Tuesday, 22 November 2016

REVIEW - MONSTER ISLAND:TAKEN - MONSTER ISLAND SERIES BY KATIE FRENCH

Title: Monster Island: Taken
Series: Monster Island
Author: Katie French
Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Thriller
Release Date: 29th October 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Lucca DiVitas. I woke up in a burlap sack in a dark shed, and outside someone is screaming. 

In my pocket is a note: Pay for your sins. 

Escaping my bonds, I realize I’ve been kidnapped. Tall trees and snow-capped landscapes tell me I’m far from suburbia. And then there’s the ocean crashing angrily against the rocks. I’m on an island with no way off. 

Rushing toward the screams, I find Kat Voss, a scared teen, who claims she’s running away from a “snake with arms.” I decide she’s in shock until we find cages large enough to fit the world’s most dangerous animals. The cages are open, and they’re empty. 

We uncover more mysteries—an observation room with cameras, a bloody operating table, and a fully stocked torture chamber. 

Then we realize we aren’t alone. 

A voice over the loudspeakers begins directing us, like a guide on the world’s most sadistic tour. The voice tells us to smile for the cameras. Blood is good for business. 

If we can’t figure out who is doing this and why, it’ll only be a matter of time before one of us, or ALL of us, ends up dead. 


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
I don’t normally read this genre but have read other titles by this author and loved them so decided to give this one a go.
The cover has tall trees, a forest with a dark background to represent the night. So not a place you’d like to be in the dark. The title is in a bright green, so you’ll see this one on the bookshelf, and you really don’t want to miss this one!
I agree with the description of "action, adventure" but think that there are some spooky, scary, horror bits in there too!!
When you start reading this one you are pulled straight in, and held there until the last word on the last page. I hated having to put the book down to do other things and would have loved to have had the time to sit and read it all the way through. The book is from the point of view of the two main teenage characters within the book, Lucca and Kat. I thought the way the author builds the tension slowly is really great, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing along with the characters themselves. I was pleased by the fact that as a reader we only know what the teens know, so we are as puzzled as them as to where they are and why they are there. 
The book begins with us meeting Lucca, a brown eyed, long haired rock and roll type of guy, into music such as Jim Morrison. Lucca wakes up or should I say regains consciousness and soon concludes he isn’t where he is supposed to be. The last thing he can remember is taking his last exam and his teacher Mrs Knight allowing him to finish school earlier than normal so he could “rest his brain”. As he moves about he works out that he is in fact in a sack! How on earth did he get there? Whilst he is attempting to fathom his strange situation out, he hears a girl screaming! It sounds like she is in danger or like someone is trying to murder her! Lucca quickly wriggles and struggles out of the sack to discover he is inside a shed. Before he gets chance to take much of a look round the girl is screaming again. He immediately decides he needs to help this screaming girl and runs out of the shed to find himself in the bitter cold weather and standing in snow. . . the exact opposite weather conditions to those he was in earlier at school in Michigan. Lucca runs towards the screams and finds a girl attempting to claw her way up a tree! The girl is Kat, a green eyed crimson haired teenage girl and she is screaming because she is in danger of being attacked by what initially looks like an Amazonian Snake, but it turns out to be something even more unusual and bizarre. Kat panics, and sets off running blindly in the opposite direction to the snakelike creature. She suddenly feels an arm grabbing her and pulling her back. She thinks she is going to be attacked but Lucca was merely saving her from toppling over the edge of a steep cliff. Kat pulls away and runs off again, but Lucca persists in following her, wanting to know if she knows where they are and why? Lucca puts his hand in his pocket searching for his phone but finds a mysterious note with the peculiar message of “Pay for your sins”. He shoves it back in his pocket and continues after Kat. The two teens don’t get off to an easy start with Kat thinking Lucca is going to attack her. Both of them are scared, they don’t know where they are, or how they got there either. As he looks back up from his pocket he sees Kat has suddenly stopped and is transfixed by something in the distance. Lucca follows her gaze and sees what she is staring at. There are eight large cages, the metal doors to them are wide open. The two teens discuss what could have been in the cages and where it or they could be now. Worried about being out in the open they notice a cinder block building and head towards that hoping for some way to contact someone, anyone that can help them solve this unsettling position they both find themselves in. The building is dark but they brave going into it. They compare stories. Kat was snatched from her home where she had been alone with her younger sister Joslyn. Neither of the teens are dressed particularly appropriate for the environment or weather condition of this mystery place. They find a room that is full of monitors, each with different dark fuzzy images on them. Then they notice a boy on one of the monitors, and he is running, he is being chased by something, and the two stare in silent horror as a large. . . no really large animal of some sort catches the boy! They are horrified and begin to think at least they are safe inside. . . when they hear a door creaking.. . .and that’s the only the beginning of their problems. 
I liked how both Lucca and Kat try to think if they have done anything bad enough to warrant them being kidnapped from their homes and dumped in this isolated, potentially dangerous place that shows no signs of civilisation.
The teens do discover cryptic sayings or quotes in the same handwriting as the note Lucca found in his pocket such as “If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not REVENGE?” Kat instantly recognises it, not that it really reveals anything to the two teens.
I should say I grew quite fond of both of the main characters Lucca and Kat throughout the book, they both seem like normal individuals. Neither comes from an especially wealthy family, so at this stage I personally don’t think they have been kidnapped for ransom money. I am still perplexed on what anyone could do to warrant the punishment or revenge of being put on such a dangerous, horror filled place.
If I had to choose just one favourite character it would have to be Kat, she is quite secretive and so cautious around Lucca to begin with. Then she seems to really warm to him, after all they are both stuck here together, but I think there is a lot more to learn about her. What is she hiding from Lucca? . . 
I really enjoyed this book a lot! Which being 100% honest with you I wasn't sure I would, as this book is not my in any of my usual favoured genres. I can't wait to read more. . . I’m wanting to know what is going on, and why it is that Kat thinks she may have done something to deserve this level of punishment? What could a teenage girl have done to deserve this revenge? Love the almost immediate friendship between Lucca and Kat (though Kat took longer). I have so many questions!!
I’m looking forward to learning more about the weird, exotic monsters/animals. As well as fathoming out what they are, they could be animals from a foreign land, or maybe some eccentric scientist has played with genetics and created hybrid monsters!

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