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Insel #1

The Island

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I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look.

Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers.

If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall. Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says.

I have never seen one.

Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.

But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?

138 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2013

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About the author

Jen Minkman

122 books488 followers
Jen Minkman (1978) writes YA paranormal romance, dystopian fiction and poetry. She is from the Netherlands and self-publishes her work in English. Her works are available in paperback & digital format (ebook and audio).
You can subscribe to her newsletter here > http://eepurl.com/bTXSWv

Jen was born in the Netherlands and lived in Austria, Belgium and the UK during her studies. She learned how to read at the age of three and has never stopped reading since. Her favourite books to read are (YA) paranormal/fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and romance, and this is reflected in the stories she writes. In her home country, she is a trade-published author of paranormal romance and chicklit. Across the border, she is a self-published author of poetry, paranormal romance and dystopian fiction. Her books are already available in English, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and Afrikaans.

She currently resides in The Hague where she works and lives with her husband and two noisy zebra finches.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 459 reviews
Profile Image for Rose.
1,857 reviews1,048 followers
June 11, 2013
This will be a very short review for a very short novella. I'll admit that I'm a little taken aback by the fact that this is essentially a Star Wars AU fanfic - in technical terming. With direct references to the characters, with the main characters having names similar to Star Wars, but it tries to wrap itself up in an original story which...it's hard to separate the narrative when its so contingent upon the other story.

Here's the synopsis: Siblings Leia and Luc (*side-eyes the screen*) are forced from home at the age of ten to survive in the wild on an island under a tyrannical leader. Their existence is defined by The Book, which contains information about their ancestors Luke Skywalker, Father Darth, and talks about The Force being the code they live by (there's the utterance of "May the Force Be With You!"), even when they are to be separated from their parents and girls, like Leia, are supposed to be married off into this dystopic world. But Leia senses there's something wrong with their leader and grows even more suspicious when a Fool (someone who lives outside their realm) comes wandering in from beyond the Wall. Leia steals "The Book" and after a series of events realizes essentially that the world and the rules they've been living by are all lies. Why? Because they're based on a young boy's abandoned book with the narrative containing the story of - you guessed it - Star Wars.

No, I'm not hiding that behind a spoiler because it's a forgone conclusion. And yeah, that's this story in a nutshell. It felt like a waste of time and I couldn't get behind the narrative. Sure, there were parts of it, particularly in the beginning where it fooled me and I could say it drew me into the work, but then it threw a bone to the Star Wars leaning and the ball kept dropping from there because it was so contingent on the Star Wars references. I know there are other works that do hinge on famous movies, books, or other such things, but...really? This is no "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline. The characters were very threadbare, the romance nonexistent, the Star Wars leaning a bit silly and just...I'm still in surprise that I took an hour and some change of my time to read this. I thought it would be a better story and it just...wasn't.

I'm sorry to say I can't recommend this for clear reasons.

Overall score: 0.5/5

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,864 reviews69.2k followers
March 21, 2023
Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.

This was a weird book.
If it's so weird, then why am I giving it three stars?
I'm just assuming you're asking that question, by the way.
Ok, ok, I'll tell you. Because I can't stop thinking about it, that's why!
At first, it looks like it's just going to be your regular old dystopian novel about some strange society. And then you start to notice the Star Wars references.
Star Wars!?
That's right, my friend, Star Wars. As in, the huge blockbuster movie that was so popular, it made it seem as though it was a good idea to wear your hair like two giant cinnamon buns on either side of your head. That Star Wars.
I mean, do you see anything in the blurb that screams, "The entire society is based on George Lucas fan fiction!". No. No, you do not.
In fairness, I just checked again and this was added to the blurb I recently read on Goodreads:
(Please note: this novella contains a few references to the famous sci-fi movie Star Wars which are pivotal to the plot. None of the characters in The Island are in any way related to the characters in the movie. Leia is named after one of the ancient heroes of her culture/religion.)
A few references? Ha! As if!

At the age of ten, all children on the island leave home and cut all ties with their parents. They then go to live in a smaller community with other children under the age of eighteen in order to become independent...and find the Force within themselves. Once they get married, they return to the adult community, but they don't really have anything to do with their parents anymore. It's considered a sign of weakness or something. On the other side of a wall live another type of people whom they refer to as Fools, but they don't really know much about them. Well, other than they're foolishly waiting around for someone to save them, hence the name, Fools.

Leia is a young girl named after her ancestor, the famous mighty female twin of Luke. The story starts when she and her twin brother leave home to go live with the other kids. Flash forward a few years and things are falling apart in their Lord of the Flies compound. A ruthless leader has taken over, and Leia discovers that The Book may hold evidence that will make the others revolt against his leadership. Now, this Book is like their Bible, right? It's holy, sacred, infallible, and it holds the history of her people. So when she steals it, it's a pretty big deal.
Ok, the entire time I'm reading about this Book, I'm almost embarrassed for this girl. Seriously. These people based their lives on some poorly written Star Wars fanfic. Oh. My. God.

