Monday, October 26, 2015

ARC Review: The Rig by Joe Ducie

Title: The Rig (The Rig #1)
Author: Joe Ducie
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers 

Pages: 320
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//I received this book through Goodreads First Reads 
in exchange for an honest review//

Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake...

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X - a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom - but can they survive long enough to make it?

Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author's fantastically imagined sci‐fi nightmare. 

The Rig caught my attention right away based on its title and the cover. I'm married to a Merchant Marine, so I have a little familiarity with oil rigs. Then I read the description and was totally sold! I love stories about survival and escape. The idea of being stuck on an oil rig in the Arctic Ocean totally freaks me out. Not to mention the bit about things not being as they seem. All that to say I was really excited to read this book!

Right away, this book pulled me in with its descriptions of the rig and its inner workings as a prison. Joe Ducie has done a fantastic job of creating an amazing setting out of a structure that could certainly have come across as boring. I also did a lot of fact-checking with my husband and overall the setting seems to hold up. I definitely felt like I could see each level and platform of the rig! It seems like an urban explorer's dream!

The characters were mostly enjoyable. This story is about Will Drake, a guy who just happened to find himself in a bad situation that landed him in jail. But Will is great at escaping, it seems. I wish a little more had been revealed at exactly -why- Will was so skilled at escapes. His backstory didn't make him seem like anything special, so I had kind of a hard time accepting him as a character worthy of comparison to Jason Bourne. The bad guys of The Rig were probably a little more believable than Will, in my opinion, although I did have a lot of questions about their motives once the book had ended.

My major problem with The Rig was the magic element. I somehow overlooked this part of the synopsis, so it caught me off guard. That isn't the issue, though. The magical substance, Crystal-X, is mysterious from the beginning of the book until it ends. Not much is ever explained about it. The book never goes into the why's and how's of this magical mineral and it's not clear why it affects different people in different ways. I'm okay with some questions being left over at the end of a book, but I feel like nothing at all was answered in this one. More than that, though, is that I don't even feel like the magic was necessary. The Rig was shaping up to be an awesome survival/escape story before Crystal-X was introduced.

Overall, I The Rig was just okay. I loved the world and the set up of the plot. I just wish it had strayed into weird, magic territory.