Friday, May 31, 2013

The Island by Jen Minkman

‘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?

(Please note: this novella contains a few references to the famous sci-fi movie Star Wars which are pivotal to the plot. None of the characters in The Island are in any way related to the characters in the movie.)

The Island is a unique dystopian novel and I don't want to give too much away, since it is a short book at just over a hundred pages.  How Minkman manages to get as much into the pages as she did, is a gift in my estimation.  

On The Island, children leave their village of Tatoo at the age of ten.  They are considered adult and able to take care of themselves.  At this age, they go to a manor house across the island and stay there until they marry.  Once they marry, they may return to the village.  

Leia and Luke are twins, so they don't have to leave home alone, but have one another to depend upon, if necessary.  The Island isn't very large, but it does have a wall that breaks it in half.  On the other half of the wall are the 'fools', those that believe someone from across the waters is coming to save them.  But on the side of the island that Luke and Leia live in, they believe in the Force and that only the strongest will survive.

But when Leia begins to question things and someone is murdered, she makes a run for it and collides with a fool.  Nothing is as she has always believed but not everything is as the fools believe either.  Their worlds will collide before the truth comes out.

A page-turning dystopian, I wasn't sure how the Star Wars theme was going play a pivotal point in the story but Minkman pulls it off with finesse.  I thought it an intense and suspenseful read and was thoroughly entertained.  Definitely pick this one up if you like unique dystopian!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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