While she's trying to hide the Book (so she can read its sacred information later), she meets a Fool who is searching for someone who washed up on their side of the shore. Less than witty banter ensues, and he agrees to keep the Book with him until they can meet again. Obviously, this kid is the Love Interest. I didn't feel much in the way of sparks, but it's a novella, so I let it slide.
And honestly, any questions I had about their romance was going to take a backseat to the more important questions this book poses.
How the hell did some nerd with a lightsaber get his own island?! How did they convince other people to go along with this dumbass idea?! And most importantly, what was the author thinking?!
In my mind, I just couldn't see a way for Ms. Minkman to make this work. There was no reason for this crazy society to exist. At all. Ever.
Then along came the ending.
And you know what? It kind of made sense.
Yeah, I know. I'm as surprised as you are.
So three big fat stars for pulling off the impossible, Ms. Minkman!

Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,389 reviews1,104 followers
January 29, 2019
I was pleasantly pleased with this story when I was finished reading it. Although there were a few things that threw me off a bit, Jen Minkman ends up doing a wonderful pulling everything together. There are a lot of Star Wars references in this book. At first I was a bit frustrated and even questioned if this was some kind of fanfiction. Let me assure you all, it is not. The references are explained by the end of the story. Just give it time. Ultimately, in actually adds a new, better level to the plot.

The story is told from the view of a young girl, Leia who lives on an island where children are parted from their parents at a young age and then live and survive together in a mansion. They are taught life lessons by their leader but certain members of the group begin to question the truth.

At first Leia seemed a bit shallow. I had a hard time getting into her character at first but after a short while she begins to grow. her thought process is easy to follow and kept me very engaged in the story. In the end I liked her, but I would have loved to see a bit more time given to get to know the other characters and her a bit better. Then again, there are more books to the series so that is okay.

This is more than a short prequel novella but far from a full novel. A nice, fast read. One I am hoping leads to a larger world in the next book. The pace just keeps you going, page after page. The style is simple yet captivating. A bit modern, bit primitive and yet futuristic dystopian all put together. Truly an enjoyable read. I look forward to continuing the series.

I received a eArc copy of this book from the author, Jen Minkman, via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.
Profile Image for Jen Minkman.
Author 122 books488 followers
May 28, 2013
When I decided to try my hand at a dystopian novella, I wanted it to be different from most dystopian books I've read lately. While pondering what angle to use, I remembered reading a very interesting picture book as a kid. I don't remember what the title was now, but basically, it was presented as a journal written by people in the future (about 3500 AD) who 'excavate' a hotel in an old city somewhere in the US. They don't know what a hotel is and think it is a burial chamber. So the guy (or skeleton) lying on the bed is deemed the 'high priest' and the bed is labeled a special ceremonial sarcophagus, the dislodged toilet seat in the bathroom is thought to be a special collar that the priests used to wear around their necks for celebrations, etc. It was a hilarious way to show how historians and archeologists might be on the wrong track entirely when analyzing sketelal remains and tombs from Neanderthal settlements or Ancient Egypt - after all, what do we actually know about life back then? Can we really interpret archeological finds without a context? And would people living 1500 years from now be able to make much sense of the ruins of our civilization?
With this in mind, I wrote The Island: a novella about a post-apocalyptic society whose members live according to a very strange life philosophy, caused by events in the past that their ancestors misinterpreted. What I hope readers will think about when they finish reading this book is how a society's rules come into being, and why people sometimes follow the rules even though they are deemed nonsensical by outsiders.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,981 reviews195 followers
March 23, 2014
So where to begin, oh I know... in a galaxy far far away, Princess Leia and Luke used the force.... wait that is an Island, not space. Yes, there is an island of people where they worship the good book of their ancestors.
Welcome to Star Wars island

The good book is Star Wars. Their 'founding fathers' are the great Luke and Leia. The beliefs of using your force have be mutated into this really weird society, where children are adults at 10 and must move away from their parents forever. They move to this manner house where they follow the books direction and wait to marry. The leader is a power hungry tyrant, I saw him as the Darth Vader of the story.
He loves his power and wants to keep it

It seems that 'Darth' likes his beer too, he has his troopers make it, it was stored in the basement but played no part in the story

Our heroine Leia, is a conflicted girl. Sometimes she smart and thinking, then she flashes into this twiddle-worm that just can't think one step ahead. She would have a very limited vocabulary, then she would come up with well developed complex sentences with complex words. Was she a shy little deer stuck in the headlights or a rebel leading the revolution ? She was a constant personality switch, I could't get a handle on her.

Their precious little world has been closed off for 150 years until........The Fools arrive, yep that is what they are called.

I didn't hate it, I didn't get it, it was unbelievable, it was really weird. I spent a lot of time going "what?" and "where did that come from and where did it go ?"

