Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: The Island by Lisa Henry

The Island by Lisa Henry
Published January 10th 2012 by Loose Id
Shaw is in Fiji to sell a stolen painting to the crime boss, Vornis. It will be the deal of a lifetime, if Shaw can pull it off. But then Vornis parades his latest toy around in front of him—a captured DEA agent whose time is running out. It’s none of Shaw’s business, and it doesn’t matter that under any other circumstances Lee would be exactly Shaw’s type: he’s young, he’s hot, and he might even have a personality if they hadn’t beaten it out of him. Too bad there’s no way Lee is getting off the island. Too bad there’s nothing Shaw can do for him. And too bad there are some lines that even Shaw won’t cross.

Keeping his hands off Lee proves harder than he thinks, but Shaw’s not stupid enough to fall for the tortured captive of a dangerous crime boss, is he? If he did, it wouldn’t be just his job he would be risking—it would be his life.

Publisher's Warning: Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing.

My Thoughts
Everything here was contradictory. The island itself, so beautiful, so peaceful. So terrible.
Beautiful, horrifying, hopeful and harsh… A dramatic blend that kept me riveted and emotionally invested the entire time! 

In The Island, the reader is transported to a beautiful place that’s so well described you can’t help but feel in the moment. When Adam Shaw lands on a remote Fiji island to deliver a stolen piece of art work to a dangerous drug lord, he expected to be in and out of Vornis’s grand estate within days of receiving his $95MM for the artwork and adding a few influential contacts to his network. What he didn’t bargain for was that he’d meet one of Vornis’s toys who was captured during a raid of his Columbian estate and brought to the island to be tortured and killed. The entire time Shaw struggles with keeping Lee alive and maintaining Vornis’s trust while he figures out a way to save them both.

Overall Lisa Henry did a spectacular job of creating a setting that drew the reader in like a Venus Fly Trap. To juxtapose something so alluring and magnificent against something so harsh and ugly really stretched my emotions thin. I wanted to enjoy the beauty that Shaw saw in the island and the Pacific, but having Lee constantly in the periphery made it difficult to embrace the tranquility and beauty that existed.

The characters in the story truly lifted off the pages and felt so real, but the standing ovation goes to Adam Shaw. My allegiance to this character never wavered for one moment. I completely sympathized with his position throughout the book, and it was tough to see him struggle with his feelings that he was complicit to the crime simply by being there. Alongside Lee, I had a constant trust in Shaw that he would be his savior. Despite the limits that were tested, I couldn’t figure an alternative to Shaw’s reactions and responses to what happened on the island.

A beautiful boy, a beautiful beach, a beautiful moonlight, and it was a travesty.

There were many moments when I felt I couldn’t continue to suffer alongside Lee during his captivity. It broke my heart every time he felt he was losing hope and one of the most poignant moments in the story nearly brought me to tears when he reminisced all the moments his captors couldn’t take away from him. Hope was so fragile throughout his entire experience, so I admired his strength to hold on to what he could. Powerful and painful at the same time.

The midway twist really shifted the story into overdrive. I was not expecting what went down, but it was perfectly executed in such a way that I was knocked off my chair and left gasping for a few moments. Wow! 

Overall, I knew this story would move me based on the reviews I read, but I never thought it was brand an emotional scar on my brain. However, as painful as some of the scenes were to witness, I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate ending. Well done Lisa Henry! Well done!
4 Suns

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