Good morning, friends!
I recently had the opportunity to read and review a book with my mom and brother. It’s pretty rare all three of us read the same book, so it was pretty fun.
We read The Eighth Ransom by Given Hoffman. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:
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 they’re kidnapped with six others from across the U.S., they have nothing in common but their enemy. To survive, all eight of them will have to depend on each other. By working together, they just might prevent their ransoms from being used in an international plot that captures the attention of even the National Counterterrorism Center. But when lies test their fragile unity and even the truth holds unexpected secrets, their strengths may not be enough to save them and everyone else at risk.
So without further ado, here are our reviews!
A quick disclaimer before I get into this review. I’m not a huge YA suspense reader. I read a ton of YA, yes, but not very much suspense of any genre. 😉
I really enjoyed The Eighth Ransom. The characters were interesting and a couple of the plot twists caught me off guard.
Overall, the story wasn’t predictable. I appreciated the fact I didn’t figure out the entire plot before the characters did. I really liked the fact that most of the hostages had something to offer to the group—a special talent, knowledge, training, or character trait.
One critique I would offer is that as with most Christian fiction, the “good” characters are Christians and the “bad” characters are non-believers. This certainly wasn’t as pronounced in other books I’ve read. There was only one conversation that felt really forced, but the rest of the character interactions seemed natural.
I’d recommend this book to readers ages 13-16. Content wise, it’s clean. No romance at all. One character drinks, smokes, and is generally a “bad kid.” I did really appreciate that Hoffman did not use language in The Eighth Ransom. Her characters did swear, but she simply told you they swore and did not write the actual words. There is discussion of abortion and some general violence.
My teenage brother’s review!
As a teen boy who doesn’t like romance in books, I enjoyed this book. I liked most of the story, and the main characters were almost all relatively likable. I would say, however, that I wouldn’t recommend this for young kids that don’t understand abortion and religious debates, as they are discussed in the book. There are a few slightly more violent than usual scenes that may be disturbing to young kids.
The main storyline (without spoilers) is that 7 kids are kidnapped for things their parents have, and an 8th is taken along because he overhears the kidnappers. They must overcome dislike for one another and disagreements to attempt to escape, and while they’re at it, they discover how big their kidnappers’ plan really is. Of course, I can’t tell you if they escape or not (that would be a spoiler), so you’ll just have to read the book for yourself!
My mom’s review!
I am writing this review from the perspective of a mom looking for good young adult fiction books for her kids to read that are free from inappropriate material. The Eighth Ransom was a very action-packed story. I appreciated the elements of Christian faith that were woven throughout. I also appreciated that there was no romance of any kind.
I would only recommend this book for older teens as it includes many topics I would consider unsuitable for younger children (kidnapping, talk about abortion, murder, descriptions of fighting). While there is no swearing, there are mentions of characters cursing (without using the actual words). There is quite a bit of violence throughout the book.
I can see why a young adult reader would enjoy this story as it did have quite a bit of action to it. As an adult reader, I found some of the scenarios to be unrealistic, especially towards the end of the book. And I also found parts of the book confusing as there were so many characters, some of which were only introduced at the very end of the book.
Overall a good read for older teens that enjoy action stories without romance and bad language.