Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Isle by Jordan Frankel - Review

Author: Jordana Frankel
Publication Date:  19 January 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series:  The Ward, book 2
Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian
Age Recommendation: 14 and up
Rating: 3 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~

Book Description:

Drought season is coming....

The Ward is in trouble—its streets filled with seawater after a devastating flood and its impoverished inhabitants suffering from a deadly disease called the Blight.

Ren, with the help of her scientist friend, Callum, and her racing buddy, Derek, has discovered a cure—miraculous spring water—administering it to her sick sister, Aven. But when Aven is kidnapped by Governor Voss, the malevolent dictator of the United Metro Isles (UMI), Ren must go on a dangerous mission to save her sister, again.

The mysterious healing water is the only source of freshwater throughout the entire UMI—water that Ren had been tasked by the government to discover. Although she refuses to give up the water’s location, Governor Voss has his own selfish reasons for wanting it. And he will do anything to satisfy his thirst for unquenchable power.

But Ren and Aven have more enemies than the governor. An ancient order, the Tètai, has been guarding the magical water for hundreds of years. And they will kill to protect it. With the Ward in desperate need of freshwater and wracked by disease—and deadly enemies at every turn—the sisters face a dangerous journey, marred by mysterious secrets and horrifying truths, to save their friends and neighbors, and a city.

My Review:

The Isle picks up right where book one, The Ward left off.  The cast of characters, Ren, Callum, Dererk discovered a natural spring (with some very special properties) and  saved Aven from the Blight only to have her stolen away from them by the nefarious Governor Voss, who is determined to push Aven into every scientific experiment he can think of to discover just how far this new cure will much it will cure.  The race is now on for Ren and the 'crew' to not only save Aven but to stop Govenor Voss from discovering the 'cures' source and misusing it.  The Isle is told from the dual POV of Ren and Aven.

So this was an interesting read to me because I really REALLY wanted to like this so hard.  Now, it isn't that I didn't like it, I did...but I had a lot of trouble sticking with it.  It took me quite a bit of time to get through it because I didn't have that "OMGosh I HAVE to finish this now!" feeling when it came to this book.  Funnily enough though this is a pretty quick read, I can see people tearing through it in now time at all.  It is filled with action, these characters are constantly on the run from someone or another (mainly Voss) or racing to save someone.  I think the challenge for me was I felt like I didn't get all the relationship development I wanted with each character.  There are all these simmering feelings just beneath all the action but we never really get there.   The only relationship that is ever fully developed ( and I don't mean strictly romantic relationships) is Ren and Avens.

Let's talk about the girls and their relationship really quick.  I loved them.  I love Ren's spirit and drive.  I love her passion and dedication to those who she cares for, who she considers her family.  She can be risky, but nothing good ever comes out of not being willing to risk everything in a Dystopian right?  Aven, what a sweet soul.  I will say at times she rubbed me a bit wrong because I wanted her to be stronger, or more I wanted her to stop saying she wasn't strong enough.  It is a huge theme for her through out the book, that she isn't as strong and capable as Ren and that bothered me a bit.  She may not be as quick in difficult situations, she isn't quite as bold or street smart as Ren but her spirit is just as strong.  Ren to me can be described as the earth but Aven she is the sun.  The earth will always be there to turn, to survive, and grow, but it can only do this as long as the sun continues to shine down on it, going it light and hope.  I enjoyed the relationship between these two.  While not blood relatives they have taken each other on as sisters and it (as one of 4 sisters myself) can be fun to watch them interact.  There are a number of times that I found Aven to be the petulant younger sister and Ren the snappish bossy older sister.  They completely balance each other and I really appreciate seeing this strong relationship between two female characters.

What I missed out on is more from the boys.  Callum, Derek, and Terrence.  I wanted more of them, I wanted for their characters to feel fully developed and yet I walked away from the book filling as though it was a bit incomplete because I don't really know these guys the way I'd like to.  I wanted to see more of how their relationships developed with the girls, especially Derek and Ren, or Ren and Callum...there was a bit of something underlying there as well.

The two other things that made this a bit of a challenging read for me were the fact that Ren's language seemed to flip flop between what we might consider an average teenage girl and a uneducated street smart teen and she was the only one that seemed to speak in this manner which confused me because she isn't the only one coming up from a harsh street/orphanage type of life.  The other issue was the fact that there were a lot of out of body/existential type moments and I couldn't quite figure out what was going on, but I will say that is likely just an issue for me...I am not a existential kind of person....I like my worlds clear and concise, ha.

Overall, I really enjoyed this duology, and I think it is a great read for YA dysopian fans.  I felt like he first book was better, but that often happens in a series so don't let it stop you from going into this.  The relationship between Ren and Aven is enough of a reason to read this book, but you will also get twist and turns and quite a bit of action.  I love the strength of the female characters in this book and while I missed getting to know the male characters better I appreciate how much of this book showed that you don't have to have strong male characters to carry a book, strong females can do it just as well.  While this series as I understand it is complete...I felt like it was left a tad open, so maybe if we are very very good we will get another peek into the world of UMI.


3 Finished copies of THE ISLE

Jordana Frankel is a Jersey native.

She's been a camp counselor, a salesperson of diamonds, a hostess at a southwestern grill, an archivist of rare books, a yoga instructor, and a reading teacher, but her shining moment was when she got to hang out in Walmart for 12 hours a day as the AXE girl.

She received her B.A. in English from Goucher College, graduated and then went to live in Italy for a year. Afterwards she then went for her MFA in Poetry at Hollins University.

But then she graduated and she moved back to NYC.

She got her first job at The Literary Group International as a literary agency, where she'd started as an intern reading queries and then assisted editorially. At Linn Prentis Literary, also a literary agency, she handled foreign sales, picked up gems from unsolicited mail, and helped authors through the publishing process. And then it was onto The Book Report Network where she handled ads and promos for features on,, and

Jordana is currently writing a (history textbook/)novel entitled THE WARD, forthcoming from KT Books/HarperCollins in 2013. She also teaches creative writing workshops for kids ages 8 to 18 through Writopia Lab, a non-profit organization based in New York City.

Tour Schedule:

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Week 2


  1. Thanks for your review--I'd better find the first book for this exciting series!

  2. Definitely grab it up, it is a really interesting take on YA dystopian!