Review of: Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Reviewed by: Bella

“She did not look into my eyes, did not see the lion inside.” Isabel Gardener is a lion roaring for her freedom. The novel Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a wonderful work of historical fiction.  Isabel and her sister Ruth are being sold to new owners and shipped to New York. Once curious  Isabel arrives, her desire is to receive the freedom she is entitled to. Isabel and her sister were supposed to be freed, because her previous owner left it in her will; she will do anything it takes to receive her freedom. Isabel and her friend Curzon, a boy she met in New York, are very loyal friends.  Curzon and Isabel’s owners are very different, Curzon’s are patriots and Isabel’s are loyalists. Curzon is much more happy with his master than Isabel, so they both don’t dream about freedom.  Isabel is determined and she fights for what she believes in. She becomes a spy; and turns her owner’s beliefs into plans to help her to get to freedom.  The Locktons, Isabel and Ruth’s decisive new owners, make them do housework and other chores against their will. Isabel must make a clever plan to pave her road to freedom and trust me, it won’t be easy.

I thought Chains was a wonderful novel, except for the fact that it was a bit slow in the middle. I got bored because there seemed to be no interesting action or information. I didn’t find much suspense in this book, which which made it harder to get through.  I enjoyed seeing how Isabel is determined to break the chains of slavery. While reading sometimes I felt various emotions such as sadness, curiosity,and amusement. For example, Mrs. Lockton is having dinner with guests, and then her fake eyebrow falls off, which made me laugh. I look forward to reading Forge, the sequel to chains, to see how Isabel and Curzon’s story unfold. Chains was a lovely story that shows that anything is possible.

I recommend Chains to girls 11 and older because they may be able to relate to Isabel’s determined personality. There are some amazing quotes in this novel that I enjoyed and had to write down, adding to my replete pile of sticky notes. Isabel goes through some painful situations, so some younger readers could be affected. Overall, this was a wonderful story about the chains of slavery.