TITLE: The Island
AUTHOR: C.L. Taylor
PUBLISHED: January 2021
MY RATING: 3.5/5
I received an eARC copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to NetGalley and the publisher HarperCollins HQ for the opportunity to review this book.
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*
Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.
But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.
Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.
Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.
Who will make it off the island alive?
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This was my first time reading anything by C.L. Taylor, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll certainly look into other titles that she has written. But for now let’s focus on this one.
I really liked the concept of the novel – a group of teens (17 years old) left stranded on an island where they not only need to survive until they are rescued, but they must also outwit whoever has overheard them speak of their phobias and is making them come true. I like the idea of dual danger; where there is more than one threat, and where suspicion is cast upon everybody, and this book certainly provides both of these elements. It’s been compared to Lost and The Hunger Games, but I cannot comment on how fair a comparison this is because I haven’t watched Lost, and whilst I have seen The Hunger Games I haven’t read the books. I will say that with the films in mind, this is somewhat of a reach in my opinion. I don’t want to say why because I don’t want to give anything away, but if you are expecting The Hunger Games when you pick this one up, you might be disappointed.
The book has a great structure, and the plot progresses well. It’s paced in a way that the author manages to build suspense without being boring or repetitive. I’ve read a lot of thrillers (it is my favourite genre after all) and I’ve come across many where the pace really lets them down, either it’s a race to the finish or a hard slog, and both are extremely unsatisfactory journeys. This book isn’t like that at all, it’s full of mystery and intrigue and the events take place in a realistic time frame.
I couldn’t review a thriller without talking about the twist, but I must admit it’s a bit tricky with this one. Why? Well, yes the story unfolds well, and yes there were enough hints and red herrings to keep me engaged but (you knew there was a but coming right?!) I did find the ending to be a little disappointing. It’s hard for me to explain why because it wasn’t a bad ending, I suppose it’s just personal preference. I didn’t guess the outcome though and that is always a plus point, I love it when a book surprises me.
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There are some trigger warnings to be aware of – death, harassment, phobias, bullying and PTSD, but they are all handled sensitively and actually bring a lot to the story. With this being a YA book, I think shedding a light on these issues is so important, and I was impressed with how Taylor did it.
My only criticism lies with the characterisation. I don’t feel as though they were all as developed as they should have been – Jeffers and Meg in particular. What I did learn about them left me wanting to know more, but not in a suspenseful or mysterious way, rather in a way that left me feeling annoyed because they felt half finished. I feel there was some missed potential here.
Overall a good read, with enough positives to convince me to check out more of the author’s work. I would definitely recommend. I don’t often read YA thrillers but this one has convinced me that it is an area I should absolutely explore further.
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Have you read The Island? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!