Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Island by M.A. Bennett

          I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book, the only let down for me was I figured out fairly on what was really going on and became a touch mad that the characters themselves hadn't cottoned on to it.  I think if I hadn't figured that out until they did then this would have been a 5 Star book for me.

Our main protagonist is Lincoln Selkirk, Link to his family and friends - but wait, he doesn't have any of those.  The character himself is warm, funny and endearingly nerdy and his voice is strong throughout the book.  I particularly liked his self-deprecating humour and was more than happy to go along with world viewpoint and his assessment of his fellow schoolmates at Osney.

The device of using Desert Island Discs as a recurrent theme through the book works well as even if you've never listened to it (I haven't) you are still aware of it's existence and the general premise of the programme.  Combine this with Link's love of The Count Of Monte Cristo, Lost and anything else that could be Robinsonade and you just know he is going to come good when they find themselves stranded on a desert island after a plane crash.

It works in the book's favour that Link is an honest narrator, even when he is behaving in a less than salubrious way - which even he admits - he is honest about what he is doing; even if his motives are rather murky at times.  Somehow you still want him to win, to overcome and prove that sports are not all and that sometimes brain is better than brawn.  Even if everything is not what it seems you still root for him.

The cast of supporting characters are well executed and come across well on the page, never quite slipping in to parody of type.  It is even acknowledged by the characters themselves that they each fit a specific type a la The Breakfast Club (all hail John Hughes).  Ultimately though, this doesn't really matter - what matters is it is a rippingly good yarn that keeps you entertained and reaching for that next chapter in a race against the clock.


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