WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Island by Max Brooks
Type: Children’s, Minecraft, Survival
Basic Plot: A person wakes up in the middle of the ocean, finding themselves with no memory in a completely untamed world.
Plot: 3/5 Average: The story deals with an interesting concept that is part realistic deconstruction, part action, and part self-help. The nameless protagonist goes through an adventure filled with total mystery from start to finish, leaving a craving for a sequel. My main complaint about the story is probably that is was anti-climatic.
Writing Style and Setting: 3/5 To be honest, the first few chapters nearly made me laugh out loud, as the dire situations were presented in a realistic, but overly dramatic fashion. In a way though, like the world does to the protagonist, it grew on me. Descriptions, while still a bit dramatic, were at least not dull.
Moral: 3½/5 Mostly Good Morals: The book was, noticeably, a self-help/motivational book disguised as a kid’s book. Every chapter is clearly devoted to teaching a lesson, whether it be to stay calm in a dangerous situation or that actions have consequences, some which we may not like. Every moral was recommendable, except for two, one which was “sometimes you have to compromise a ideal in order to save it” and that it is not good to avoid books and words that make you uncomfortable (which is only half true). The ultimate moral of the series was that one should grow and expand there horizons.
Overall: 3/5 Average: As stated earlier, while I cringed a bit at first at the book, it grew on me, and I am looking forward to the second one. I would recommend the book to minecraft lovers of all ages, though most of all children between the ages of fifteen and ten.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 : A man blushes when two animals have a baby, though nothing sexual happens. There are just hearts. Though he has painted on clothes, without armor, a man says he is naked. He mentions his own and other characters butts, though not for crude purposes. He notices he can’t use the restroom. “Naked” is used for descriptive purposes.
Violence: 3/5 Moderate Violence: A man kills animals and monsters for food and self defense, as well as is attacked by monsters. This is done with arrows, biting, and swords. He makes various machines to kill monsters in a different ways. A man accidentally hits a chicken and himself, and purposely hits animals to push them away from lava. A man mentions that he remembers shows that had anvils falling on people.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1½/5 Brief Misuse: “Bloody” is misused once. “Sucky” is said. The character is mentioned to curse or swear at least five times.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 A man nearly dies several times whether it be by drowning, being attacked by various monsters, and being pushed into lava. He eats zombie flesh to survive and reasons why it is not cannibalism. He slaughters a herd of chickens before feeling immense guilt and considers killing a cow out of hunger before deciding she is his friend. His injuries and starvation are described in minor detail, including bruises, head pain, food poisoning, poison, and broken bones as well as disgusting smells. Arrows are once mentioned to be sticking out of him. A man rescues his animals from falling into lava. A man checks if he is bleeding. A man starts to starve and worries about dying, but he does not. A man is nearly buried to death by gravel. He bumps his head. He declares war to the monsters on the island. Monsters burn in lava and catch fire in the sun. He is “buried alive” by himself. but can breathe and has some moving room. Whenever a monster dies, it disappears in a puff of smoke.A man hurts his hand punching a rock. A man worries if he is losing oxygen; he isn’t. He mentions people have killed for gold. A man talks about attacking monsters and thinks about different types of weapons he would like to make. A man hopes things won’t hurt. “Dead rat,” “undead cat,” “dead zombie smoke,” “drown,” “killed” “monstrous,” “murderous,” and “skeleton” are used for descriptive purposes. He is relieved there will be no cave-ins. He cries at least once from the stress, and he screams twice and tries to once from fear and pain. A zombie is once called “Dead Dude” and “dead head.”
Religious Issues: 2/5 Brief Use and Mention: A man talks to himself about how he has evolved” so fast because he discovered so many things quickly. He calls “tool making, agriculture, and … a little piece of the sun” (as in fire) “the holy trinity of human evolution.” Ancient humans are talked about as hairy and “cave dwellers.” A man wonders if pressing a button will lead him to a spirit; it doesn’t. When lighting a torch, he says “let there be light.” Fate, a guru, primitive portrayal of the Neanderthal, vampires dying in the sun, and yin are briefly mentioned. Skeletons and zombies attack a man. He makes a philosophy about accomplishing goals that he calls “The Way of the Cube” because there are five sides like a cube. He describes falling in lava as hell. “Ghostly” is used for descriptive purposes.
Magic: 1/5 Brief Use: Witches throws potions at a man. An enderman teleports.
Others: The man sings lyrics from Once in a Lifetime. The book is basically the telling of a person stuck in the minecraft video game. An alien is mentioned. The game King’s Quest and the character King Graham are mentioned as well as several other indirect references to books and movies including Frankenstein, Bug’s Bunny, Finding Nemo, and Frog and Toad. A man dances when he is happy, and “dance” is used for descriptive purposes. “Gamble” is used for descriptive purposes.
Overall: 2½/5 Older Child Appropriate: I would recommend the book for children ten to thirteen and older for the scenes of violence and pain.