Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: THE ISLAND by Jen Minkman (The Island #1)

The Island
by Jen Minkman
(The Island #1)

Genres: YA Fiction / Dystopian / Star Wars / Post-Apocalyptic

The premise of this novella is this: the main character lives in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic society with traditions based completely off of a Star Wars notebook. The folks have lost touch with the history of humankind before the catastrophe, and the origins of this society are explained at the end.

I've read novels that follow this pattern, in which a world-wide catastrophe kills most of the human population off and plunges the survivors into a dark age. Within this dark age, the modern world is forgotten but spoken about in abstract myths. Artifacts from the pre-apocalyptic world are treasured as relics of the past, but reinterpreted by these new dark age humans in ways that are completely off-base. An example of another dystopian novel that uses the pre-interpretation of modern technology such as Apple products is Heather Terrell's Relic.

I would forgive the ridiculous premise if I felt a connection to the characters or the world that they live in, but I couldn't get a feel for the setting or the differences between the personalities of the characters. The conversations between characters took place as if they were separated from their bodies. The protagonist named Leia is in a rush to uncover the mystery of the holy book about the Force that the leader Saul uses to hold power over the teenagers beneath his rule, but I don't know much about her childhood or the kind of person she is, aside from heroic. Aside from her love for her mother, I don't know what ticks her off, or what makes her happy.

The scene that packed the most emotional punch for me was the introduction, where Leia and her brother Colin are sent off from the home of their parents in an oddly scripted ritual. After that, the story bored me. I couldn't feel a connection to this society or to Leia; it all felt like she were stuck in a contrived plot and world because the scenes were so one-dimensional. Leia and Colin are internally static characters, being pulled along by the quest to discover the origins of the holy book that their community lives by.

Overall, I can't recommend this one. I would actually recommend the second installment, The Waves (which is a parallel piece), because the story is more intriguing and I found Walt a much more thoughtful character. The Island ebook is free on Amazon if you're interested in checking this one out anyway. 

My Rating: 

Find out more about The Island by Jen Minkman:


  1. I recently read The Island by Jen Minkman and made a post about my thoughts about this novella on my book blog as well. I felt the novella started off well enough, but I quickly lost interest after the entire Star Wars theme was introduced. I didn't feel a connection with the characters or their world either and wouldn't recommend The Island to other readers as well.

    1. Hello, Captivated Reader! Leia's character needed more introspection and a strong dose of personality because it came across as a generic teen. I will say that the parallel novella The Waves is much better because Walt's quite intelligent and more entertaining to follow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. It's good to know that the parallel novella, The Waves, is much better than, The Island. I liked Walt's character in The Island.