It’s been a few days since I put down Stolen and I’m still trying to work out my feelings about it. I’ve read tons of reviews and talked with other people who read it and there are some very conflicting viewpoints out there.
Let’s start with a summary: Gemma is a 16 year old girl who is abducted from an airport in Bangkok while traveling with her parents. Her kidnapper, Ty, has been stalking her for years and has chosen this moment to finally make his move. Ty drugs Gemma and when she comes out of her stupor, she finds herself in the desert. In Australia. Completely and utterly cut off from civilization. Stolen is written as a letter from Gemma to Ty.
The more time passes in the hot, desolate Australian outback (which is vividly portrayed), the more Gemma’s feelings for Ty become conflicted. She hates him for stealing her, but comes to need him in a strange way as well. He is tender towards her, for the most part, claiming that he loves her and that he has “saved” her from a life where she doesn’t belong. He truly believes she is better off with him and will learn to love the life he has built for her on the land he obviously loves so much.
While it is clear that Ty manipulates Gemma in many ways to break her down mentally and emotionally, it was difficult for me to view him as a complete monster. This is the 3rd abduction novel (Room, Still Missing) I’ve read in under a year and I had no problem feeling outrage and hatred for the other kidnappers. But with Ty it was different. Maybe it was because he was young. Maybe it was because he was described as being attractive. Maybe it was because he had a troubled past and passionately believed that he loved Gemma, when it is so clear that he has no idea what true love is. I can’t say for sure. Some reviewers have claimed Christopher created a scenario in which we as the reader develop Stockholm Syndrome along with Gemma, where our feelings for Ty become twisted and distorted and we just can’t seem to completely hate him.
One thing I did think about several times while reading was that this would have been a more interesting story if it had been from Ty’s point of view. I found myself wanting to know more about his motivations for doing what he did, sick and twisted though it was. I guess I wonder, was there more to this troubled man than just he awful thing he did…or was I manipulated by him as well?