I will not continue with this series. I do hope the author continues I think she has a great imagination.
Profile Image for Fleurine.
93 reviews74 followers
November 22, 2016
De enige reden waarom ik dit boek 4 sterren geef is omdat ik vind dat het langer mocht duren. Het boek was te snel uit en ik wou meer over de geschiedenis van het eiland weten en eigenlijk alles. Dit is het eerste boek dat ik van Jen Minkman heb gelezen maar ik ben verkocht. De schrijfstijl is erg fijn en je wilt steeds verder lezen. Al mijn vragen zijn beantwoord en ik ben blij dat ik dit boek heb gelezen. Echt een aanrader!
Profile Image for Cisz Geverink - Strasters.
718 reviews31 followers
February 7, 2017
"Zeggen ze niet dat ouders altijd hun kinderen vergeten?" ~ p43.

Terwijl ik begin met lezen vraag ik me af in wat voor rare wereld ik terecht ben gekomen. Kinderen van 10 die het huis uitgestuurd worden omdat ze volwassen zijn? Maar nadat ik het boek dicht sloeg kan ik maar 1 ding zeggen: dit verhaal is GE-NI-AAL!!! En het ergste van alles is dat ik niet kan zeggen waarom, omdat het essentieel is (vind ik tenminste) dat je het zelf ontdekt.

"Niemand zegt iets. Ze hoeven niets te zeggen. We weten allemaal wie hier de leiding heeft en hoe de dingen gaan." ~ p91.

Het eiland is doormiddel van een grote muur verdeeld in 2 groepen, de dwazen en de ongelovigen. Tenminste, zo noemen ze elkaar, maar elkaar echt kennen doen ze niet. De kennis is gebaseerd op de verhalen die overgedragen worden van generatie op generatie, verteld door de leiders. Het verhaal focussed zich met name op de kinderen, hoewel er ook volwassenen op het eiland wonen. Tijdens het lezen bleef ik me afvragen in wat voor een wereld ik terecht was gekomen. De gewoontes en de, noem het maar even "geloofsovertuigen" van beide kanten van het eiland zijn nogal anders dan je in de normale wereld tegen komt. De manier waarop uiteindelijk alles duidelijk werd vond ik dus echt geniaal. Die zag ik echt niet aankomen...

"Ik weet dat het moet, dat we onze kop niet meer in het zand kunnen steken, maar het maakt me alsnog bang." ~ p160.

Het boek van voorheen is een compleet ander soort verhaal dan Schaduw van de Tijd, die ik vorige week las. Dat maakt het echter niet minder goed!!! Jen heeft een manier van schrijven die je als lezer goed weet vast te grijpen, en tussendoor ook weet te verrassen. Ik hou ervan als een boek anders is dan andere verhalen, en helemaal als deze je kei hard laat proesten als je iets ontdekt. Ik heb het al eerder gezegd: IK BEN FAN! Een absolute mustread ♡

#thebookbabe (fb)
Profile Image for Megan (The Book Babe).
452 reviews97 followers
June 4, 2013
The Book Babe

Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.

I have never found myself so disappointed by a dystopian novel. I'm not even sure that this qualifies as a dystopian read. It has all the key attributes (defunct society, ruthless leader, plague), but they didn't really work together. And STAR WARS? Really?

I'm not proud of that...and it's totally sad. I mean, I never understand how lies like that become common truth, but it was particularly unbelievable in this case: their entire society is based on a STAR WARS *gasp* fanfic.

Nope, I'm totally not joking. Got you there for a second, though, didn't I? Anywho, moving on before I get too carried away.

The beginning seemed info-dumpish to me, to tell you the truth. Too many names and events at one time-- I had trouble keeping up. Not only that, but I just...STAR WARS FANFIC. Their society is defunct because they believe that STAR WARS FANFIC is true. o.O

I found the main character, Leia, to be fairly dull and flat, unfortunately. She just didn't do it for me, and neither did the villain or her love interest. They just weren't believable characters. They were also way too pliable-- one hint of something could send them running for it.

All in all, I'm VERY disappointed with this one. It wasn't at all what I was expecting.
Profile Image for Suzanna E. Leonard.
55 reviews1 follower
July 14, 2016
Leuk boek om tussendoor te lezen. Vlot geschreven, leuke vondsten en originele geografie. Soms volgen de acties en gebeurtenissen elkaar wat te snel op, wat het allemaal net iets te ongeloofwaardig maakt. De personages en wisselend perspectief houden het boeiend. Uitermate geschikt verhaal voor tieners. De doelgroep zit wel helemaal juist.
Profile Image for Leanna.
232 reviews12 followers
May 29, 2013
First, before you judge me, please read the book blurb that drew me to this story in the first place: "Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.
But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?

Sounds quite interesting, right? Not really. Because let me ask you some questions: do you like Star Wars? Do you care about Star Wars and ever want to read anything related to it?

If your answers are no (which mine would have been, had anyone asked me), you might want to stay away from this book. Misleading book blurb, you actually tricked me into reading something that had to do with Star Wars. Tsk tsk.

