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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
Let's start with the positives. The writing is fairly competent and the descriptions reasonably good, at least one of the characters is well described.

Then we get to the meat of my problems with this book. Firstly it isn't a book it is 0.2 of a book. So what you are doing is reading the first 3/5ths for free and then having to pay for the last 2/5. This would be fine but if you are paying for a book it has to be well written and preferably gripping. This isn't. It starts with a virus that will be killing off a lot of the world. You are told this several times during this first part of the story but it doesn't have any real impact on anybody during this book. Compare this with the end of the world scenarios of writers like John Wyndham or John Christopher and it falls well short.

Then there is the frankly ridiculous parody of a cop. The telling the forthcoming story in a sentence and then describing how this happens (or having to wait until later books to find out) and the fact that this whole book only gets you as far as an island and I really can't be bothered to read the next 2 books I've already downloaded.

This part of a book is really there to set a scene and get you involved with the protagonist and his forced companions, however nothing makes them endearing or worth your time to plough on with the next book. Frankly I don't care what happens to them.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2012
Whilst this is a great read, and the first 3 are free. I do regret buying the last two books. The free books are very short and take about 30mins-hour to read through which is fair enough. However i thought that paying 75p each for last 2 books would give me more chapters. Unfortunately they are just as short.
I also didn't like the main character (thought he was a bit douchey and cliched - seemed too super amazing to be realistic) or the old woman (too much of a caricature)
Once again the story is pretty good and well written but have an issue with the 2 main characters, length and also the ending of the final chapter (seemed rushed and abrupt)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2013
I won't say I 'enjoyed' reading this enough to read the next section, (this 'book' is rather an installment in a series of 5, which make up the complete book), but it kept me interested enough to continue with part 2, rather than moving on to something else.
I can honestly say that, although the writing style is generally well rounded and nicely presented, the tone that it's written in was pleasing to me and I found it EASY to read, I did not find it all that entertaining..
The author is far too descriptive concerning several aspects that just don't need quite so much attention devoting to them.
He gets a little better at this towards book 3, but at one point I think he used up about 6 pages in this one just describing the wind, and I'm almost certain I could get on a boat now (having never been on one in my life other than the odd ferry crossing from Dover to Calais) and have a fairly good idea of how to sail it ;D At times I found I had read 3-4 pages whilst talking to someone at the same time and having no real knowledge of what I'd read, only to go back over it and realise that I'd missed nothing at all. There are a lot of places this happens, you could pretty much pick it up anywhere and know within 5 minutes what was going on, a lot of things are repeated more than they need to be.

I have to agree with another reviewer on here and say that I didn't take to the characters at all. I found the protagonist to be cliched and dull, and a little irritating, a bit too self righteous at times. In fact, most of the characters seem very cliched, the oversized, redneck, perpetually angry cop, the super smart and overly perceptive, occasionally moody old woman, the creepy, Damian-esque 6 year old...

Still, saying that, I had downloaded all 3 of the free copies and am currently about halfway into number 3.
Part of this is curiousity, I want to find out what happens, but I won't be paying to find out what happens any further than book 3, I'm not THAT curious, the other part is that the story, although dragged out unnecessarily in a lot of the places, has a good backbone to it if you can get past the little things.

Spelling and grammar mostly are fine, I've picked up the odd error but we all make those, the author is clearly literate and has no problems getting his point across.

Overall, it held me enough for me to read the next 2, but as a trio they haven't done enough to warrant me paying for the last 2.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2013
I like the genre and this promised to be a cracking read, it even started quite well. I was so determined to enjoy the series I persevered all through the first book but lost all hope for a half decent plot and characterization part way through the second volume. Unfortunately the plot takes far too long to get going and the characters are less than two dimensional. In the second volume it just becomes silly, perhaps the author thought it might make a horror film? Unlikely for even the worst 50s style B movies.
Great shame as the idea had such potential.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This was an interesting diversion for me, I've never really read a serialisation before.

On the whole this first part was fairly enjoyable, with a decent plot pace and characterisation. I enjoyed the building of the main character, William Hill. In particular, I enjoyed the little scene with the 'Little' cop.

The idea of a pandemic is no so far fetched, and it's interesting to consider just how modern man would cope with the withdrawal of its spoon-fed lifestyle.

As an aside, the cover art is very well drawn, and it was what drew me to feature it as a DSOA on the blog in April 2013.

There were one or two bug bears/errors, but nothing major, and on the whole I enjoyed the first part of this journey.

