducated etc, but these pirates had a definite lack of respect for expectations. They too seemed like real people. They had lives back home, families, their own problems - they were just normal people who had had some bad luck in their lives, and who had turned to piracy out of necessity, rather than by choice (for the most part, anyway). I really enjoyed getting to know them all as characters, and as disgusting and terrible as they could sometimes be, I did actually get to like some of them!

So although Hostage Three isn't the kind of book that I usually go for, I ended up loving every moment of it. It was a unique, powerful, brave and beautiful story, and it's certainly one that I will never forget! I highly recommend it!

This review was taken from my blog at [...].
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 April 2013
One of those hard-to-put down stories. A rich family (with unresolved issues) is taken hostage on their yacht as they travel around the world. The teenage daughter begins to have feelings for one of the younger pirates and starts to see the world (and her own) a little differently seeing it from his perspective.

A well-written and strong female protagonist holds it all together well and the development of her grief is honest and compelling to follow.

It's not a happy-ever-after story but a realistic one and a very good piece of young adult fiction.
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on 5 June 2014
I grabbed this one randomly from the library and did not have any expectations. When I buy books on amazon I read the reviews first, unless I have read books by the author before.
I am 35 and I began reading YA books because there is a lot less...useless crap thrown in I guess to reach a wider demographic? I love some of my grown up books, but there seems to be a niche here not only for teens, but for adults who like a good story. A book that is really hard to put down.
As I write this there are 5 reviews. Go to Looking for Alaska and there are loads. Why? Because the world isn't a fair place. Fame seems more important than talent. Publishers make writers follow a formula. The same formula for pop songs that the masses consume but never question.
This story is a love story,
and I fell in love with it.
Maybe you will too.
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on 5 January 2014
Hostage Three is Amy, captured along with her Father, Step-Mother and crew members aboard their luxury yacht by Somali pirates. Amy's backstory is slowly revealed alongside the drama from her current situation, when she begins to have feelings for one of her captors, whose past life we also learn about.

All of the characters felt real, and it was a good touch to have the kidnapping examined from both the hostage and pirates perspective. The only reason this lost one star from me was for the ending. It seemed just a tad too nicely wrapped up and a little far fetched, although maybe this is because it's written mainly for young adults and needed a complete resolution. Aside from that though, it was an involving and interesting story with plenty of tense drama.
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on 12 June 2015
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Hostage Three is the second literary thriller by Carnegie Shortlisted Nick Lake. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive about reading this book after having read Lake’s first literary thriller, In Darkness, which, although well written, was rather hard going and, at times, boring. However I really enjoyed Hostage Three. Maybe it helped having a narrator I could relate to more, or maybe it was because the narrative was not shared between two major different time periods as In Darkness was. Whatever the reason, it was good.

The narrative jumps straight in to something happening in 2008 on the coast of Eyl, Puntland, Somalia. Seventeen-year-old Amy Fields is on a yacht, there are pirates; it appears someone is about to be killed. End of part one. What has happened? What is going to happen? Begin part two, three and a half months earlier. From this moment on Amy narrates what has happened in the lead up to the initial insight given and what happened afterwards. The reader learns more about Amy, her father and his wife, Sarah, who Amy constantly refers to as ‘the stepmother’, which gives an indication of their tense relationship. Throughout the book there are also flashbacks to what happened to Amy’s real mother, a sufferer of severe OCD, and the events that caused Amy to become the rebellious teenager she is portrayed as at the beginning of the novel.

Amy and her family end up travelling the world on a private yacht only to get taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean. To begin with it is clear that the Fields family and yacht crew are the goodies and the pirates the baddies, however Amy begins to develop a complicated, secret relationship with one of the pirates, Farouz. The reader discovers the pirates’ motives, well at least Farouz’s motives, behind the hostage situation. Things begin to look less black and white, less good versus bad. And everything, of course, becomes more complex once romance is thrown into the mix.

Hostage Three is well worth a read. Lake writes really well and keeps the reader engaged. It is as if Amy is talking to the reader the entire time. Once you get used to the unconventional use of punctuation (no speech marks) it will become fast paced and you will be torn between wanting to read it all in one go and wanting to slow down to prevent it from ending too soon!
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on 23 January 2014
This book was well researched in terms of the countries it is set in, the tactics of the pirates and governments, and even an element of "Stockholm Syndrome" with Hostage 3 identifying and falling in love with one of the pirates. A book that held my attention throughout.
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on 23 July 2014
Overall this is a very interesting book. It is the first time that I have read about such a different subject in fiction (Somali pirates) and I, not knowing a lot about them previously, enjoyed learning about the characters and there ways of life. The Somali stories and myths that were occasionally told were entrancing!

However some aspects could be improved. I felt that the main girl was often quite irritable and although I know that this is intentional, I felt that there should have been more character development in this case. It would have shown the reader how this experience had truly altered her personality and way of thinking. Also instead of using quotation marks the author uses dashes to mark speech which takes a while to get used to and takes your concentration away from the story slightly.
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on 29 January 2013
This book is very dramatic and relative to ordinary life. It is a riches-to-rags story told in a highly compelling and creative way and I really enjoyed reading it.
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on 2 February 2015
Great item, would recommend seller
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