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X-isle by Steve Augarde
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X-isle (2009)

by Steve Augarde

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1019119,589 (3.55)18
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    Exodus by Julie Bertagna (celerydog)
    celerydog: trilogy set in similar world. great characters and involving plot.
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
First, let me say that I am not in this book's target demographic - which I imagine to be young teen boys. And I'm only reading it because I needed a book beginning with X and didn't fancy X-men.
It's set a post apocalyptic world that has become badly flooded. Goods are a luxury, power is in short supply and the people are eager to escape to a place called X-isle. this place has become a fable of plenty - three meals a day is the rumour - and a boat arrives on the mainland a couple of times a week with tinned food and fuel to exchange with the people of the mainland for what goods they've scraped together.
Baz gets selected to go to the island, and (surprisingly enough) things aren't quite how rumour has portrayed them. The rest of the book is the tale of how Baz & his new found friends manage to survive, and overthrow the rather strange religious madman who is head of the family that run's X-isle.
I imagine if you were the target audience, this would be quite gripping. But for me it all fell a bit short. And while the story ends after an achievement, the question of what happens from there is left dangling, as that strikes me as being far from certain. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 5, 2013 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: When it comes to survival, ethics become questionable, and everything comes at a price. Compassion and camaraderie are the only things that give these boys a chance to endure. X-Isle will make you cringe, warm your heart at times while making it race at others, and ultimately leave you to think about what, or really who, is worth surviving for.

Opening Sentence: The steady chug of the diesel engine drew closer, and eventually the salvage boat emerged from the mist, a blank grey shape steering a middle course between the ghostly lines of chimney stacks that rose from the water.

The Review:

As the main character, everything is told from Baz’s point-of-view. This is important because there are a lot of characters but most of the book is about Baz just plain figuring things out. Some of his observations seem to come about much too slowly, and you end up really having to consider his life and what he’s been told his whole life. Much of this does not have to be explained in detail, which is something I really liked about the book. Since the world got flooded and there’s really not much left, a large part of his and the other X-Isle inhabitants’ lives have been spend simply surviving. Everyone has lost everything and they are just clinging to every little shred of hope that they can, including their belief in the X-Isle and what it means. Because why else would people send their barely teen boys over to an island run by a few old men, unless they were totally and completely desperate?

Baz’s father seems to have done his best to shelter his son in any way possible. This makes it much more difficult for Baz in the long run, when he has to take care of himself. He is simply naïve, which not only makes it really hard for him to understand the crazy animalistic world of survival that surrounds him, but goes beyond that to curse him with an immense sense of guilt at every turn as he tries to follow his father’s last advice to him, “You just worry about yourself, son, that’s all. Look out for number one.”

Ray, on the other hand, is the opposite of naïve. One of the first things he says to Baz is, “Try using your loaf instead of asking dumb questions.” It is no surprise that Ray comes up with most of the plans to overcome their plight; he simply has the most to lose from it all. Several times Baz considers returning to the mainland, and Ray doesn’t even consider it, instead doing his best to look at the specific problem and come up with a solution. It is nice to see how the boys are able to give up their competitiveness at points in the book and when we see compassion take over. And that it comes from inside of them and not from the creepy sermons given by Preacher John.

The main thing that I enjoyed about this book is that the villains in this book are quite believable. Maybe because of the survival atmosphere of the book, maybe from just reading the newspaper lately, these guys are simply in it for themselves, the ultimate opportunists. They are just sinister enough, and I like that. The pacing in this book was also pretty good. It was a little long, but right when you start to think about how many pages are left is when you start to not care how many are left because you get so wrapped up in the plot. There was one part where I was practically holding my breath for a couple chapters. It definitely gets pretty good, and that’s where we really can appreciate only seeing through Baz’s mind, cause he can’t quite catch up to how fast things are moving, try as he might.

The ending to this book was a little problematic for me. After living in a world of survival for so long, it seems that those instincts would stay with the boys at least a little longer. The author tries to touch on that, but doesn’t make it quite convincing enough. Also, the main reason the boys even go to X-Isle is because of their families. There isn’t reference to the families they left behind at the end of the book, which seems somewhat unnatural to me. I would recommend this book more for an adult audience than a teen audience. There is actually less mature material than I was expecting, I was expecting it to be a lot more vulgar than it turned out to be, and I appreciated that, but there is some violent themes throughout the book that may not be appropriate for a less mature audience.

Notable Scene:

Baz remembered his own desperate tactics to get food the previous evening. ‘Well…I suppose you sort of have to be, don’t you? Out for yourself, I mean?’

Amit stopped what he was doing. ‘Well, that’s pretty good, coming from a newbie. No, actually, you don’t. You try and look out for your mates, is what you do – that’s if you want any mates. Like we tried to look out for you this morning, yeah? Tried to make it so’s you didn’t have carry any of the really heavy stuff.’ Amit stared at him for a moment longer, then returned his attention to the workbench.

‘And that was after what you did last night,’ he muttered. ‘To Enoch. And to Taps. Don’t think we didn’t notice.’

FTC Advisory: David Fickling Books provided me with a copy of X-Isle. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Nov 15, 2013 |
Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X-Isle, the island where life is rumoured to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys are in with a chance, the smaller and lighter the better. Baz and Ray are two of the lucky few to be chosen, but they soon discover that X-Isle is a far cry from paradise. Ruled by Preacher John, a dangerous religious fanatic, it's a violent, unpredictable place where terrible things can happen at any moment. The boys hatch an extraordinary plan in order to protect themselves - the construction of a mighty weapon of defence. But can they complete this weapon in time, and are they really prepared to use it in order to secure their freedom? Powerful and compelling, X-Isle" is a fast-moving thriller that will keep you guessing right to the very end."
  StEdwardsCollege | Mar 1, 2011 |
Baz and Ray are just two of the boys who manage to get aboard a boat and escape to X-Isle, which they thought was a sanctuary where they could live a little easier than on the mainland. It isn't until they arrive that they discover what a horrible place it really is, and they start to wonder whether the Preacher is insane, and whether they will be able to survive. ( )
  JRlibrary | Nov 25, 2010 |
A compelling story set in a near-future world where a flood has nearly destroyed civilized life. Several boys volunteer for duty on "the island" where it is rumored they will be fed three times a day but where in reality they become slave labor for a lunatic preacher and his violent sons. Only by cooperating with each other, and by taking drastic measures themselves, are they able to survive. ( )
  mjsbooks | Sep 8, 2010 |
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Book description
Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X Isle, the island where life is rumoured to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys are in with a chance, the smaller and lighter the better. Baz and Ray are two of the lucky few to be chosen, but they soon discover that X-Isle is a far cry from paradise. Ruled by Preacher John, a dangerous religious fanatic, it's a violent, unpredictable place where terrible things can happen at any moment. The boys hatch an extraordinary plan in order to protect themselves - the construction of a mighty weapon of defence. But can they complete this weapon in time, and are they really prepared to use it in order to secure their freedom? Powerful and compelling, "X Isle" is a fast-moving thriller that will keep you guessing right to the very end.
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Baz and Ray, survivors of an apocalyptic flood, win places on X-Isle, an island where life is rumored to be better than on the devastated mainland, but they find the island to be a violent place ruled by religious fanatic Preacher John, and they decide they must come up with a weapon to protect themselves from impending danger.… (more)

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