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Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Kidnapped is one of the few classics assigned in elementary school that I actually read in elementary school and one of the few books I had to read for school that I really liked. I think it's a great book for convincing kids that classics can be readable and fun, although it's an adventure novel for kids and as an adult, I found it thin in places.

David Balfour had a quiet upbringing in the Scottish Lowlands, but his parents died and it's time to go out into the world in search of fortune. The local minister put him on his way, pointing to a nearby town where he has relatives. From there, he discovers that he is the rightful heir to a family fortune, is betrayed by his uncle, kidnapped on a sea voyage, meets and pairs with a rogue, makes his way through the wild Scottish Highlands. And in short, it follows the standard coming-of-age adventure story way.

It's fun to see how much Kidnapped matches the standard blockbuster fantasy plot without being fantasy at all. This type of adventure story is often written as fantasy these days, with the otherness of magic and medieval cultures replacing the otherness of historic Scotland and its wild nature, and yet little of the plot changes without the element. of fantasy. Without the growing discovery of mythological power or structure, there is less to do, but the complexities of Scottish politics fill in and feel deeper than most fantasy politics.

Bizarre locations, sexy rogues, high seas adventures, and a bit of Scottish political intrigue make this an adventure and provide the obvious appeal, but the strength of Stevenson's writing lies in the interactions of the characters. Not so much the characters themselves: David is a solid man, young and a bit reckless and full of self-confidence. Alan is a classic rogue, with a certain fighting skill, a gift for the word, and a gambling problem. The other characters also tend to stick to the types of actions, and none of them change much in the course of the adventure. But they all feel deep and nuanced because Stevenson's touch with dialogue and interaction is exceptional.

David expresses an attitude of superiority and adventure in the first-person narrative that matches his age and is mixed with a direct attitude of his upbringing that occasionally takes him by surprise. Alan is not just a rogue with a heart of gold; He's also unpleasant to David when he's in that mood. David doesn't really know how to deal with his conflicting political beliefs. When they finally have a serious fight, it is one of the most honest fights I have seen in a book of this type; They fight like real resentful adults, true to character, rather than smug children or distraught teens.

There are some flaws. I found the beginning and end of the book by far the strongest, and I got quite tired of the long walk through the Scottish Highlands, marked by only a few major events. The final resolution of David's inheritance is a wonderful piece, but a touch too easy (although Stevenson does a great job of making the victory a little less complete for practical reasons). And this is still an adventure novel for children, an exciting game, and not much more than that. But it is a great example of the genre.

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RRP $39.99
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PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Subtitle: Annotated
  • Format: PaperBack
  • Category: Historical fiction
  • Publication Date: 03/10/2020
  • Pages: 356
  • Height: 9.02 inch
  • Weight: 1.15 pound

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