Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{November 3, 2013}   {Review} The Waves by Jen Minkman (The Island #2)

18402115From Goodreads: The first memory I have of my grandfather is of a moment that we share together.

I’m sitting on his knee looking out over the harbor. Grandpa is smoking a pipe. He points at the horizon. “Look, Walt. Our ships are out there. And one day, another even more beautiful ship will appear at the horizon. A mighty ship to take us all away. And Annabelle will be at the front deck with open arms, inviting us all to join her on board.”

“Why don’t we sail to her ourselves?” I want to know.

“Because she promised she would come,” granddad replies. “And in that promise we trust. It’s only the Unbelievers who think they can do everything themselves. They have no faith in the Goddess.”

Walt lives in Hope Harbor, an island community that has put its trust in salvation from across the sea. The townspeople wait patiently, build their ships to sail out and welcome the Goddess, and piously visit the temple every week. Horror stories to scare their children are told about the Unbelievers on the other side of Tresco.

But not all is what it seems. Walt has questions that no one can answer, and when his best friend and cousin Yorrick is killed in an accident, he digs deeper to find out the truth about the origins of Hope Harbor’s society… and the secrets of the temple.

Return to the world of The Island and discover what Walt’s life was like before and after he met Leia!


If you’re like me, then you probably really enjoy novels that give you the “other” side of the story—the same story from a different character’s point of view.  Take Stephanie Meyer’s Midnight Sun, or Marata Eros’ A Brutal Tenderness, for examples.  In Twilight we learn everything from Bella’s point of view, but in Midnight Sun (what’s available, anyway), we are given the same information through Edward’s eyes, which is fantastic, in my opinion.  The same is true in Eros’ A Terrible Love series, giving readers Jess’ point of view in A Terrible Love, and Cass’ in A Brutal Tenderness, bring the story full circle and allowing readers to ascertain the thoughts and feelings of the quiet and brooding Cass, even adding in some differing situations, and taking us back into the worlds we love so deeply.

The same 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 liked it overall.  The characters in this first novella were a bit flat, and everything resolved itself just a little too easily for my liking.  However, with the publication of The Waves, Minkman fleshes out the original story, making it much more concrete and filling in the holes left behind by The Island, but doing so through the eyes of a side character in The Island, Walt.

On the island, there are actually two differing groups of people residing, set apart by a vast wall.  Both sides have extremely different ideology concerning where they come from and whether or not they will ever be saved, and they both put their trust in relics such as books.  However, the sides have grown so distant that no one really knows anything about the other anymore, and so they stick to their own knowledge and teachings, fearing the unknown.

Leia grew up on the “Unbelievers” side (though she and her people would never call themselves that).  They believe that every man is for themselves, that children must raise themselves away from The Parents, and that they are completely alone in the universe—there is nothing across the vast space of ocean, and no one will ever come to “save” them.  Walt grew up on the “Fools” side, though again, he and his people would never refer to themselves as that.  They believe that the goddess will one day send her people across the ocean and come for the people on the island, so they hold out hope and wait for the day they may glimpse a ship.

Sound intriguing?  It is, and The Island, book one in the series, focuses on the story of Leia as she questions all that she knows.  But, like I said, I thought that first novella needed a lot more explanation and fleshing out.  The Waves, thankfully, does just that, presenting the story from Walt’s point of view, a “Fool” on the other side of the wall, and it mirrors events in both stories, giving readers the “other side” of the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Picking up a few years prior to events in The Island, we meet Walt and his cousin as they begin to question all they know of Hope Harbor.  Why not build boats and try to see what’s on the other side, if anything, of the ocean? Why must they wait until a ship comes for them?  These questions, and information Walt’s cousin unearths in the vast array of books only a few chosen are allowed to read, ultimately lead to Walt’s cousin’s death… and the Unbelievers did it.  But did they?  As the novella continues to unfold, it begins to parallel events we read about in The Island, showing us what Walt was thinking when he first met Leia, where he took her book after returning home to his side of the island, who he spoke to, and how both the Fools in Hope Harbor and the Unbelievers on the other side decide it is time to confront their beliefs; after all, is it ever smart to only allow a select few the power and knowledge to lead a people?

Overall, The Waves adds a lot to the original story, and this glimpse into the other side of the island is exactly what was needed to make The Island complete.  I highly recommend you read both novellas together in order to get the entire story.  Four stars.

4 starsI received this novella from Netgally in exchange for an honest review.


It is a good story, I preferred this one to the first, there was much more too it. I hope she writes more in that world :)

Thanks very much for reviewing my latest novella :)

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