Friday, December 26, 2008

Book Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Amazing. Just... amazing. If this book doesn't win bajillions of awards, I will be absolutely flummoxed.

In a world where the fight for freedom is everywhere, how does one slave grab a piece of it for herself and her small sister?

It's 1776, and Isabel and Ruth have just been set free by the death of their mistress. Except they haven't, because the lawyer who drew up the will setting them free has run off in the face of the Revolution, and their mistress's nephew isn't interested in papers or freed slaves, so Isabel and Ruth are sold to the Locktons, British nationals on their way home to New York. When they arrive in the middle of a smoldering hotbed of sedition between the British and the American Patriots, Isabel doesn't care- all she can think about is finding the lawyer and his papers, escaping, and keeping her sister safe from their new mistress, the cruel and terrifying Madam Lockton. When the boy in the red hat, Curzon, asks her to spy on her new Master for George Washington and his rebel army in return for the possibility of freedom, all Isabel can see is a way home. Instead, she finds herself chained between two nations, helpless to fight for her own freedom in the face of the events surrounding her- or is she?

Anderson doesn't pull any punches here- you will cry, scream, and rage with Isabel against the violent injustice and hippocracy committed both by and against the British and American officers and soldiers. If you always thought the Americans were the good guys fighting for freedom and the British the bad guys oppressing us, look at the Revolutionary War through Isabel's eyes and be both horrified and astounded.

This books ends on kind of a huge cliffhanger, but not to worry- it's the first of the Seeds of America trilogy, so there'll be more- the next is titled Forge, although it doesn't yet have a release date.

Megan
(just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman over the holiday, fabulous!)

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