Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Captives by Tom Pow

Author: Tom Pow
ISBN # 0552555479
Publisher: Corgi
First Published: 2006
222 pages

The Blurb:
Even in his wildest nightmares, Martin could never have predicted what would happen when his family sign up for two day's trekking in the National Park during their holiday on the beautiful island of Santa Clara. They've barely set off when their car is waylaid and Martin, his parents and another family are stopped at gunpoint and bundled into a lorry that heads for the dense forest. The captives are pushed to their physical and emotional limits as they are forced further into the wild terrain, away from any possible rescue. But during their ordeal, the hostages come to understand something of the harsh political backdrop to life on Santa Clara, and the events that have shaped the lives of their captors and fuelled their actions. Martin discovers deep feelings for Louise, the other teenager caught up in the nightmare, only to have to watch her growing love for Eduardo, the youngest hostage-taker. "Captives" is a wonderfully-written, deeply-engaging story about ten people thrown together under extraordinary circumstances and with devastating consequences - a story that will resonate with the reader long afterwards.

Scottish author, Tom Pow, has attempted something unusual with Captives; using two different approaches within one novel (half the story is told in diary form, the rest as a normal novel) and really manages to pull it off quite well. This story of being caught up in the conflict of another country and seeing things from multiple perspectives is engaging and harrowingly realistic, and the portrayal of two families torn apart by tragedy expertly drawn. It’s a challenging novel aimed at young adults who will easily identify with the characters of Martin and Louise, who are thrust into a nightmare of swirling emotions and physical danger. It does, however, drag a little in places with the changing in styles, which hampers progression and this is a little frustrating at times.

Rating: 6


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