You can find a fuller Blog Post Blog post #441 (May 2014) on my Blog ... the last word 'Blog' being a bit redundant, because where else would you find it?
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on 13 March 2013
I have never read anything written by Micheal Stark and the 'ISLAND' series had a few mixed reviews so when I down loaded the first book (this one) I wasn't expecting much. Ok, the story line 'maybe' a little predictable and throughout the series he does keep referring back to his dead Father which after awhile I could see was important as throughout all the trauma and horror that follows him in the book, he draws strength and guidance from his father's once wise words and his own experiences.
Because of this I just LOVED the beautiful way it was written, full of amazing little 'words of wisdom' about how we could live our lives and see others. The description of the Island and the scenery was (for me) really well written too. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of kick ass blood and gore action and a surprise or two, in fact it would make a good film in my opinion.
Some of the 'Radio Broadcasts' went on a bit and I did have a little laugh at the 'mysterious' beings but the more I read the more I forgave and 'just got with the plot'!! In the end I couldn't put it down. Now I can't wait for the next installments.
Read the books if you like 'Fantasy/End of Days Survival/Ghouls and Things that go Bump in the Night type stories' starring a reluctant hero with a sense of humor that is pretty unassuming to start with, who ends up with a 'mentor' that you never would have dreamed of!
At the end of the first book (I think) Mr Stark does say that he is constantly 'editing' the books which is a brilliant thing to be able to go back and do.
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on 21 June 2013
Ok, where do I start? With the word brilliant. I started reading this book and quickly fell into the rhythm of the narrative.
The author quickly achieved something that so few authors manage, and that was to shatter what I thought was happening with a few twists and turns that dispelled any thoughts I was developing as to where the storyline was going. But here's the thing - he did this not once, or twice but three times. At each turn, after I sat back and smugly thought "I think I know where he's going with this" it soon became apparent I was wrong. "Aha, it's a pandemic/societal collapse story" - No! "Oho, it's a zombie/societal collapse story" - No! and then finally Woohoo, it's a ....." well that would be a spoiler, and that's just not fair. One of my favourite authors is Mark Chadbourn. The whole modern mythos that he created was superb. Well all I can say is that the mythos that Michael Stark had developed is equally as good. If Mr Stark ever reads these reviews - thank you for keeping me enthralled for the duration of this first collection. I can't wait for the next collection of your books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 December 2012
Well the first part managed to hook me enough to download the next few parts. It looks as if this author, who writes with a warm smooth flow, has a talent for spinning a yarn.
First though a few odds and ends. Why has the author chosen to split this into five different installments instead of just releasing the story as one novel? Yes the first three are free and that will entice readers to buy the last three, but I still think offering the full version would be a sound choice.
The other thing that bothered me was the fact the author chose the same cover picture for all six parts. The cover is lovely, don't get me wrong, but other than the title there is no indication that it is a different book to any of the other five with the same cover.
Aside from that this is a well written and interesting start to a story, which promises to be something of a mixture between apocalyptic disaster and fantastical strangeness. How do I know that already? Easy, somewhere in the midst of the foreboding mass virus induced deaths someone mentioned goblins.
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on 3 January 2013
Note, I am posting this review on the first part of this book, rather than review all of the sections of the book, however it relates to the complete novel.

First off, this is not a 5 part series, it is 5 parts of one book, and I say fair play to the author. You get the first half for free, and if you are hooked, then you pay for the ending. You cannot read this (or indeed the first 3 free ones) and expect it to make sense, as it is incomplete, but you can form a judgement as to whether or not it is worth carrying on to the end.

Second, this is a good read. The main character is everything you want in a hero - resourceful, flawed, etc. Whilst the other characters (other than Elsie and Daniel) are largely ignored, this is not vastly to the detriment of the novel. The change of pace once they reach The Island is good, and the writing reaches a good climax towards the end of The Final Chapters.

I enjoyed this - not exactly what I was expecting, but good nonetheless. The follow up will be interesting....
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on 23 January 2014
Since I got my kindle I have read lots of authors I have never heard of and one or two books I would not have bought from a book shop. Some have been good, some brillant, some ok and some poor. This one is definitely a very good one. I know the first 3 parts are free and you have to pay for the second two but authors (even part-time ones) do have to make a living and if you didn't enjoy parts 1-3 then you won't buy 4 & 5 so those people who complained about having to pay - and pay a very small amount compared to some - quit griping.

I enjoyed this one so much that I am looking forward to part two - and I even don't mind having to pay for it!!! Its an interesting take on the disease wiping out the population storyline and some nasties thrown in for good measure. I won't go into the storyline - you can read for yourself in other reviews. Instead I will just say that after reading The Island I was impressed enough to go and download two others from this author. I think he will be one to look out for in the future.
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