My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Estranged Ana and Rachel Logan take a much-needed vacation to Thailand – perhaps their sisterhood could even be mended along the way. After an intense party session their group mysteriously wake up on a boat, the ocean carrying them toward a seemingly deserted island. As nightfall hangs over them, tempers rise, survival instincts kick in, and something evil lurks in the wilderness. Who will perish to the unknown?
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that’s so unquestionably comfortable with itself, in that it doesn’t offer apologies for the numerous clichés, but rather celebrates them in all their grandeur. With an abundance of sexual tones – the female characters were in a state of nakedness for most of the book – and an over-exaggeration of gore, it succeeded in that loud and proud approach. I felt many things along the way; excitement, disdain toward the despicable personalities of most of the troupe, and later on a great amount of revulsion. The monster design in particular was phenomenal; I’m a huge fan of the disgusting and the twisted, and Sodergren didn’t disappoint. In fact, his creativity went beyond any and all expectations.
Most survival horror works want the reader to like and relate to the characters, and so as a result, dread their inevitable demise. Sodergren turned that sentiment completely around, and in this instance I yearned for their termination, even to the point I fist-pumped the air when it eventually came about. My opinions on over the top, excessive, and downright undesirable personalities can vary, however. Sometimes it’s too obvious when the author wants you to dislike their character, that it almost feels like hand-holding. I want to come to my own conclusions, follow my own mind; even if it’s merely an illusion. With this title, I found enjoyment in my animosity, because that was a large part of the experience.
That isn’t to say I hated them all. Ana and Rachel were entertaining and realistic in their relationship. They shared jokes, looks, and history that made their bond as siblings all the more believable. It was the little things that built them up as fully-fleshed people, and their synergy was, at times, heartwarming. I got a kick out of their Scottish heritage, as being Irish myself I felt a kinship when it came to their sarcasm and potty-mouth way of life.
The ending hooked me, and admittedly had me re-reading several passages relating to the final showdown. The atmosphere took on a cosmic quality that constructed a foundation for the future; there’s so much potential in this universe. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.
In conclusion: The description on the back cover aptly defines The Forgotten Island as outrageous, and it was, in every sense of the word. I may not be into the old Video Nasties, but I certainly believe this one to be more than a simple tale of violence (even though the violence itself was glorious). Recommended, and bravo on that incredible monster.
Often they came to her in dreams, nightmare visions that dissipated upon waking, leaving only the lingering sense of dread hanging over her like a black cloud. They spoke to her faintly in a language she didn’t understand, the words giving her migraines that felt like dead fingers rooting around in her brain.
© Red Lace 2019