Book of the Week - X-Isle

X-Isle by Steve Augarde

Half of the world is underwater. Those who have survived are struggling to get by, dreaming of a place where food isn't scarce and dry land. Baz's father wins his son passage on a ship to an island where boys work, but there is rumored to be tons of food brought up by divers. And things were as promised, there are tons of food, not that Baz or any of the others boys can eat it. Along with nine other boys, Baz lives in a filthy room. He is forced to work hard labor six days a week, and hopes to stay out of the way of the cruel drunken men who roam the island on Sundays. On Sunday, Preacher John, the island's leader and self-appointed prophet, preaches of sacrifice, a worrisome lesson as he grows more and more insane. Together with the other boys, Baz begins to form a plan to free them from their oppressors, but is their planning enough against the cruelty displayed by their captors?

When I first started this book I was apprehensive. There was a lot of foreshadowing and I was sure that I knew where the plot was going by page 15. One of the biggest red flags to me was the fact that no one had ever met any other boys who had come back from the island. This told me right away that the boys were being killed and I thought this would be the real crux of the story. I am happy to report it was not. In fact, that little tidbit of information was lightly glossed over. One of the other boys looks at Baz and basically says, "Come on, you don't really think anyone ever gets back do you? Think Baz. Think." For that I was grateful.

Although the plot was predictable at points, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the turns in events. Most importantly, I liked Baz. He is a survivor in a world full of them, and he stands out. He refuses to become a mindless drone or a hard hearted fool. Instead he forces the other boys to cooperate. To think outside the box. That is what made the book good. But here is the best part, this book just flows. I couldn't stop reading. I wanted to know what would happen. The story is dark and grim, but there is hope and this is what I love about young adult sci-fi. That glimmer that the characters are searching for.


Anonymous said...

Dark and grim--I'm going to have to read this one. Thanks for the review.