Title: The Island
Author: M. A. Bennett
Publication date: 25th July 2018
My rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads rating: 3.52
This review is spoiler free, I talk about aspects of the book, but nothing that gives the plot away as a whole.
I received an ARC of this book from the Swansea Blogger’s Collective meeting and also NetGalley. Thank you to Hot Key Books, Tina Mories and of course the author, M. A. Bennett for providing my with a copy of this book.
All views are my own and are not influenced by receiving a copy of this book.
*Trigger warnings – Attempted suicide, bullying, violence, descriptions of animal killing and death*
Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad – however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others…
When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School – forever – if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes ‘No man is an island’ – but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone’s true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence…
Overall opinion of the book:
I throughly enjoyed The Island. If you enjoyed Lord of the Flies and the tv programme Lost, I’m certain you’ll love this book too. The story mainly follows Link after his plane crashes on a desert island. At first he believes he’s the only survivor, but he soon realises the other six students from his school are still alive. The plot follows their journey of survival and interesting interactions with each other. The people Link are stranded on the island with all treated him unfairly in school. The plot develops to show a change in power and opinions of each character. Without giving too much of the plot away, there are a LOT of twists and turns throughout and it’s so interesting to see the character’s reactions when faced with the need to survive.
This the first book of M. A. Bennett’s I’ve read and it impressed me so much. I was honestly blown away by how fantastic and interesting it was! She goes into so much detail and it’s clearly a well thought out plot; all of the loose ends are tied up nicely at the end of the novel too.
The overall storyline was great and I particularly liked that the flaws of each character, including Link are shown throughout. It makes the characters and their actions far more believable. By having a main character that displays some serious flaws on occasion, it emphasises how power and the need for survival can affect even the strongest and kindest of people. Link is far from the “perfect hero” and that was refreshing to read.
At first, it did take me a little while to get into the plot as the first quarter is slower paced compared to the rest of the book. However, the first few chapters cover crucial backstories of the characters, especially Link, which help the reader to understand the actions of each character when they’re on the island. As soon as Link wakes up on the island itself I was engrossed in the plot, it was all so intriguing! Although I didn’t completely guess the ending of the book, I did pick up on a few hints throughout. The ending left me shocked, in a good way!
A lot of the plot focuses on Desert Island Discs. In short, it’s a radio show segment mentioned in the book that discusses what songs you’d want with you if you were stuck on a desert island. Link enjoys the show and begins to question each of the characters on their choices. Being a big lover of music, I found it intriguing to hear what songs everyone chose, and some of them took me by surprise.
The only part of the book I didn’t enjoy as much was the epilogue. For me what happens felt a little cliche and I thought the novel rounded off really well just before the epilogue. It was still interesting to read and see how each of the character’s lives progress in the future however.
In regards to spelling, punctuation and grammar, there were a few minuscule niggles I noticed, but nothing significant at all. As I didn’t read a finished copy, this is to be completely expected. The overall book was written brilliantly.
After reading M. A. Bennett’s bio at the end of the book, it was so interesting to see that she included parts of her own life in the book, such as Oxford University and U2. I love when authors do this.
I would definitely recommend The Island. It’s fast paced, interesting and it completely engrossed me. Bennett is a fantastic author and I can’t wait to read her first novel S.T.A.G.S in the future.
If you like books with interesting plots, complex characters and desert islands then this is definitely the book for you!
If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here:
My 8 Desert Island Disc would be (in no particular order):
1. Sweet Dreams (are made of this) – The Eurythmics
2. Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance
3. I’m Made Out of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made of? – A Day to Remember
4. Jesus of Surburbia – Green Day (its 9 mins long, so that means as much a Green Day as possible!)
5. Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
6. LoveGame – Lady Gaga
7. Numb – Linkin Park
8. Stronger – Kanye West
What would your desert island disc be? Let me know in the comments below – let’s compare! 😊🤘🏻
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