I thought I was getting a unique dystopian novella (the subtitle is: a dystopian novella, after all) but from the first few times the characters' names were mentioned I was like- what the? Her name is Leia and her brother is Luc? What is this, some Star Wars inside joke?

And then the place they lived was called Tatoo, and okay, I have seen the Star Wars movies; I have younger brothers, so that kind of rang a little bell (Tatooine? Isn't that a planet in Star Wars?) but when they started talking about The Force and Lord Darth that was it for me.

I promptly lost all interest in this, and if you in fact do love Star Wars, you may disagree completely and love every word. Anyways, I skimmed the rest of the 70-ish pages and it didn't get much better for me. I wasn't expecting much plot or character development from a novella, although there are short stories that are shorter that I savoured every moment of. I just did not connect with the story, or the idea behind it. No big twist reveal for me, sadly.

To sum up- Star Wars fans may enjoy this idea, but it left me underwhelmed.

Thank you to the publishers, who via NetGalley provided me with an advance copy for review.
415 reviews127 followers
May 31, 2013

The waves are calling, beckoning me.
As my blood turns to water I bleed into the sea.
And the current of hope will carry me home
No woman is an island, and I am not alone.

At the tender age of 10 years old, every children on the Island, must say goodbye to their parents and learn to fend for themselves. To learn how to survive, when the rule is the survival of the fittest. They cease to have parents, they can't depend on anyone.

Across the island, there is a wall, that separates them of the Fools, the people that believes in waiting for the help, for the outsiders.

I do love dystopian novels, I always get fascinated how authors can create this "new world" and new set of rules, leaving always the reader curious, in how things evolved towards that faith.
I got to say that the twist and it's extent in this story did caught me by surprise, in a good and also in a bad way.

I do believe this story had much more potential and the restraints of being a novella showed in this one. I didn't see much character development and i thought that in many ways, the characters seemed bland or just a caricature of themselves. And it seems they take the truth too fast, without really questioning it at first.

The really strong point in this story,is that it will make you think in the relativity of fiction. On how something that is fiction for us can become the truth someone else. To read a society that was build in that fiction was really interesting, making me wonder if by chance the favorite book of that first leader, was another one.

**ARC kindly provided via netgalley in exchange of an honest review. **
Profile Image for Frk. Hyms.
216 reviews40 followers
June 26, 2013
Before I started reading The Island I was warned that it could seem like Star Wars fan fiction and I want to set one thing straight from the very beginning: This is NOT fan fiction! If you think it is, you have either not read the entire story or you have no idea what fan fiction is. But yes, Star Wars is mentioned and actually plays a rather important part of the story, but never in a fan fiction kind of way (I’m not saying there is something wrong with fan fiction – I’m just trying to separate things!) All right, how many times did I just write ‘fan fiction?’ Let’s get on with the real review:

I have to admit that the first couple of times either Star Wars or The Force was mentioned, I found it rather weird and the fact that the main character is called Leia certainly doesn’t help. But as the story unfolds everything started to make sense and it ended up being so much more than I could ever have thought.

Leia is a classic dystopian main character; she discovers that something is wrong and decides to change it and along the way she figures out that everything is worse than she thought. Leia is smart and determined, but it’s her actions more than her thoughts that carries the book and as a reader, you never really get to know her 100 %. There are a lot of quiet important secondary characters who are easily separated despite the fact that the reader never gets to know them very well.

My main problem with the story is the length – is just too short! A lot has to be explained and solved in very few pages and it shows in quick solutions and easy conflicts. It also makes the story a bit shallow since there is an overload of action and very little character development.

The story is filled with interesting subject which I could talk about for hours (or write about for hours maybe?) but it’s difficult to do so without spoiling. Believing, humanity and will power are all very important matter in the story and it makes the reader think afterwards. Jen Minkman is a great author and rumors of a sequel make me very happy.
Profile Image for Marcia.
1,037 reviews104 followers
April 16, 2016
Het Boek van Voorheen is absoluut een aanrader van eigen bodem. Het verhaal is anders dan alle Young Adult's die ik ooit gelezen heb - origineel, inspirerend en hier en daar ook grappig. De romantiek is misschien iets te cliché, maar daarvoor knijp ik graag een oogje dicht. De schrijfstijl leest fijn weg en uiteindelijk heeft het complete verhaal een logische verklaring. Mijn enige puntje van kritiek is dat dit boek veel te snel uit was; ik wil meer (details)!

Mijn complete recensie lees je op Oog op de Toekomst.
6 reviews6 followers
April 7, 2016
Uniek verhaal. Er zijn twee bijzondere geloven. De puzzelstukjes passen op het einde goed in elkaar. Ik heb genoten van dit boek! Voor mij smaakt het naar meer!

