Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{May 26, 2013}   {ARC Review} The Island by Jen Minkman

17825118From Goodreads: ‘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?

This is a rather short novella that has a very interesting premise. However, I feel The Island could have been more fleshed out and less choppy had the story been more developed. I do understand the idea of a novella, but in this case, I’d really like to see this piece become a full fledged novel.  Truthfully, I believe this novella has all the workings of a great story, but just needs to flow a bit more and add in more storyline, further developing all the characters, their plights, and the background of the island, slowing down the pacing and giving readers time to digest it all, because, this story is actually quite phenomenal.

In terms of characters, I found them to be a bit too flat for my liking.  Yes, they all undergo a huge change, but I felt like they offered little to no resistance to this huge change that invades their lives, and they instead believe everything they are told without second guessing or much struggle. And, when the story really could have taken a turn and beefed up the plot through the climax, I found that everything resolves itself a bit too neatly. Truthfully, I liked the overall concept and the characters, but I need more substance, and making this a full novel, I believe, would do the trick.

Now, I feel I must also mention the connection to Star Wars, which had me baffled throughout much of the story.  I was initially floored by the introduction of this very well know movie saga, and, truthfully, I groaned a little when I made the connection because I couldn’t fathom where the story was going or how on earth these fictional characters from the movie flowed into this novella.  BUT, it did!  Minkman floored me again with her explanations at the end, which comes on very fast and all at once, shedding a very interesting light on the famous movie saga and how it all comes together for the characters in The Island.  And, for that aspect alone, I think everyone should read it, because it really blew my mind!  Three stars.

3 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review prior to its release on June 1, 2013.

Make sure you check out the sequel, The Waves, which fleshes out the above story through the eyes of another character–it’s very well done!

[…] is true for The Waves, the second novel in The Island series by Jen Minkman.  When I first read The Island this past Spring, I was a little disappointed because the story seemed a little pushed, though I […]

I read and reviewed The Island and can’t wait to read The Waves book #2 in the series. I really and truly loved The Island. *The rest of this comment has been hidden due to spoilers*

[…] {ARC Review} The Island by Jen Minkman ( […]

BTW is it okay if I use part of your review in the editorial section on Amazon, crediting your website of course? I’d ask you by e-mail but I can’t find your contact details anywhere….

Thanks ever so much for your glowing review! :)

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