Monday, June 17, 2013

ARC Review: The Island by Jen Minkman

Title: The Island
Author: Jen Minkman
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 1, 2013

Goodreads rating: 3.48 out of 5.00
Goodreads | Amazon

‘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?

Review by Nara

I'm just going to say this- the world building in The Island is weird. You see the caption on the cover "a dystopian novella" and so think, okay, it's probably going to be a post-apocalyptic story, possibly zombie or The Road style. And it goes as expected- the characters live in a society where the children are sent to a separate "village" to fend for themselves until they turn 18- until about, say, chapter 6, when this pops up:
...-a picture of one of our ancestors. The first Luke to have lived on the island. He's wearing a white outfit and he's holding some sort of weapon that doesn't exist anymore. Next to him is his sister Leia, holding a light saber.
Ummm, WHAT? Okay, when exactly did this turn into a Star Wars fanfic?? Not that I minded, I guess, it was just seriously unexpected. Also:
"You're blinding me, for Luke's sake!"
"And who the Darth are you?"
HAHAHAHAHA! WHAT THE HELL! Who says that?? Seriously, it's hilarious! (Then again, in this dystopian society it's probably quite reasonable).

I did say that the world building is weird, but that doesn't make it bad. The overall quality of the writing in The Island was actually quite good. Everything happened a bit too quickly (one of the downfalls of a novella) but other than that, the plot was reasonable. The characters were interesting enough that I was sufficiently immersed in the story to actually really want to see this story as a full length novel- I liked the idea of the story, and would like to see what happens past the story that's given in the novella.

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5