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The Island | Jen Minkman | Reviewed by Erin

At the beginning of this short dystopian novella we meet Leia and her twin brother Colin on their tenth birthday. In their society this is the day they officially become adults and leave home until they are older, married and can return. Skipping forward six years we rejoin the twins in their new lives, where they have learnt survival skills and mostly fend for themselves, following the rules set out by ‘The Book’. Just when you start to get a feel for where the story might be going things take a bit of a strange twist with the influence of a certain well-known Fantasy series creeping in to the story’s world-building.

At first I found the concept intriguing as it differs from other dystopian tales in that the main characters are only ten years old when their journey begins but for a short while it also felt familiar in terms of the way the world and characters were introduced. As the story progressed it took it’s unique turn. As for the twist, which I won't give away in this review, I had spotted some of the references, or clues, from the start but had no idea what part they would play, if any, in the origins of the world I was reading about.

Having read some online reviews I noticed that the author, Jen Minkman, had personally commented on them and learnt that the novella was originally written as an entry to a short story competition. This explains why the character development was a little disappointing and some parts of the story were not as fleshed out as they could have been.

Despite the fact that the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when I stumbled across it on the Kindle store I found the idea very unique and it definitely felt different to others in the genre. Although The Island isn’t necessarily a new favourite for me it did leave me feeling curious as to how the author came up with the idea and what may be revealed in the sequels – another novella and a full length novel.

If you’re looking for a quick, interesting read with a unique twist this may be the novella for you.

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