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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Wolf Island by Darren Shan (Demonata, #8) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Trespassers will be eaten...

3029879

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 223
Chapters: 22
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Trespassers will be eaten... Do you not just love that tagline? The Demonata series has some cracking taglines, but Wolf Island's just tickles me something awful. It's like a mix of humour and deadly seriousness. Which also, in turn, describes this entry perfectly. I really enjoy Wolf Island, it has an action-packed story, great character development and snappy writing. Yes, I've just described this entire series, but I never get tired of repeating how bloody brilliant it is. For me personally, these books deserve to be up there with the likes of Harry Potter etc. Except far more disturbing and nightmare inducing.

But it's all good.

SPOILER WARNING


Grubbs, Meera and Shark have branched off from the main group, and have their own deadly mission.
To chase the Lambs down and find out their connection to the Demonata.
But even though the mission's simple, the execution is far from smooth sailing.
A trap is sprung, and Grubbs and co are caught.
And something deep within our hero stirs, something he thought he had under control...

I've not thought much about the Lambs throughout the series; they've always been just there. So my surprise at the big part they play in Wolf Island is tempered with how much I wanted Mr Shan to overturn my hesitancy. And without a doubt he does. The story went from me feeling it might be the weakest in the chain, to one of the best instalments to the series. We see the Lambs in a new light, and couple that together with the fast pace and fantastic cast, and they speed up the ranks.

There's also a nice reinforcement of what I said in my review for Death's Shadow about how well the world is built. How greatly the feeling of realism within the book is portrayed. We get another delightful dose of it this time around as well, with Wolf Island following Grubbs, Beranabus and Kernel before, during, and in Grubbs's case, after the events of the last book. Everything meshes perfectly, causing the world created to really pop and flow in our minds.

We also see some stellar development from Grubbs. We last saw his point of view in Demon Apocalypse, and we had a solid feel for him: A brave coward. In this novel, he's drastically different, giving weight to the events that passed - which we don't read - in the gap between books. He's almost fearless in Wolf Island, fulfilling his deep wishes of becoming a hardy warrior and overcoming that which held him back. But it's this almost impenetrable wall he's built around himself that screams for help. This is the way Grubbs shows that he's truly falling apart. It's the perfect setup for what happens later in the book, with him tearing down everything about himself and letting everything free: The magic part of him, the human part, and deadliest of all, the wolf part. He gives them free rein, essentially creating a balance he never thought he could have.

But Grubbs isn't the only character. The rest of our cast in Wolf Island, and every other entry, is astounding. Each of them are unique and instantly visualised. It helps the different stories going on to be such a joy to read through, knowing that there's absolutely no dead weight.

Plus, the overarching plot is slowly but surely coming into focus, and it's gonna be a blast!


Previous Instalment: Death's Shadow
Next Instalment: Dark Calling


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