De gehele recensie is binnenkort te lezen op mijn blog: rachelleest.nl
Profile Image for Esther.
410 reviews25 followers
October 7, 2018
Het was niet helemaal mijn soort boek en dat vond ik jammer. Leuk om een keer gelezen te hebben, maar ik vond het niet speciaal.
Profile Image for Ivette.
188 reviews12 followers
April 26, 2016
Enkele dagen geleden las ik het boek uit, en nog steeds is mijn hoofd bezig met het verhaal en de personages. Het Boek van Voorheen laat je nadenken, verwonderen over hoe mensen in het leven kunnen staan en waar zij in geloven. Het laat je verder mijmeren over hoe je zélf in het leven staat, en hoe jij zou reageren als blijkt dat niets is wat het altijd heeft geleken. Het is een verhaal vol gevoelens, spanning en maakt dat je als lezer compleet de levens van Leia en Walt ingetrokken wordt, doordat je het verhaal uit beide personages leest. Het neemt je hele gedachtengang over, verovert een plekje in je brein waardoor je, zelfs als je het uit hebt, eigenlijk nog steeds niet klaar bent met het verhaal, omdat je gewoonweg geen afscheid wilt nemen.
Wauw, Jen, je doet het wéér!

De levens van Leia en Walt lijken enorm van elkaar te verschillen; de culturen waarmee ze zijn opgegroeid en waar ze hun leven mee invullen, hebben vooral punten die met elkaar botsen. De wereld van Leia voelt als een gedwongen leven, met een baas die tot alles toe in staat is om hun geloof en leven in stand te houden. De wereld van Walt daarentegen draait om gezamenlijk een leven draaiende houden en blijven geloven in het lot waarmee ze zijn opgegroeid. Toch is er uiteindelijk iets wat Leia en Walt met elkaar verbindt achter hun zijde van 'de Muur': ze geloven beiden in een kracht, iets wat deze fantastisch beschreven personages allebei op hun eigen manier gebruiken in hun levens. En wat ook nodig is, want zonder dit stukje geloof in zichzelf zullen ze het in de toekomst niet redden. Dat is een ding dat nog wel zeker is in de onzekere waarheid waarin ze verzeild raken...

De ietwat onwerkelijke, vriendschappelijke relatie die zij opbouwen vanaf hun eerste ontmoeting, voelde voor mij enorm echt. De reacties van Leia op Walt en andersom zijn logisch; hun wereld staat op z’n kop omdat het niet blijkt te zijn zoals hen is geleerd, en plots zijn ze op elkaar aangewezen. Twee wildvreemden, een Dwaas en een Ongelovige, die niets van de situatie begrijpen waarin ze elkaar tegenkomen, maar er samen achter komen dat er toch veel overeenkomsten zijn in hun gedachten en dat ze toch meer op elkaar lijken dan ze dachten. Stukje bij beetje winnen ze elkaars vertrouwen, en leren ze van elkaar hoe je de wereld ook kunt zien. En ja, er broeit iets in de lucht tussen de twee, maar voor mijn gevoel was het iets verfrissends, niet een standaard ‘love at first sight, pats boem, and they live happily ever after’, maar iets echts, dat in onze menselijke wereld ook kan gebeuren, zonder dat er speciale superkrachten of wat dan ook aan de pas komen. Pure gevoelens bij mensen die elkaar wel interessant vinden, absoluut aantrekkelijk, maar die elkaar aftasten omdat ze niet weten hoe nu verder. Heerlijk om weer eens te lezen over een relatie die op die manier groeit, in plaats van een insta-love!

Het Boek van Voorheen is een boek waar je razendsnel doorheen vliegt, al probeer je de tijd nog zo lang te rekken. Jen Minkman is een kei in het tot in details beschrijven van de omgeving waarin haar personages leven en ik moest dan ook geregeld even ‘bijkomen’ wanneer ik moest stoppen met lezen, ik was zo verdwaald in het boek! Het verhaal draait grotendeels om Leia en Walt, maar de bijpersonages mogen zeker niet vergeten worden; ook zij dragen het verhaal. Ik ben naar sommigen van hen nog steeds benieuwd; hoe heeft het verleden hen precies gevormd en hoe staan zij nu in het leven?
Al met al heb ik genoten van dit prachtige boek, en raad ik het iedereen aan die klaar is voor een verhaal dat je persoonlijk aan het denken zet, vol avontuur, spanning waardoor je soms op het puntje van je stoel kruipt en een vleugje romantiek!
April 27, 2016
Dank aan Jen Minkman voor dit recensie exemplaar.

Een van de moeilijkste dingen aan het schrijven van een recensie kan het kiezen van de rating zijn voor mij. Ook al weet ik precies hoe een boek me laat voelen, soms zijn er toch conflicterende dingen waardoor het moeilijk is om een rating te moeten kiezen voor een boek. En dat is ook het probleem dat ik had met Het Boek van Voorheen.

