Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Homelanders book 1: The Last Thing I Remember - by Andrew Klavan

Charlie West just woke up in someone else’s nightmare.

He’s strapped to a chair. He’s covered in blood and bruises. He hurts all over. And a strange voice outside the door just ordered his death.

The last thing he can remember, he was a normal high-school kid doing normal things—working on his homework, practicing karate, dreaming of becoming an air force pilot, writing a pretty girl’s number on his hand. How long ago was that? Where is he now? Who is he really?

And more to the point... how is he going to get out of this room alive?

Initial Reaction:

I really loved this book! 

The books I normally read are either fantasy or historical fiction, so this book was really refreshing! This is the first real thriller I’ve read, the other two being on the more mystery/spiritual side. I loved the action, the Christian values, patriotism and the theme of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what the cost.

The book begins with Charlie West waking up in a torture room with no memory of how he got there or why... and he just heard his captor give the order of his death. He then proceeds to escape, and during the first half of the book, while he hides, he tries to recall things from the last day he remembers. 

He is finally able to get away from his captors, only to find out that a whole year has passed since the last day he remembers. And not only are the terrorists after him, but the authorities as well, determined to lock him behind bars for a murder that he doesn’t remember committing... the murder of his former best friend, Alex Houser...

The Characters:

Charlie West is the main character. He’s your normal seventeen-year-old American teenager who goes to church, tries to do what he believes is right, and is a black belt in karate. I actually really liked Charlie, and that really pleased me because the last thriller I read was The Hunger Games, and Katniss drove me crazy! (I’ll be doing a review on The Hunger Game books sometime soon). Charlie was a nice guy, got good grades, and dreamed of being an Air Force Pilot. He had his problems and doubts but when something bad happened, he always went back to his beliefs to sort out his confusion.

Beth Summers is Charlie’s crush. She’s sweet, pretty, and is a nice side character. None of the characters’ personalities have really developed yet, but I see great potential for almost all of them.

Charlie has four main friends and they’re all awesome! Seriously, these kids just made me want to jump into the book so I could hang out with them. They were hilarious!

Alex Houser is Charlie’s old best friend. They drifted apart after Alex’s dad left and they moved away. Since then Alex had gotten into trouble with bad choices of friends, drugs, and smoking. He turned into a really messed up kid and was starving for answers. He was also looking for consolation in the bad things that he was doing.

And finally we get to the Homelanders. The Homelanders are a group of Americans recruited by Islamic terrorists to help destroy America. Because the Homelanders are Americans, they can blend into society where the terrorists can not. They are America haters and are intent on destroying it from the inside. They are the one’s who held Charlie captive in the beginning.

The Plot:

I was really hesitant to read this book because of the synopsis. I mean, what normal teenager wakes up in the hands of Islamic terrorists who are torturing him for information that will aid in the destruction of America? It’s just not realistic. What kind of kid knows that kind of information? 

The Writing Style:

I really enjoyed the writing style. The author did a great job communicating Charlie’s thoughts and internal conflicts. And also, he really knows how to write what a teenager would think, and some of Charlie’s thoughts or references were hilarious!

Concluding Thoughts:

Even though I haven’t found out the reason for Charlie waking up in the hands of terrorists with no memory, I still really enjoyed this book because of the characters and the writing style. I definitely recommend it. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  

For ages 13+

You can buy it here.