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Savage Island - Review

Bryony is a sensational writer, I was amongst the first to know this, we worked on her debut and she was amazing, if a little shy with big crowds of eager readers . She used to pop to my shop with her girls and we did several events. She moved south and we touch base online...

Then... she was nominated for a major award, the Wirral schools are a fab group and have a major awards with lots of real readers...

So, she's coming to see if she did well and meet 5 other author son the shortlist, they will all have an immensely fun day soon.

I have finally read her new book, I truly loved her others, she is clever, well researched and writes like a dervish, she really understands plot and pace and making her characters believable and have interactions, ones you sometimes do not see.

This book... is IMMENSE seriously, seriously fabulous...

I was a huge Hunger Games fan, ask Sally Nicholls, she wrote about it and me in her article for Indie Bookshop week a few years ago...

NOW, I am a huger fan of Bryony and this book, it just is to die for..literally...well, you would get £1 Million for doing something and well, what would you do?

You are 17 or so, due to go to Uni and have the Summer free, you see an ad online for an adventure weekend, hiking and climbing and geofencing and such, it's got a £1 Million pound per person prize and there will be 10 teams... Good odds

Certainly if you have just done your DoE and are quite resourceful and have the right team...

So, we have 5 friends, 2 brothers Ben and Will and Grady and two girls Lizzie and Carmen, they really are a team and they feel they can win, just enough youthful exuberance, nothing too much...

They land and have limited time to acclimatise and get to the start, there is immediate tension and just enough to create a start of what is to come. They soon realise that this competition is one they must win and others feel the same, there is no way it can be just fun and see, it's winner takes all, at 17 you would think £1 million quid was something and would do whatever you could to win it.

They are near Fetlar in the Shetlands, the island is remote, owned by a reclusive but benevolent billionaire, he seems to be just wanting the winners to be resourceful and play as a team, it's like the TV show, you need to think and do... The Crystal Maze... 

Then, things happen...

When they get to the first of 7 boxes with clues and a 'treasure' one they must match or improve upon, the Geocase thing... They find something that makes them realise... this is SERIOUS... but... I'm not saying... No Spoilers...

What we get is a rip-roaring adventure with some amazing scenes that will literally make you jump, Bryony has mastered the art of surprise and the way she makes you see what has happened is brutally brilliant. It's as good as any film but described. Think along the lines of Panic Room crossed with Alien and add some Chaucer and his battle of wits over treasure and poison.

There is excellence backstory, weaved seamlessly into the ongoing race against time...

It's also a bit like Lord of the Flies, there is something about groups and isolation, no IT whatsoever, no fire/heat/food...  you really are shocked, you get to know the characters really well, you see them grow and respond to each other, things are there for them and us to see. But, Bryony's gift is that she is one step ahead and setting us up for the finale...

The pace and terror ramp up to beyond Predator levels, this is not Endurance, there are no banjos playing, this is better... 

There is a subtle irony over what teens are like and what they perceive as needed and what they can and will or not do. What we find out is simple, it has to be, it all happens over 72 hours and every minute counts...

This book is utterly brilliant, you will jump, squeal and cry, you will want things to happen, you will want to know more.. to find out... just order a copy and read it... Bryony is with me on 18/19th March... so maybe order a copy and she can sign it and I'll post it... £6 inc delivery, you'll not regret it... I promise the ending here is amongst the absolute best ever, in just 3 pages Bryony takes us from somewhere we see as a clever end to somewhere that no one would expect ... ever... 

The stuff between the characters is fab, they are real and you really get into them, siblings, family issues, habits and morals, relationships that may or not be there... beneath the immediate surface is a layer of psychology and a study in psychosis that any student will love. But, it's told with panache, pace and intrigue and some things that defy you to be able to deal with. This book will honestly blow your mind.

Hunger Games is for Wimpy kids..this is real and is for anyone with guts... but bring a strong stomach... I'd love to see this filmed it would rival Blair Witch and Sixth Sense in the what the hell and jump stakes...