De start van het boek was goed. De plot en de schrijfstijl waren sterk. Ook al was het begin met vlagen wat verwarrend, toch kreeg ik genoeg informatie om door te lezen en waren de ideeën erg interessant. Het was een mysterie. Waarom was er een muur in het midden van het eiland? Was er nog meer dan alleen het eiland? Terwijl ik vaak geen fan ben van de eerste point of view door twee personages, vond ik het niet al te vervelend in de eerste helft van het boek. De delen van Leia en Walt werden elk gebundeld in ongeveer 3 of 4 hoofdstukken. Dit zorgde er voor dat ik niet elke keer aan het einde van een hoofdstuk pardoes uit het hoofd van Leia of Walt werd getrokken. Zo kreeg ik ook de kans om de hoofdpersonages beter te leren kennen. De referentie naar een populaire film dat een rol speelt in dit boek was ook erg interessant.

Maar in het tweede helft van het boek, wanneer de twee hoofd personages elkaar eindelijk ontmoeten, begint mijn interesse wat te vervliegen. Hier voor waren er twee hoofd redenen. Een is dat we in plaats van de gebundelde hoofdstukken van een hoofdpersonage, nu naar verspringing gaan na elk hoofdstuk. Dit zorgde er voor dat ik uit het verhaal werd getrokken. De tweede reden is de interactie tussen de twee hoofdpersonages. Hun interactie voelt ongelofelijk geforceerd. En daardoor werkte de romantiek ook niet voor me. Wat jammer is want de interacties die deze twee personages hebben met de andere personages in dit boek waren wel goed.

Het boek is niet lang. Het ebook dat ik heb gelezen was nog geen 200 pagina’s. Toch voelt het einde wat te snel. Met iets meer lengte en ruimte aan het einde had dit opgelost kunnen worden. En het had kunnen helpen om meer diepte te krijgen in de interactie tussen de twee hoofdpersonages.
In het eindwoord vertelt de schrijfster dat dit boek origineel twee novella’s waren die ze in het Engels had geschreven. Om twee novella’s om te zetten in een boek is moeilijk. Het laat aan mij zien waarom ik zo’n ander gevoel heb bij de eerste helft van het boek.

Zoals gezegd vond ik het eerste deel van het boek erg goed en dat had zo 4 sterren van mij gekregen. Helaas heb ik dat gevoel niet bij de tweede helft van het boek waardoor ik ben blijven steken op 3 sterren. Toch ben ik blij dat ik dit boek heb gelezen. Ik weet dat ik in de toekomst nog meer zal willen lezen van Jen Minkman.
Profile Image for Michelle.
Author 38 books401 followers
July 12, 2013
I listened to this book from start to finish today. The plot really pulled me in. Sometimes while I'm on a long drive I'll have the kindle voice read one of my e-books to me. The plot was easy to follow and the point of view was simple to track because the novel was written in the first person point of view. Sometimes I feel the story differently when I experience a book this way, but I really enjoyed this one. There were no annoying repetitious phrases to distract me. The dystopian plot paralleled some issues in our world today, like when it came to faith vs. trusting no one and relying only on yourself. I loved how the author showed that people will sometimes blindly follow things because that was all they knew. The fact that Star Wars was like their Bible amused me, but it also made a point. The author did a good job showing how a survival of the fittest philosophy is self-serving and can be dangerous. We all need to believe in something greater than ourselves. That was well done.

Toward the end of the story the reason for this reference to The Force and the Star Wars book as the gospel is revealed. I won't post a spoiler, but suffice to say it reminded me of the story about a ham that was cut off on one end for a hundred years. The tradition continues for several generations until one day someone asks why this is done, only to discover that at one time an ancestor had a pan that was too small. Despite later generations having an adequate sized pan, the tradition continued because that's how the family thought hams had to be cooked. So that's my way of giving you the gist of the core theme without telling you what happened. I found the main character's insight quite deep when she discovered the origin of their traditions. Other than some swear words sprinkled into the book, I didn't find anything offensive when I listened to the story. I would read another book by this author.
426 reviews7 followers
May 26, 2013
It feels as if there's a potentially interesting 300 page novel trying to escape from the pages of this novella. The story is all too familiar to fans of dystopian fiction - heroine lives a life of mild dissatisfaction in a cloistered world until she realises that All Is Not As It Seems and she bravely escapes to the Outside World, creating a revolution on the way. Nothing wrong with the formula, if it's done well and with some original elements. The problem here is that everything seems so rushed, there's no time to develop the world or the characters or even create the growing unease so essential to make this kind of setting work. Too much of the writing, particularly the dialogue, serves primarily to explain the society or push the simple plot along; I longed for some atmosphere and complexity in the characters, even some convincing emotions.

The Star Wars aspects made me cringe to start with (it screamed 'fan fiction') but I'm sure there are many readers who will love it, and it did grow on me as the origins of the society were revealed.

I feel that the sparse, novella-length treatment of the story could have worked well told as a fable, with careful language choices to emphasise the symbolism and allegory and create an unsettling atmosphere. I wonder how much has been lost in the translation and if this could have been more effective in the original version. There's a awkwardness to a lot of the dialogue which also suggests this.

There are some potentially interesting ideas to explore here - the way a society created by children would evolve, attitudes to raising children, the division of a world by a wall and conflicting ideologies... I only wish they had been developed.
Profile Image for Olivia (Bookcomet).
362 reviews37 followers
May 29, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don't read many novellas but this one was really good.

