Fifty-three families looking for a new beginning board a ship and sail to an uninhabited island. Happily they live for nearly two decades. Homes are built and the past is forgotten. Paradise, however, is no more after the adults suddenly vanish one night. For three years, the teens and children rule the island of Oridd. For three years, they survive. When an old woman unexpectedly appears on Oridd, all is cast into disarray as the strange and awful threaten to become commonplace. The old woman wants something, and she won’t leave until she gets it.
I normally always write spoiler-free reviews, but this time I am going to have some slight spoilers. Nothing too major that will give away the whole book, just enough to make my point. I’ll write the spoiler-free part first and warn you when the spoilers are coming up.
This is a story about an island inhabited by children. There used to be adults on the island. That is until one day, the children wake up to find that all the adults have disappeared without a trace. They live peacefully for a few years. Then one day a stranger shows up. The islanders are baffled as to how a stranger was able to get onto the island. This stranger is known as the Scarlet One, as she is dressed in all red. They quickly lock the prisoner up, but that doesn’t stop the havoc and chaos she creates. She brings death and destruction upon the island claiming that once she gets what she wants, she will leave.
This story is a creepy read, that’s for sure. I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into this book. There was no genre listed on Goodreads and all I had to go on was what the author had told me about the book. All I was given was the synopsis and that it was a fantasy novel. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it had a slightly creepy edge to it. Perfect for Halloween, that’s for sure.
I really loved the world Jessica created. There was a lovely background story that explained how the island came to be and who created it. The island was broken into different ministries that were responsible for different tasks, such as defense or hunting and fishing. She also created fantasy animals that resided on the island, such as birds, called flirds, that can speak and look like flowers while resting. The world-building was great in my opinion.
I did have some issues with the novel. I didn’t like the writing style at all. It was written in an old style of writing. It definitely made it hard for me to get into the story. It took me until about 30 percent in to actually become invested. This is a personal preference of course. I will say that this writing style does fit well with this particular story; it just wasn’t for me.
I also felt that the ending was rushed. There was a lot going on within the last three chapters that I felt like it could have been expanded upon a bit more. Nothing was really explained and I didn’t really care for how the story ended. I just wish it would have been fleshed out just a tad more.
*Now this is where slight spoilers may show up.*
My biggest issue was that it did seem quite similar to Stephen King’s Storm of the Century. I didn’t like how alike they were. I’m just going to list how alike both of these stories were. If you haven’t read the screenplay for Storm of the Century or watched the movie, then this also could be spoilery for that as well.
- They both have strangers who show up with supernatural gifts.
- They are both isolated communities.
- Both strangers are able to control and manipulate other’s minds and even cause them to kill.
- In both stories all of the children are put into a trance.
- The message from the stranger is the same: “Give me what I want and I’ll go away.”
Overall, I think this was a great fantasy novel with excellent world-building. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys creepy reads. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Jessica Hernandez for sending me an advance copy in return for an honest review.