Written by David Massey
The story is set in the Atlantic Ocean for the first half of the book. Being in the ocean on the yacht forces Rio to bond and befriend the rest of the group. Before that trip they were all but strangers to her. Their time on the boat gave them a bond that would drive them to work together. The rest of the story takes place in the African jungle. The jungle is humid and is full of wildlife. The group even runs into a rhino and a silver back gorilla. There’s a lot of foliage and the group is taken into soldier camps as captives.
Massey’s main character is Rio. She is seventeen years old and hails from the United Kingdom. She’s a really well developed character. She starts off as a shy character, not knowing anyone in the group. Her problem is that she feels like she’s out of place. Being one of the only two “able bodied” crew members being the one without the disability puts her at a distance from everyone else. Although she is young and shy, she has a talent for sailing and impresses everyone on the boat. That opens the door to their relationship. Another character is Marcus. Marcus is the clown of the group. He is nineteen and best friends with Ash, the leader of the croup. Marcus had to get major facial reconstruction after his chopper was shot down in the Middle East. Although he was sort of a comic relief, he lived in Ash’s shadow. Too little focus was on Marcus. He even disappears halfway through the book and comes back at the end of the story. His absence barely even made a difference anyway. That’s a problem.
Massey does a good job in making the characters believable teenagers. Most authors do a really bad job at this. They tend to make the teenagers too bubbly or too “foolish”, like they’ll do anything because they’re young and free. However, Massey makes these teens have normal conversations. They even do things on social media. Some are even socially awkward. Two girls in the book even talk to just each other and Rio gets paranoid that they’re talking about her. Typical teenage thinking.
A bad point was the ending. It was way too rushed. It doesn’t talk about what all of the other characters are going to do. It’s strictly just Rio’s ending. The rest of the group may as well have died.
Taken, a fictional adventure novel, written by author David Massey, takes the reader into central Africa. The story focuses around the lives of a small group of young adventurers. The group consists of four disabled ex-military servicemen and two able bodied girls. The disabled servicemen are on a trip to sail all around the world to fundraise for starving children. They are required to have two able bodied people with them on the trip so that’s where we’re introduced to the main character Rio. As Rio gets to where the yacht is docked she’s alone and sees a sketchy figure watching at her from the peer. The man has a jaguar paw in a necklace around his neck and gives Rio a creepy yellow smile. He stares for a little while and makes Rio extremely uncomfortable. She backs up almost to the end of the dock and he jets off and disappears into the mass of trees. Rio then meets with the rest of the crew and they start to sail off. They sail for a couple of days and then give it a break for a couple of hours. Rio and Ash, one of the servicemen, are swimming in the ocean until suddenly, four black boats sped toward them. The two swim back to the yacht and join the rest of the crew. They try to sail off but their engine has been sabotaged. It turns out, someone had been hiding on the boat the entire night. They are then kidnapped and are taken back to land. They are held captive and must work together to escape and survive.
I was not satisfied with the ending. It was rushed. Rio was the only focus of the ending and no one else in the group was mentioned. The book also ended with a terrible “cliffhanger”. However, the rest of the story was still interesting. Through Massey’s characters and the trials they faced, able bodied or not, they all had a different kind of disability. Physical and mental. However, when they were together, they made up for where the other characters were flawed. That’s why they were able to get as far as they did.
Do you recommend this book? Yes
Sexual Content PG
Drug and Alcohol Use PG
Review by Imran F., Student, Cyprus High School
Rating: ★★★½✩ (3.5 stars)
Interest Level: Young Adult
Written by David Massey
Chicken House, Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: August 26, 2014