I liked the Star Wars references, they did not bother me at all. I think all the Star Wars references made perfect sense as well in the end - although I did guess the ending.

This was a very enjoyable book, there was lots of action and it was very entertaining. It was exactly the sort of book that I like, fast paced and with a pinch of dystopia. I thought that the author did a great job of incorporating and introducing the setting, it was very easy to understand. Even though it was a short book, the characters, particularly the main character Leia, grew. Throughout the story you could see them change their beliefs, even though they were beliefs they had been taught their entire lives.

I really love the cover. I think it matches the story perfectly and is very pretty. I just wish it was a tiny bit longer, although it does not need to be.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the dystopia and science fiction genres. It doesn't matter if you know nothing of Star Wars or know a lot about Star Wars. However, if you think the Star Wars references would bother you, don't read. I highly recommend this.

4/5 stars
Profile Image for Kara Baker-finch.
6 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2013
I chose this novella as a part of a book giveaway and what intrigued me about the description was that it sounded like a Lost/The Village type story. I was completely surprised by the main theme of the book. I recognized the names given to the characters based on a very famous series of movies. As I read it, I started to make certain assumptions based on those names and was totally shocked to learn the truth behind the mystery of the island. This novella is a very quick read. I read it in just a couple of hours on a Saturday night. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes any of the following: love stories, stories about family conflict, post-apocalyptic stories, adventure, and science fiction. It really encompasses all of that without being too "out there."
Profile Image for Sanne.
20 reviews9 followers
April 5, 2016
Waarom is dit boek al uit? Het einde voelt als een begin en ik vraag me stiekem af of Jen in het geheim werkt aan een deel 2. In het dankwoord wordt gezegd dat dit boek eerst bestond uit twee novelles en op een bepaalde manier vind ik dat je dat wel terug ziet in het verhaal. Je wacht best wel lang op een climax, die pas tegen het einde echt tot zijn recht komt. En dan, ineens, is het afgelopen! Heel jammer maar desondanks heb ik toch genoten van dit boek, hoewel het van mij nog meer details over de geschiedenis mocht bevatten en ook absoluut meer informatie over de toekomst!
Profile Image for MÁngeles.
263 reviews29 followers
November 18, 2016
Terminado. Libro raro, no sé ´cómo describirlo, muy soso. Se me hizo pesado y eso que es muy muy corto. Me quedo un poco sin saber qué decir, aunque para colmo, cuando esté la segunda parte, creo que igual la leo para ver cómo sigue, eso sí, como no sea igual de corto, lo descarto en un segundo. No lo recomiendo.
June 3, 2013
What I liked about the novel: Right off the bat, my go to answer would be: The premise and Leia, the MC. The premise is devilishly wonderful. Throughout the book I was sitting there with an evil grin, saying to myself, “oh man!! this is REALLY gonna ruffle some feathers” — and that’s the kinda premise I love to read, ESPECIALLY in a dystopian novel. For one, the premise is COMPLETELY, and utterly and almost embarrassingly, possible — making this an excellent example of true dystopian-ness. But second, Minkman’s idea is saddening — from our twisted idea of when someone reaches “grown-up, adult” at a magic number, to our alienation from family, or to a scary possibility of our religious past. Or all of the above. This is a challenge to our mindset, and it begs the question — are you a Fool too?

But then there’s Leia! Leia is no stand-back and wait kinda gal. I loved that Leia did exactly what I would have done, not to mention I loved how open-minded the children were (well, most ;P). I don’t want to give too much away, but Leia and all of the children did not disappoint. I hate it when people fight change for fighting sakes and drag out the inevitable change anyway. Minkman gets to the point and runs with it. Nice!

What I didn’t like about the novel: These really aren’t even things I don’t like, just things I wish Minkman fixed. First, I felt some details could have been presented earlier in the novel to help with clarity. For some reason, I wasn’t quite grasping all of this was happening on one island. I kept thinking the kids were moved to a different island — all Lord of the Flies’ish. There were other little things I could have used earlier that wouldn’t spoil the ending and would help with setting. Those little details being shifted around to the front would have helped with immersing into their world more quickly. Secondly, a novella?? *whine, snort, groan* Minkman really could have delved deep here and sucked me in for hundreds of pages. Her writing is clear, I already spouted on and on about how much I love the premise, but so many things are left feeling brief. I wanted more WORDS to fully see how things gradually develop. Minkman! I wanted MORE!

Would I recommend the novel: Uhh definitely! The beauty here is that even though I wished it was MORE, the shortness allows it to reach a broader audience. I can suggest this to kiddo’s just breaking into the Young Adult level and it’s not going to overwhelm them in size. Fantastic! To everyone else, BUY IT! and then read it.. duh. Yes, it’s worth it! Oh, and if you’re a Star Wars fan — you’ll giggle and love it. If you’re not familiar with the Star Wars franchise, then crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and pay attention. The novel still works without knowing this reference, but it would help and be that much more entertaining if you did. So like.. wiki it up, and then get Minkman’s book. Trust me, it’s relevant.

