Publisher's Note:  

Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X-Isle, the island where life is rumored to be easier than on what's left of the mainland. Only young boys stand a chance of getting in, the smaller and lighter the better. Baz and Ray are two of the lucky few to be chosen, but they soon discover that X-Isle is a far cry from paradise. Ruled by Preacher John, a dangerous religious fanatic, it's a violent, unpredictable place, where terrible things can happen at any moment. The boys hatch an extraordinary plan in order to protect themselves-the construction of a mighty weapon of defense. But can they complete this weapon in time, and are they really prepared to use it to secure their freedom?


Powerful and compelling, X-Isle is a fast-moving thriller and a great read for boys. Filled with suspense, fights, adventure, and mystery, this is a book that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by David Fickling Press


by Steve Augarde

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Overall Review:  

Baz is desperate to get to X-Isle—the only place in his drowned world where there is enough food. Or so the rumors say, anyway. Once he makes it there, X-Isle is nothing at all like Baz imagined it would be. Instead of a life of luxury, Baz finds himself in what feels more like a nightmare than anything else.


X-Isle is tense, gripping, and thought-provoking. I connected to Baz and was intrigued by the post-apocalyptic world Augarde has created. Although the plot is compelling and there is plenty of adventure to be had, the pace dragged a bit for the first half of the book, and I didn't feel particularly invested in the characters or outcome until the end. Despite its gritty post-apocalyptic setting, much of the plot in the earlier parts of the book unfolds slowly, and many of the details given didn't seem particularly important. However, by the last quarter of the book I couldn't put it down, and the ending was extremely satisfying. Overall, X-Isle is recommended for readers who love a good dystopia with plenty of twists and turns!

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 131 religious exclamations. 48 mild profanities. 2 derogatory names. 10 anatomical terms. There is also quite a bit of British profanity which I was not familiar with and did not make a specific tally of.


Violence/Gore: There are several instances where a man shoots a gun into the air or out of sight (gunshots are heard). People shoot at a boat and a man is injured (not seriously, but blood is described). There are several scenes throughout the book where adolescent boys are shaken, hit, beaten, or threatened by older boys or men. There are several instances where a group of adolescent boys fantasize about finding a way to kill their captors. A major plot in the book deals with the building of a bomb. Throughout the book, older boys and men torment younger boys, including but not limited to—forcing them into a sewer drain; urinating on a younger boy; shoving a boy's hand into boiling soup (he is severly injured); injuring a boy's hand with a vice. In an emotionally intense scene, a group of boys is ordered to kick at another boy (their friend) and they do, becoming brutal and frenzied (no serious injuries happen). A boy walks into the ocean and drowns himself. It is rumored that another boy (and possible more) have been taken out in a boat and left in the ocean to drown. A boy is crushed by a falling stone. Two grown men threaten each other and shoot at each other (one kills the other). An explosion kills several people. A boy remembers seeing people die in an enormous flood. In a very intense scene, two girls and a boy douse a pair of older boys with a flammable liquid and threaten to light them on fire.


Sex/Nudity: A boy is teased about being gay. A younger boy says that an older boy wants to "sneak off and look at his porno mags." A boy takes his shorts off to get in a bath (nothing described). A few oblique references are made to women being forced to prostitute themselves in order to earn money for food.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Natural disasters, abuse, retribution, religion being used as an excuse for violence, death.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Throughout the book adult men and older teenage boys drink, and sometimes become very drunk. An adolescent boy takes a sip of beer and decides he doesn't like it.

Reviewed By CindyB
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