Friday, June 21, 2013

Stolen Book Review

Rawr Reader,

    Hehe, I didn't know the title would be so funny. This is a review on the novel Stolen by Lucy Christopher. The synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere. 

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

  I'm having difficulty remembering where I first heard of this book. I want to say I heard from booktubers, but I've seen this book on shelves when browsing.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   Okay it's 7am, I just finished this book after reading for 8 hours straight. I could not put it down. This is an epistolary novel told in second person written by the narrator and victim Gemma to her captor Ty. Now I haven't read many kidnapping stories but this plot just stuck out to me, how many times do the victims write out their experiences to their captors?  
   It's difficult to express feelings that are so tender and to be frank, emotional. Very, very emotional. I would place this in the same range as just finishing a TV show I deeply love (ex: Doctor Who). Meaning, I don't know what to do with my life. I wanted to write this review fresh from finishing it because I think I'll better grasp how much this book moved me. From the very first pagethe first line: "You saw me before I saw you," I was automatically drawn in. I figured that this would have the same whiny voice that many other contemporary young adult novels seem to gravitate toward but I felt like Gemma was portrayed as a normal 16 year old girl. And while remaining true to herself, she developed into a mature young woman who had to decide for herself how her kidnapping was going to change her, and not let doctors or her parents or Ty or anyone tell her what she should take from it. I think the author just did a fantastic job with Gemma and the ending which I'll talk about below and I would definitely be interested in looking out for other works from this author.
   What is most refreshing from the ending that made me love it so much is that it isn't necessarily resolved. Gemma didn't flat out make a decision leaving the reader with nothing to ponder on. Because I am definitely reflecting on this story. I'm pretty sure this story is going to stick with me. It has the same reaction that I had with Every Day by David Levithan, whereas Every Day is a paranormal-fantasy and this book is strictly contemporary teen. I probably enjoyed the ending even more because I took my time reading it, really soaking in the story and everything Gemma went through.
   Something incredibly difficult to pull off is to have a story revolve around characters in a fixed place. What's even more difficult is to have a story with only 2 characters in a fixed place. But what's even more difficult is to have only 2 characters in a fixed place in the middle of a wilderness! As you can imagine, I have quite a lot of respect for the author and how she was able to pull this story off. 
    While I feel like Gemma and Ty weren't my favorite characters of all time, I found some flaws that I just thought were a little fishy, I think they are strong characters. And since this is a stand alone and we can only rely on this one book, I think that Christopher did a great job giving each character skin, a past and a story to lean on. I liked Gemma since she is just a strongly grounded, positively minded (mostly) person and in YA I feel like it's fabricated more than really defended. Gemma was able to find Ty who resembles a certain part of herself that she doesn't like to acknowledge and that really questions whether if the real Gemma is the clandestine true self or the society-accepting self that does what's expected of her.
   I want to talk about Ty for a bit. He is a very clever and conflicting character. Probably one of the most craft and tricky and conflicting (yay repetition...) character I've read. A lot of characters in novels have a list of traits that they more or less stick to. They can develop throughout the story sure, but more or less, they don't do the unexpected. And yes, Ty isn't one of them. He made me feel one way but the more I read I began to reconsider my initial thoughts, like hmm, maybe he isn't the bad guy after all. I should look at it from his standpoint, like how was his childhood, what has his life been growing up? And then that ending! It just made me re-evaluate what I was reconsidering. TWICE! That is hard to understand probably and I'll try to explain it a little better, but in the ending, Gemma does something that really questions herself and the reader. Kudos to Christopher yet again! 
   If you're not game for emotional reads, I advise skipping this one. Because this is the second out of two books that have ever made me cry (the other being The Summer Garden). And honestly I don't think the first one should have made me cry since that was part of a series that totals about 2,100 pages vs. this stand alone novel that is almost 300 pages. I haven't been this emotionally drained since then, and I know it's due to the realistic and conflicting struggles Gemma and Ty have in this book. The land, their relationship (well from his standpoint since she's only the victim), time, survival, possibly a search for her, there's so much that pushes the story along and I couldn't find a moment where I got bored. 

I give this book 5/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
“Lets face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful, I can never get it out of my mind. And I can't get you out of there either. You're stuck in my brain like my own blood vessels.”
― Lucy Christopher, Stolen: A Letter to My Captor

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    I'm not going to have much to say in this section because there isn't much to reveal about this book that I have much thoughts on other than what I've said in the review. However that ending, seriously blew my mind. Lately I feel like many endings to books are merely good, on a 10 point scale, they're 7 or 8s. I give this book a 10. Judge me all you want but for a stand alone I think that's really hard to do, to keep with the pace of story and the tone and with the plot, I feel like it wrapped itself up beautifully. I didn't give much thought as to how I thought this was going to end, but I like that it's open-ended. Gemma did love Ty and because of this she was able to admit that she considered lying to save him. But it was her morally grounded character that showed who she truly was, and that she was an honest person who deserved better, and who shouldn't be someone weak— someone forced to love out of mere circumstance. Who was to say they could've met out in the real world and still fallen in love? I know that Ty has this weird mental instability with the world thinking that modern society is living a lie, but it didn't mean that he had the right to kidnap another person, forcing them to believe that they were like him. It's probably something I really adimire about Gemma, that she can look at what's best for herself in the long run, not needing to fear in her future she made the wrong choice.
   That is to say, I do feel really bad for Ty. Especially in the moments when he'd cry when she would constantly try to escape from him. But it's just my ambivalent feelings since he's a sweetheart. Though a sweetheart with problems.
   Also I wasn't annoyed by any lingering questions like I have had in my previous review (The Last Olympian). The story just continued on, with no predetermined twists like in many series nowadays. This was purely survival against the elements are her captor. What happened happened.  
    Also I need to talk about Stolen, aka Wobbleguts, aka the camel. At the end when they left it to take the car to speed to the mine site, I was on the verge of tears. I don't know why I typically am more emotional about abandonment or abuse or even murder when it comes to animals over people in books, movies, real life. Especially when that animal shows some sort of devotion or loyalty to their master, it makes it all the worse. Ty takes this camel from its herd to use it for transportation, milk, even medicinal purposes and it all ends with it being deserted once again. Anyone else feel so sad about that?
   In page 14, I don't know why, but I wanted to guess that maybe Ty kidnapped Gemma for reasons like her parents paid money for him to do it. Ha— me trying to be smart. That so  did not turn out to be right. I'm only sharing because I felt I had to. xD

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

No comments:

Post a Comment