Friday, July 26, 2013

It sounds bad but it's good! I think? My review of Bodyguard: Hostage

The Book: Bodyguard: Hostage by Chris Bradford

And It's About?


In a dangerous world, everyone needs protection.

No one suspects that a teenager could protect someone – but Connor Reeves is no ordinary 14 year old. He’s a professional bodyguard trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat. When he’s summoned to protect the President’s daughter, his protection skills face the ultimate test.

Alicia doesn’t want to be guarded. She just wants to have fun. With no clue that Connor is her bodyguard, she tries to escape the Secret Service and lead him astray. But unknown to her and Connor, a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated.

Its mission: to take the President’s daughter HOSTAGE.

In a word, it was... Unlikely

I read the blurb. I think: How am I supposed to take that seriously? First, I am meant to believe that a 14 year old is a bodyguard. I have met 14 year olds boys. I ain't trusting my life in their prepubescent hands. Even with mad kickboxing skills and putting aside my scepticism of their upper body strength aside, the full development of the parts of the brain that manages rational and mature behaviour is a real thing. And that shizz is just not working correctly until you are like 20. I should know (see all bad decisions made in high school).

Then, I am meant to believe that the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA would be totally cool with letting this kid protect his kid. Can I see Obezzy letting Conor Reeeves protect Sasha and... the other very pretty, probably also smart one? Not really. But it's supposed to make sense in Bodyguard because Conor's dad protected the President once and now Conor will protect the President's daughter Alicia because... that would be things coming full circle, I guess? The Secret service in the book is not amused. The Secret Service in real life would definitely not be down for that. (Case in point: Gaddaffi had a teen bodyguard and look how that ended.)

But the thing that for me was too much were the terrorists. Islamic terrorists would not want to take the President's daughter hostage to secure the release of ALL Islamic 'prisoners of war' or 'enemy combatants' or whatever, nor to force America troops out of all Islamic countries immediately. They would not want this not because it isn't something that they would theoretically like. Sure, it would be nice. But, they are much much more intelligent than that and no fundamentalist group would honestly believe that capturing the President's daughter would cause him to unilaterally end a multibillion dollar campaign against millions of people in dozens of countries working within, in collaboration with or in support of dozens of Islamic and other extremist groups. That would just not happen. If anything, they might want to assassinate members of the First Family to terrorise Americans in the same way as 9/11. Or maybe kidnap members of said family and render them to Islamic countries for a live execution on YouTube. Maybe.

These three ideas (14 year old as bodyguard, POTUS totally ok with this and terrorist dumb enough to think their plan will work) make up the bulk of this novel. If you cannot suspend your disbelief about these and ignore the real misunderstanding of international relations or the global war or terror, then this is not a book for you.

Luckily, I was reviewing the book for a news publication and had to suspend my disbelief. I'm glad I did. Besides it's naivety, it was a actually good book. It is YA fiction and it does not promise to be realistic or truthful and it is unfair and punitive to impose that burden of responsibility on the genre. Bodyguard was fast-paced, fun, well-written, full of action and great for young teens who might be more intrigued by this original idea than they are bothered by its implausibility.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog!
    I'm wondering: Do book lovers necessarily have to be book collectors?
    I tried to get rid of my books and failed miserably
    What do you think?

    Love from Germany,