Jen Minkman — if you ever turn this into a full blown series, I’ll want it! I’m hooked!

// Reduced & made G-Rated for Goodreads. Full review at: Feminerd Charm
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,090 reviews1,508 followers
December 2, 2015
Leia lives on an island where the society she is from sends their children off to live in a place called the Manor at the age of ten. They are considered old enough to be on their own and must go and learn the rest of what they need to know to survive at the manor where at some point by the age of nineteen they should choose a mate and get married to then return to the village of the parents.

When Leia's friend Andy tells them that their leader is lying to them Leia steals "the book" that contains the story of their ancestors for proof. As she is trying to hide it she meets a boy named Walt that is from the city beyond the wall that Leia's people refer to as the Fools.

The Island really seems to be one of those love it or hate it type of stories. In the end I actually kind of enjoyed it but I also love Star Wars so when Leia's are said to believe in the Force and their story is being told I kind of got hooked on seeing how in the world the author would explain all of this.

It's really not until the very end of the story do you find out why all the Star Wars references but there was a reasoning behind it. That being said I believe the author captured what she was going for when trying to show a society's rules can seem odd to an outsider.

Did I actually love the idea of ten year olds being sent away? No, not particularly but it captured my attention in wanting to know what in the heck these people were thinking. Of course the entire story and the explanation in the end also seem kind of silly too but I still found it entertaining to read.

Overall, best to describe this as a rather light-hearted dystopian novella that won't be for everyone, especially those who will not like the Star Wars ties but for me still a fun read.
Profile Image for  CCAM&GZM.
310 reviews91 followers
June 15, 2013
The Island is that type of "short story" that I would have liked to be a regular novel

The author has managed to stir my curiosity, and the bad part about it is that the information received, in accordance with the "short story rules", is not enough.

The action, which takes place in a short period of time, has a good rhythm. Goods and evils happen equally offering various possible consequences. The intelligence and even the spirit of survival that characters are looking to develop will shape the denouement. There are also factors that will spice up the end, losses and risks that seem inevitable.

Everything revolves around the human nature, which, whether we like it or not, has an ugly side. And this ugly side, The Island tells us, is deeply embedded in our being, not gained. But where is evil must be the good as well.

By transforming in religion some of... the cultural events, the author will keep the reader very curious about the explanations to come. Even if partly predictable, they are relevant, having in view the story’s premises.

As concentrated as a short story ought to be, The Island is an attractive lesson about survival, about what we can do and be, and about the choices we make.
7 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2013
The Island is a wonderfully captivating dystopian novel that has unique twists unlike any others that I have ever read. I am baffled at how anyone could claim this to be 'fanfic' because it doesn't even closely resemble it at all. This story is about a society that evolved from a group of children who were abandoned on an island after the apocalypse years ago. Never having parents to guide or educate them, these children made up their own story of who they were and how they should live. The oldest boy in the group was a Star Wars fan, and this puts quite the twist on this book. He tells the others about the characters to inspire them on how they should live. In time, this story continues to evolve among the children until the the Star Wars characters are eventually believed to be their ancestors. The main character, Leia, is a strong and likable character that you will grow to love. This is truly a unique book that makes a great, quick read as you likely won't want to put it down. It is very interesting and kept me drawn in and wondering until the end. Highly recommended!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bee.
813 reviews209 followers
July 30, 2013
Okay, I'm not a big fan of Star Wars. I like the movies, but I'm not a big fan and if I'd seen the resemblance in the blurb on Netgalley (which was different from the one on Goodreads) I wouldn't have requested it. But none the less... I didn't hate the book. But I can't help but wonder if this book doesn't violate any copyright...

This is a short book, a novella. It only has about 80 pages, so I got through it quick. Partly because after 40 or so pages I just skimmed through the rest. It was okay. But to be honest, it felt more like a star wars fan fiction. It's okay. That's all it was. If you love Star wars, you'll probably like this one. (Or not because you don't want someone to ruin a series you love.)

So yeah, that's about all I can say about it. I can't call this a book. It's a fan fiction. It's not that original and it's just Star Wars with a twist. And I liked it okay for that reason. If I have to rate this as a book... I wouldn't give it much. Maybe 1 star because the writing is okay but that would be it. So. There you have it.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,038 followers
June 19, 2013
Original reaction: For now I'm just going to give a nice long eye roll, and I'll write more later. I'll use the force.

This YA dystopian novella started out well. I like the idea of this group of teenagers who have some kind of marriage-power culture as your only way out, the sadness of leaving home so young, not knowing anything about the outside world.

But then you find out where their society comes from. I don't have a beef with this idea of using Star Wars, I wouldn't go as far as calling it Star Wars fan fic as others have done, but there is an important loophole in the story. The origin story of the society says they had a box or a trunk of books but yet the only one having an impact is this one? That's where everything fell apart for me. It needs work.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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