Duration audiobook 10 hours
Narrated by Mela Lee
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Hachette Audio in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
After enjoying my time with his previous thriller The Chain, I simply couldn’t resist requesting an audio ARC of The Island; the Australian outback setting with an remote island only made me more excited to read it. And I definitely ended up having a fantastic time with this audiobook! Part psychological thriller and part survival story, The Island turned out to be an excellent listen.
I know that I’m basically still an audiobook newbie, but The Island has once again proven to me that I can really enjoy an audiobook when the timing is right. This book has multiple POVs, but is told by one narrator: Mela Lee. While having multiple narrators could have made it even easier to keep the POVs apart, the narrator did alter her voice/accent depending on the character and it was quite easy to follow who was in the spotlight. Her voice was easy to listen to and there were even a few ‘special effect’ sounds like for example gun shots included to add even more suspense. As a whole this audiobook is a great option if you want to get the full The Island experience!
The Island is without doubt a highly suspenseful, action-packed and entertaining thriller. It’s not a story that is easy to fit neatly inside a genre box though. There are parts that feel mostly psychological thriller and are more family focused, while other parts are pure action and survival thriller with even a dash of horror thrown in. The remote Dutch Island makes for the perfect backdrop for this story, and it truly feels like the island from your worst nightmare (or at least it seems that way thanks to its inhabitants). The survival part of the story might be a bit over the top and too shocking for some readers (trigger warnings for violence, graphic scenes and animal death), but I personally thought it was what took the story to the next level for me. Why? Well, not only do the Baxter’s have to survive the harsh climate of the Austrialian island, but they are also in constant danger as they are being hunted… Talk about plot twist potential!
As for the characters… The Baxter family is easy enough to like and it was interesting to see them react to the situation once they are trapped on Dutch island. Especially Heather made for a great main character; her character growth and resilience is part of the reason this story works. Her evolving relationship with her stepkids was interesting to follow as well. Having some chapters from the POV of the locals was great to give the story more dept as well as learning more about what is going on at different parts of the island. We also have some flashbacks to the past as well as short chapters involving Heather’s friend back in the US. The Dutch couple added their own little something too; I do have to say that I was annoyed that they were wrongly referred to as ‘Krauts‘, because German is NOT the same as Dutch. I couldn’t hear the few Dutch lines included in the story clearly enough to verify if they were actually in Dutch though.
That said, this is definitely a story where it’s best to go in blind and just let the whole plot roll over you and put you under a spell. Just make sure you are up for some graphic scenes with plenty of violence, gun fire and killed animals… I know that some will be put off by this. If you can think you can stomach this, The Island is a great choice though. It is a highly engaging, gripping and simply addictive psychological slash survival thriller, and the Australian setting is the perfect backdrop. The audiobook is well narrated and the special effects only add to the ominous vibe!