Friday, July 20, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: X-ISLE by Steve Augarde

Steve Augarde
David Fickling Books
Ages 12 & up

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 rumored to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys stand a chance of getting in, 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 defense. But can they complete this weapon in time, and are they really prepared to use it to secure their freedom?


I heard about this book early last year and have been anxious to read it ever since. In truth, I had a hard time getting into the story at first, probably for the first 300 pages. It was interesting enough to keep reading and Augarde's writing is very good, but the story wasn't what I expected. Instead, it felt a lot like Lord of the Flies set in the future when the world has been demolished by a global flood. I kept reading because it was well-written and because I hoped for something more later on in the story. My patience did pay off in the end.

The last third of the book was very intense and fulfilled my expectations. The final showdown between Baz and Preacher John was gripping.  The final revelation/plot twist took me totally by surprise, but I didn't really see how it connected to the overall plot.  But don't get me wrong. There were several gut wrenching scenes throughout the book, moments that were emotionally raw and heartbreaking. Lots of weird things happen that keep you guessing all the way to the end. I think this book would appeal to boys more than girls (ie. the fart club). If you like books that explore the connections between human brutality and the will to survive, this book is for you. Overall, X-Isle is good read.

My Rating:

Profanity: None (unless you count the made up words used instead)
Sex:  None
Violence:  Moderate (yes, people die in violent ways, but the violence is not described in detail)


  1. Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't heard of this book. I'm impressed that you kept with it even though it didn't grab you for so long.

  2. I also haven't heard of this book. Sounds cool, though.