Review: Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

When a group of teenagers come across a competition being held by millionaire Marcus Gold where they they’ll be in for the chance to win big cash, they jump at the opportunity. Soon enough they realise something sinister is going on but how far are they willing to go? And who can they really trust?

Savage Island caught my attention immediately due to its title, it forced me to check out the synopsis and from that point onwards I was desperate to read it. I grew up watching horror films – I recall my parents buying me a bunch of the Saw films (amongst many others) for one of my birthdays and I sat and watched them all, one after the other. What I think is really lacking in Young Adult books is horror. I do sometimes dive into Adult books for it but my preference is YA so when the two combine you know I will be reading it.

While I thought the kids weren’t very clued up (come on, I could’ve guessed that the competition wouldn’t be a walk in the park, though the title might’ve gave that one away), it made for some seriously good reading. Without going into detail, the gore was amazing. I loved the way it started off rather tame and then things quickly hit the fan. I’ve seen a few people saying the amount of it/how intense it was put them off but I really couldn’t get enough. I’m wanting to re-read this book just to immerse myself in all of it again.

Saying that, I wasn’t overly keen on any of the characters. This might mostly be because of how much my love for the horror element overruled any care I could have for the characters. However they were very naive – which I put down to being truly desperate for the money, but I think it took them a bit too long to realise what was going on. There were flashbacks meshed into this story which I didn’t feel were necessary, or added anything extra to Savage Island.

The ending didn’t surprise me, and it felt a bit messy/rushed. I was completely ok with the mysteriousness of evil villian Mr. Gold, I quite liked not actually knowing much about him and I think that worked well. I also quite liked the setting, as that itself provided some spookiness. I came for gore and gore is what I got, so I’m giving 3 stars. This was a quick and entertaining read that I would recommend, if you have the guts! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy.

How far would you go for 1 million pounds?

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