Chains by Laurie Andersom

October 1, 2009
By alisonz BRONZE, San Francisco, California
alisonz BRONZE, San Francisco, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In Isabel Finch’s life, punishment is intolerable. As an example,

“The growling iron streaked in front of my face like a comet.

The crowd roared.

The man pushed the hot metal against my cheek. It hissed and bubbled. Smoke curled under my nose.

They cooked me.

The man stepped back and pulled the iron away. The fire in my face burned on and on, deep through my flesh, searing my soul.”


Isabel Finch, a young slave girl during the Revolutionary War, has been sold along with her sister, Ruth, to the Locktons, a couple living in New York, who are highly suspected of moving against the revolutionists and for the King. Madam, the wife of Master Lockton, is a highly unpleasant woman who controls everyone in the house but her husband. Master Lockton is busy working for the King, planning his own agenda, and chattering with his buddies. Along with the Locktons, there are many other characters who are more appealing to Isabel, such as Lady Seymour, Lockton’s aunt and a slave owner who at one point takes Isabel in. Another character would be Curzon, a Revolutionist’s slave who she befriends. He shows Isabel the Patriotic way and succeeds in convincing her to spy on her masters for his own. He promises her that after his master has gotten his freedom, they will get theirs, the one thing she is desperate for.

Come into Isabel’s world, full of secrets, war, and punishment. Watch her lose everything, work to exhaustion, and go through the war as she fights her own. She is determined to get freedom for herself and her sister; whatever it takes, even if it means burning the letter “I” on her cheek. She is courageous, young, and full of purpose. She is watching a country fight for its own freedom; why can’t she fight for her own?

Chains is an amazing book about a girl’s journey for freedom. I literally felt like I was walking in her shoes and I became lost in Laurie Anderson’s words of this girl’s struggle. The way she captured Isabel’s emotions during every part of the book had me at some points, crying along with her! She really shows you the untold story of the Revolutionary War, of how one girl is trying to find her own freedom when her nation is trying to find its own. It has a suspenseful moment at every corner, and is thoroughly touching with each turn of the page. I felt immersed in the book; it sucked me in and I didn’t want to get out!

Chains is a great book for people who want a suspenseful, compassionate, and an inspiring book. I’d recommend it for young adult readers who are interested in history, slavery, and disloyalty. Laurie Anderson has done an excellent job of telling the story, in her first out of two current books about Isabel. If you love to watch history play before your eyes, then this is the book for you.

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