Lead Review

  • Book: The Island
  • Location: Thailand
  • Author: C L Taylor

Review Author: Tina Hartas



Six teenagers have been around each other since their parents met at NCT (National Childbirth Trust) classes. Over the years they have all hung out together and gone on holiday and, as different familial relationships change, the nature of the group has changed too. Some of the parents have accompanied the group to Thailand.

After a day or two to acclimatise, the young people set off for a private island with their guide for a seven night stint of survival training. The first night they sit around their cobbled together shelter by the fire (which is essential for wild living) and they share their worst phobias… snakes, spiders, spilling of blood, vomit….

The next day their guide keels over and dies of an apparent stroke and they are now left to fend for themselves. They examine the boat in which they arrived and are dismayed to find the starter cord has been severed. As the hours drag by, the group dynamics start to shift, relationships change and horrifically, it seems, each teenager is having to face demons and each is confronted by his/her specific phobia, shared in the group on the first night.  Is it one of them targeting each individual or is there perhaps someone else on the island who intends to harm them? “One of you will die” is a chilling message in the sand – spotted by one of the group – before the waves came rolling in and washed the scary message away.

A couple of the youngsters – Jessie for one – have already had life changing and traumatic experiences in their earlier years, and the harsh conditions and dynamics on the island now certainly test their psychological stamina and health. We know already what Jessie is capable of as she had an early and brutal encounter with two brothers upon arrival in Thailand.

I listened to this as an audiobook and as I ambled through the English countryside on my Covid walks, I felt transported to a hot, menacing and exotic location. The animal noises, the snapping wood and the sun beating down all created a creepy backdrop to the story. As the days passed, the story got darker and I was interested to see where the story would lead.

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