Book Review: “The Island” by Natasha Preston

Cover of "The Island" by Natasha Preston
Cover of “The Island” by Natasha Preston

 

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “The Island” by Natasha Preston! Reading this book reminded me of my own murder mystery novel “Winner Takes All.” This is because both take place on isolated islands and, well, murder is involved.

Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“Jagged Island: a private amusement park for the very rich—or the very influential. Liam, James, Will, Ava, Harper, and Paisley—social media influencers with millions of followers—have been invited for an exclusive weekend before the park opens. They’ll make posts and videos for their channels and report every second of their VIP treatment. 

When the teens arrive, they’re stunned: the resort is even better than they’d imagined. Their hotel rooms are unreal, the park’s themed rides are incredible, and the island is hauntingly beautiful. They’re given a jam-packed itinerary for the weekend. 
But soon they’ll discover that something’s missing from their schedule: getting off the island alive.”

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The whole story was cohesive overall. However, there were some aspects that were lacking. One aspect of the story that was lacking was the pacing. The pacing felt too fast in the beginning. There was barely any time to get to know the characters before the first person died. After that, it was just a matter of knowing that if you didn’t get to know someone well enough while reading, that person would probably disappear next and/or be killed off.

It was also a little too easy to guess who might survive the events of the book. After the main character determined that one of the other characters would not be a killer, and also got to know them well enough, it was easy to predict that that specific character would probably survive.

The one surprising part was when the main character, Paisley, was still nearly killed off at the very last chapter. It’s left ambiguous to the reader whether she survived or not. However, despite it being surprising, it also makes the ending feel like it’s setting up the book for a sequel. To my knowledge, however, this is a standalone book. This ending just leaves the book on an unnecessary cliffhanger ending.

Additionally, despite taking place on an island resort, the group doesn’t have too much time to really explore the place before people start disappearing and/or dying. Yes, the group gets to check out specific parts of the island. This includes the haunted house, the area around a carousel, and other locations. But the reader doesn’t get a good grasp on what the places really look like. Granted, it’s a fast-paced book more focused on the characters’ interactions with each other. But having a little more physical description of each location would be helpful.

Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I thought some characters were more developed than others. Out of all the characters, I enjoyed reading Liam and the plot twist involving him. I also enjoyed reading about Paisley, who serves as the book’s main heroine. Side characters such as Reeve and Gibson were also fun to read and learn about their backstories.

However, there were some characters that were flat when it came to development. Malcolm was surprisingly quite underdeveloped. Despite his later-revealed connections to the book’s killer, I felt that I didn’t get to read enough of Malcolm to get a good look at his personality. The same went for Camilla, who is Malcolm’s assistant and murdered halfway through the book. Though the reader learns more about her in the second half of the book, I felt that I didn’t get a good grasp of Camilla’s personality – just her backstory.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

If you enjoy the concept of a murder mystery mixed with a private island, you might enjoy reading this book.


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