Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Review ~ The Island - Jen Minkman

The IslandeARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 1st June 2013

Publisher: Patchwork Press

‘I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look.

Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers.

If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall.
Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says.
I have never seen one.’

Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.
But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?

My Opinion

It was the description, combined with the cover that drew me to this novella. I mean kids taking care of themselves, on an island, which is separated into two classes that are divided by a wall and a strange man washing ashore causing Leia to question everything she has been told and grown up with sounds interesting right? However in my opinion this novella did not live up to the description and for me there is more detail in the description than in the actual novella.

I read a lot of reviews complaining this book is Star Wars 'fan fic' so I was slightly hesitant to start this once I saw the reviews. I have never seen Star Wars so I cannot compare this novella to the movies but I know enough to see where people have got these views from. First of all the main character is called Leia, there are references to 'The Force' and then mentions of Luke. However that's as far as my knowledge stretches though so for me the Star Wars thing was not an issue. I did think how some of the characters believed the book to be true was an interesting concept.

The major the thing I had an issue with in this story was the fact I feel the description has more detail than the actual novella. Everything just seemed so rushed and it caused the writing to become jumpy and disjointed as rather than moving from one scene to the next seamlessly the writing just seemed to abruptly change with little detail. It was a common case of telling the audience rather than showing them and I think most of this was down to the restraints of it being a novella. There just wasn't enough time to develop anything in the amount of detail I would have liked.

As well as this because of the lack of detail I didn't really engage with any of the characters as there was a lack of development and a lack of any real emotion described. The speech felt a bit stiff and unnatural and seemed to move the plot along rather than develop relationships. It just didn't appear believable to me. I hate to say this as I really wanted to like this novella as the description sounded so good but I just could engage with it at all and it was only due to the fact it is a novella did I finish it. If it had been longer I think I would have had to given up.

Overall I was pretty disappointed with this novella. The premise was good but due to the restraints of it being a novella it left a lot to be desired for in terms of description, character development and plot line. 

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