My rating: 1 of 5 stars
By the time I got to the third book in Gordon Korman’s Island series, it was kind of a relief just to know that it would all be over soon.
To recap the events of Shipwreck and Survival (SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT THIS IS A REVIEW OF BOOK 3, SO I’D HAVE HOPED YOU’D HAVE FIGURED THAT OUT ON YOUR OWN), thirteen-year-old Luke Haggerty is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and is sent, as part of his sentence, to participate in a sailing trip with five other troubled kids. Charla Swann is an overachiever from the inner city, Will and Lyssa Greenfield are siblings who get into violent fights — Lyssa is super-smart and Will feels inadequate in comparison — Ian Sikorsky is a geek whose only contact with the outside world is the Discovery Channel, and JJ Lane is the spoiled son of a famous Hollywood director.
In the first book, their captain is swept overboard and the first mate abandons them. In the second book, they find themselves on a tiny island populated only by a wild boar and some international smugglers.
Now, in Book 3, Escape, the kids need to take drastic measures to get rescued. Will has a gunshot wound that’s gotten infected, and he needs immediate medical care. Reaching much, Korman? Geez. JJ has an idea: he’ll stow away in the criminals’ cargo plane and, if they find him, he’ll offer himself up as a hostage on account of his father being so rich and famous and all.
And the story just keeps getting more and more ridiculous from there. I don’t know; if I hadn’t read the Everest series first, then I might not have minded the ridiculousness so much. But I still think I would have minded it a little. The story starts with promise — it reminded me of Gary Paulsen’s excellent Hatchet in the beginning. But it slowly degenerated into a sensationalist tale of hiding from criminals using the most extraordinary means possible to get back home.
This sort of plot is just so trite. I wouldn’t tolerate it in a television series and I won’t brook tolerate it in a book.