Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Island by Jen Minkman

The Island by Jen Minkman is work of dystopian fiction that falls into the young adult genre. The Island is approximately 138 page novella and is the first book in The Island Series.

I enjoy dystopian fiction from time to time, which is one of the reasons I chose to read this novella. I also decided to read this novella because of the cover art and its title. Jen Minkman is a new author to me. So, reading a novella by a new author gives me a flavor of of their writing style, especially when it comes to series of books that they write.

The plot details for The Island are as follows from Amazon's website:
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?
I enjoyed the beginning of The Island... I found the storyline, characters, dialogue to be intriguing and looked forward to reading more to see how things were going to turn out.

As The Island progressed though, I became disappointed with the storyline, the characters and the direction in which The Island was going. I almost gave up on finishing this novella a couple of times. The author, Jen Minkman, uses a Star Wars theme in her novella, which is where this novella gets really cheesy. I don't mind that the author used a word like the "force" in a book, but don't tie it back to Star Wars or use character names like Luke, Leia and Han Solo in your book... Or other Star Wars elements. I felt like Ms. Minkman could have created her own unique, original story without having to incorporate elements from Star Wars into The Island.

Sometimes, I liked the leading character of Leia, sometimes I didn't like her... Her character seems sort of wishy-washy... One part shy and vulnerable, not knowing how to right the situation at hand and save her civilization. Other times, she was sure of herself and ready to conquer the world and be the leader the island so sorely needs. I would have liked to see Leia develop more steadily into the role of leader/over-thrower. What also irked me is that Leia is 16 years old and acts more like an 11 or 12 year old than a 16 year old.

The evil leader at the Manor is Saul, who was not really that evil. The kid was a bully, plain and simple. Saul eventually broke down like a baby in the end when he was ousted from power.

I think the most interesting character in The Island was Walt, one of the Fools. He and Leia have an interesting relationship, even if the relationship at times is a bit immature. Walt and the other Fools give a lot of details about the history of the island and the past, which interesting to learn. Otherwise The Island was a pretty dull read for me.

Suffice it to say, I will NOT be reading anymore books in The Island series. I'm giving The Island a rating of 4 stars out of 10 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. That's too bad that you didn't enjoy this book. The synopsis of it really sounds intriguing but I don't like the idea that it's not original.

    1. I thought the synopsis was great too, which is what prompted me read The Island. Too bad it didn't live up to expectation. I've read a few other online reviews of this novella on a few blogs and many of them didn't like it either.

  2. That's true about Leia coming across as a lot younger than she really was. I think part of this could be a result of the fact that English isn't Minkman's dominant language (I'm guessing it's Dutch?), and so the sentence structures were simpler and more basic than they would have been. I wanted to see more personal introspection on Leia's part.
    --Ellen @ Glamorous Book Lounge

    1. Yes, more personal introspection on Leia's part would have been great, I agree. There are lots of little things that could have made The Island a better read. This book had so much potential to be a great read... I thought it started out well enough, but just went down hill for after the Star Wars elements were incorporated.