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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Island by Jen Minkman

The Island
‘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?

(Please note: this novella contains a few references to the famous sci-fi movie Star Wars which are pivotal to the plot. None of the characters in The Island are in any way related to the characters in the movie. Leia is named after one of the ancient heroes of her culture/religion.)
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 138 pages (E-book)
Source: NetGalley ARC
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: May 28th 2013 by Patchwork Press
The Island was my second read by author Jen Minkman and though I absolutely loved her novel Shadow of Time and haven't stopped raving about it (I think I almost have Mr. Turning the Pages convinced enough to give it a try) I was still nervous about reading this one. I'm not a fan of novellas except for the rare one that I read and those occur maybe once or twice a year but I really should have known better because just like Shadow of Time  I loved The Island.
Since this was such a short read I'm not going to mention any spoilers in the novel since I don't want to ruin the book for anyone but I will talk about the parts I enjoyed about The Island and what I didn't like so much.
The Island was a very unique dystopian read that was intriguing and thought provoking which I didn't expect from it at all. I went in hoping for a fun read (which it was) but didn't expected to find myself thinking about it so much but that seems to be a pattern with Jen's writing as I had the same reaction to Shadow of Time when I read it.
I thought the plot was very well thought out. Jen managed to entertain as well as make me thing about what she was writing about. The societies of the people especially Leia's people's beliefs was interesting and definitely unexpected and utterly surprising. I loved the uniqueness of the plot because it was so refreshing and complex despite the book's short length.
The characters were realistic despite their odd circumstances and the societies they were born into they were still very normal though I did sense a bit of a Lord of the Flies mentality so perhaps my definition of normal is off. Leia was likeable and I really enjoyed her as a main character. Even though she had been born into such a strange way of life she still questioned things and I liked her refusal to except certain things that she learned as well as how strong of a character she became.
The other characters were good too though I did wish that there had been a wee bit more character development with the side characters. I wanted to see a little more emotion from some of the side characters and that is the one thing that was a drawback for me though it is one that I think can be looked past due to the quality of the plot and it wasn't as though they were one dimensional. It's more of a personal preference of mine to have a little more substance to characters I read about though I do understand that due to the length of the novella that things had to be pared down.
Overall, The Island was a very good read. It was fast paced, had a distinct air of adventure and discovery and I thought it was the perfect quick read that went by fast but still had quite a bit of substance. The writing was very good, characters were interesting and the plot was unique. I can honestly say that Jen Minkman is one of my favourite YA authors and I hope she continues writing because as longs as she does I'll be reading and buying her books.
I would highly recommend The Island to people who enjoy YA Dystopian novels that are looking for a quicker read that still packs a certain amount of punch and think this is the perfect story to immerse yourself in for the afternoon.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.

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  1. thanks for liking my books so much!! :)

  2. I've had my eye on this novel for a little while, and so glad you enjoyed it. Because I can't wait to pick it up myself.

    Thank you for the review!

    Lily @ Bookluvrs Haven.


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