*** - The Island
After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they're deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.
When they discover a remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.
But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.
When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.
Now it's up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don't trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.
Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.
MY REVIEW ***
The Island had an intriguing blurb and skimming through the Goodreads reviews before reading it really added to the air of mystique as readers promised ‘no spoilers’ and implored me to just jump in and read it.
I’m glad I didn’t know too much about the book before reading – it certainly kept me on my toes. There’s a remote island and a crazy family and Heather, Tom and children Olivia and Owen really are thrust into a survivalist nightmare. The book also jumps around in perspective – giving the reader an insight into each character which works well and also adds to the tension as you aren’t quite sure who the main character is – no-one is safe from being killed off. Going in blind I wasn’t really expecting the amount of gore and bloodshed which happens in the book.
The pace is also kept high and a lot happens throughout, although it does get a bit repetitive with deals and double crossing towards the end – I was ready for it to finish by the final few chapters. I also didn’t really enjoy the writing style at times - short one- or two-word sentences are used a lot, particularly in the middle of the book which I don’t think added to the story. The writing is also quite juvenile at times (and not in the chapters which involve the children). There is a heavy amount of suspension of disbelief required and some very convenient plot devices which left me rolling my eyes in places. Although I believe the island and the family could have been real it was the amount of survivalist knowledge that Heather happened to have from her cult upbringing (which sadly is never really expanded on apart from vague and confusing flashbacks) and the amount of information on a wide range of very specific topics that the pre-teen children had which made it hard to believe.
Overall, The Island is a gory fast-paced thriller but was let down by its writing style and amount of suspension of disbelief which is placed on its readers. Thank you to NetGalley & Orion for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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