Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing The Island by C.L. Taylor.
The Island is a riveting story following six friends and their trip to a remote island. Everything starts off smoothly but, before they know it, their instructor is dead… And everything goes downhill from there. Before long all of their worst fears are coming true and they’re living in their very own nightmare, blame shifting from one from another. It soon becomes clear that someone is out to get them… The question is, who?
The Island was honestly such a great read and I finished it in less than 24 hours… I was reading it every spare moment I had! I think one of the things which hooked me the most was definitely the premise – six teenagers spending seven days on an island just by themselves, when things take a frightening turn – which I thought was really intriguing and executed really well. I feel like the idea of a holiday going wrong for teenagers is used a lot in YA but Taylor brought a new spin on it and came up with something truly unique, which I really appreciated.
I also really enjoyed the different POVs. For the vast majority of the book the chapters alternated between Jessie’s first person POV and Danny’s third person POV. Although I’ve mentioned in past reviews I’m not a fan of this, Taylor made really good, effective use of this, and I could definitely see how it was necessary to progress the plot. With that being said, Taylor definitely changed my mind on the issue of switching to first and third person due to how well it was executed and pulled off.
Of course, that wasn’t the only clever plot device Taylor used – they also made excellent use of an unreliable nature. I don’t think I’ve actually encountered a book which has used this before, but, if I have, I’ve definitely not read one used this expertly and to this extent. I thought this was a really great decision by Taylor because it only added to the tension and it constantly left me on the edge of my seat, wondering who I could trust.
I also loved the characters themselves. Each of the teenagers were so different from each other and the group had a very interesting dynamic – when they were getting along, that is. There were definitely lots of tense moments between the group, which was at least partially due to issues in both the past and present. Whilst they were on the island, we found out a lot about all of the characters, and I feel like the author distributed this pretty evenly (apart from, of course, Jessie and Danny, who were obviously the main focuses).
Of course, there wasn’t just hostility with the group – some of the members shared a really lovely bond. One example that stood out for me was the relatively minor side relationship, which was truly adorable despite the miscommunications for the first half of the book – I was rooting for them throughout, and it was a relief to see them end up together.
The character development in this book was also perfect – particularly Jessie’s. At the beginning of the book she was closed off and traumatised from a horrifying incident which had happened eighteen months prior, but by the end she had started to find herself again and accept what had happened. Reading her progress was truly lovely to see and I don’t think I can fault anything with her journey and how she ended up there.
The amount of drama in this book was truly astronomical. As well as all the horrifying stuff going on across the island, the characters also had to contend with issues between themselves. Most of the characters had an issue with at least one other person in the group, which only added to the underlying tense and dramatic mood. Similarly, one of the characters in particular loved shifting the blame to other people for the awful situation they were put in, which meant there were always issues within the group.
I think it’s safe to say that there wouldn’t have been nearly as much drama if it wasn’t for the action packed, fast paced nature of the book. There was a never dull moment, with every interaction and scene propelling the plot forward, which I really appreciated and was probably the reason I was so hooked. From chase scenes and kidnappings through to terrifying animals and heights, this book has it all!
I also really enjoyed the twist. Although I’d started to guess it towards the end of the book, the big reveal was still really tense and it definitely didn’t spoil anything for me. I was actually glad that there were some hints sprinkled into the mix as sometimes in this genre the person behind it can be revealed at the very end without any hints beforehand, but this definitely wasn’t the case here. That being said, if you don’t read much of this genre, you might not pick up on it, so don’t be put off by that!
The one complaint I have about this book is incredibly minor and probably quite picky of me – the editing. I couldn’t fault Taylor’s writing style or any gaps in her plot but there were a couple of duplicate words which definitely annoyed me, but were likely just an editing oversight. Other than that, though, the book was literally perfect, and I would definitely not let that stop you reading this as I only spotted two.
Overall, I would recommend The Island for anyone looking for an action packed story about the importance of survival. I would also recommend it for anyone searching for the next big thriller. C.L. Taylor is definitely one to watch in YA, and I can really see The Island becoming one of the next big hits!
I hope you enjoyed this review!