“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.)” (description from Goodreads)
*Review of an ARC
The dystopian genre has always intrigued me, and now that it’s a popular type of book to find, there are many choices to read. It’s also because of this, that I try to be a bit picky when choosing which to read. I’m glad I came across The Island.
What I found interesting for The Island is that the author took on the dystopian genre in the form of a novella, and it turns out that it used the length well. While the story in question could easily have been written into a full-length novel, I think as a novella there wasn’t room to fluff it up. That fluff might have ended up being more of a romance story, and I’m glad it wasn’t. The focus was the conflict in this society and the discover of what’s really going on, among a few other important factors.
A society in which at 10, a child moves out of his/her parents’ house and into a collective of other young children in order to grow up, get married, and continue the cycle…well, that was definitely something to ponder. And this is how the story starts out. Soon after, the world building expands, the island is established, and there’s mention the others, the Fools. When I already had questions as to how things came to be, more questions arose with the inclusion of more people, separated from a society already foreign to me.
I found myself drawn in by Leia’s account of what was occurring. While she’s knowledgeable, there is room for her to grow and she does; on her own and through others. The other characters, like Luc (Leia’s twin brother), Ando, Sol, etc also added to this story in many ways. While there might be a lack of in-depth developing of most characters, I feel that there was enough given in the short length of being a novella, to be effective.
I think I should make mention that due to not fully reading the blurb for The Island, I missed the note about there being a major sci-fi movie as an element of the plot. And to be honest, I’m actually glad I missed that. When I made the connection even before the full reveal of what’s going on, I got a little amused. This movie wasn’t used in a cheesy way. It was a great device to show how influential a story can be, and how with the right conditions, stories of our modern world can become the mythology in the world of tomorrow. Even today, many of our fictional characters and stories are a mythology just like the gods and heroes of Greece and the stories in the Bible are a mythology of the times in which they’re from. This has been an area of interest for me due to my enjoyment of Greek and Roman myth. I was pleased to see how this came to be for this world, and the effect it took over the years.
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About the Author:
Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English, career counsellor and teenage coach at a secondary school in Voorburg, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.
In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.
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