(The following is a review of The Eighth Ransom, written by Given Hoffman.)
The Eighth Ransom by Given Hoffman is a story about trust, anger, hope, wits, and ultimately, faith.
Trent Soris is an artist with a chip on his shoulder, and Ashley Rye is what Trent would describe as an annoying religious kid. When kidnapped with six others from across the U.S., they have nothing in common but their enemy. To survive, all eight of them must overcome their differences. By working together, they just might prevent their ransoms from being used in an international plot that captures the attention of even the National Counter terrorism Center. But when lies test their unity and even the truth holds secrets none of them expected, their strengths may not be enough to save them and everyone else at risk. – From the back cover of The Eighth Ransom
Given Hoffman really makes you care about what happens to the characters, and the fear that they all ‘gonna die is very real while reading the book. Given does a great job facing human weaknesses and the reasons behind them, and this flows nicely into the uniqueness of each character. For example, one of the main characters is rude, mad at life, and just plain obnoxious, born of trying to get his Mom’s attention. The character is un-likeable but important to the story. Another character is the calm and stable Ethan, the leader that keeps the other teens motivated. Wise beyond his years, it is only because he too has experienced extremely deep pain in his life that he is able to be as strong as he is.
As Given Hoffman puts it:
The Eighth Ransom was born from the question: what would happen if a bunch of kids from different locations, families, and religions were all thrown together in a high-stress situation? Would they be able to work together? Or would they just end up fighting with each other?
It is an interesting concept as the characters come from wildly different backgrounds; two of the characters are Christians, the other six atheists or agnostic. They range from the extremely poor, to extremely rich, and vary in skills and attitudes that help or hinder their situation.
Would I recommend The Eighth Ransom?
I found the book to be very enjoyable, and the story and characters engaging and believable. The plot was suspenseful and engaging, fast-paced and action-packed. I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed this action-packed suspense novel. This story is a suspenseful, well written thought experiement that leaves readers wondering how it will all resolve. A perfect novel for teens who enjoy suspense and intrigue.
Be prepared for the ending to be a little cheesy compared to the suspenseful fast pace of the rest of the story. Definitely not a deal breaker technique as It’s hard for a happy ending to do otherwise, especially one that wraps up the story as effectively as this one. I also found the villain a little weird; all the trouble he goes to, and all the treason he commits for the sake of his goal are little disproportionate in my mind. Even with that, it doesn’t affect my taste for the story. Highly recommended, a enjoyable, fun, action packed read.
As an added bonus, Given Hoffman took time out of her busy writing schedule to guest speak to our Writing Club last spring, given students excellent advice on how to develop the tools and skills of writing, as well as how to develop professionally as a published author. Not only is Ms. Hoffman an excellent author, but a passionate and encouraging speaker.
The Eighth Ransom– highly recommended for those who love fast paced adventure, good clean fun and books worth thinking about.
(Are you looking for more great books? Check out our Book Recommendations from Tweens & Teens.)
For more information about the author and her work, go to Given Hoffman, go to givenhoffman.com.