CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 20 . . . .June 9, 2006
The Abduction. (Kidnapped, Book One).
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
137 pp., pbk., $6.99.
Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Marina Cohen.
Choloroform! The thought jolted Aiden into action. The only weapon at his disposal was his macramé project. With a cry of “Let her go!” he sprang at the assailant, wrapping the plant hanger around Spider-Man’s neck and yanking hard.
The man rasped his outrage, but he released Meg, who slumped to the ground. Aiden hung off the black-clad back, pulling on the tough yarn with all his strength.
A second figure—slimmer, and wearing a Mickey Mouse mask—jumped out of the van. He picked Meg up under her arms and began to drag her inside.
“No-o!” Aiden bellowed.
The lapse in concentration cost him. His opponent bent double, throwing the smaller Aiden up and over his shoulders in a midair somersault. Aiden hit the sidewalk with a jolt. Dazed and helpless, he watched in horror as his sister was stuffed inside the van.
The gravity of the situation came crashing down on him. A vehicle lying in wait. An unprovoked attack on a deserted walkway. Brutal assailants who hid their faces.
This was a kidnapping!
In this first book of Korman’s new series, “Kidnapped,” the reader is once again swept into the heroic adventures of 15-year-old Aiden Falconer and his 11-year-old sister, Meg. The novel begins as Aiden and Meg attempt to resume their lives after their parents have been cleared of treason and released from prison. Unfortunately, a shadow of doubt still hangs over the family name, and many still regard them as traitors.
While walking home from school one day, Meg is kidnaped, and, though Aiden tries to save her, he is overpowered. The family must team up with their once arch-enemy, Agent Emmanuel Harris of the FBI, in order to rescue Meg from her captors. Chapters alternate between Meg’s daring escape attempts and Aiden’s desperate search for clues which ultimately lead to a botched ransom drop-off and a failed rescue attempt. Meg, who has been held in an abandoned warehouse, is transferred to the trunk of a car which speeds away. The reader is left hanging by a thread, wondering—what next?
Once again, Korman demonstrates his talent for snatching his readers and holding them captive for the duration of the novel. The Abduction is fast-paced, the characters likeable and the dialogue credible.
With regards to the plot, several points stopped this reader. For one, Korman has Aiden enrolled in a macramé course. Though this happening provides for some humour, this reviewer found it hard to believe that there are entire courses in high school devoted exclusively to macramé. Another point that detracted from the credibility of the text was when Aiden returns to school the morning after his sister is kidnaped. It is a stretch to believe that even with FBI protection, parents - criminologists no less - would send their child to school, thus minimizing the gravity of the situation. At the beginning of the novel, Meg is playing baseball. Out of frustration, she throws her bat, and it hits the flagpole, sending the flag plummeting to the ground. Later in the story, she sends a signal to her brother by forcing two flags to the ground near the abandoned warehouse where she is being held captive. Once again, the integrity of the plot is compromised as Korman leans too heavily on coincidence.
The Abduction is an exciting and entertaining read. Fans of the “On The Run” series are certain to enjoy this novel with the return of Aiden and Meg and the pulse quickening, edge-of-your-seat action/adventure.
Marina Cohen has a Master’s Degree in French Literature from the University of Toronto.
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