3 out of 4 stars
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"We write what happened today so we can learn for tomorrow" ~ V. Rocoso.
What would you do if you were kidnapped by pirates while on your way to a cruise ship? If your kidnappers burned all of your luggage but allowed you to keep only one item, what would you choose? Vanessa Rocoso chose her diary.
In it, she documented the events which took place when she, her sister, and several strangers realized that they were not heading to meet the holiday cruise ship. The boat they had cheerily boarded was sailing in the wrong direction. It was now taking them to another vessel – a floating gaol on which wealthy clients rented girls for sexual pleasures and paid to watch men fight to the death. Vanessa, Shae, Michael, Edward, Jonathon, Ben, Gwendolyn, Melanie, Bob, Catharine, and Jacqueline became victims of this horrible fate in December 2017. The chances of escaping were slim, but they had to try. Would they be able to defeat their monstrous kidnappers or would they become monsters themselves? Read The Diary of Vanessa Rocoso by Z.D. Boxall to find out what happened in this thrilling tale of survival.
There were so many things I wanted to dislike about this book like the bloody gore, the graphic ways in which some of the characters died, and the explicit subject matters of the book (which I was totally unprepared for). However, once I started reading, the story kept sucking me in with each plot twist. It was like watching a riveting horror movie where you can’t predict the ending, but you simply can’t turn it off because you have to get to the end to find out what happened to the characters. I noticed my heart racing and my breathing naturally pausing because more often than not, the characters sunk into dire situations where I could not predict what would happen next. I commend the author for writing such a riveting story, whether or not it was based on true events. The story also largely consisted of dialogue which at first I disliked. Later on, I appreciated this because I preferred not to read the descriptions of certain graphic scenes such as when a character was viciously mauled by a crocodile or when cannibalism emerged in the tale.
What I liked most about this book was that the author purposely left things to the reader’s imagination. Certain events which happened without much explanation caused me to think about why certain characters did the things they did. Some characters had fully developed backstories, while the author only left vague bits of information throughout the book about the others. This made me try to analyze the characters based on what I knew about them. There was also a Christian element to the book which seemed to operate in the background of the story. It added a peaceful balance to this dark tale which I really appreciated.
There were two things which caused me to deduct a star from the final rating. Firstly, one character was referred to by three names. Jonathon was also referred to as ‘John’ and ‘Johnny’. Since there were other characters to keep track of (who also had nicknames), using multiple nicknames for Jonathon made the story feel as if there were even more characters. Secondly, there were nine noticeable grammatical errors in the book.
In conclusion, I rate The Diary of Vanessa Rocoso 3 out of 4 stars for its unpredictable plot twists, thought-provoking elements, and riveting storyline. Adults who like thrilling adventure stories and maritime suspense tales will appreciate this tale. However, readers who are easily triggered by themes such as prostitution, kidnapping, torture, cannibalism, violence, and murder may not enjoy reading this.
The Diary of Vanessa Rocoso
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