Customer Reviews: Island Life
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on October 15, 2002
When was the last time you listened to that little queasy feeling in the pit your stomach that told you not to go digging into places you really knew nothing about? The off-islanders in William Meikle's book, woven around a small, sparsely populated island in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, would have none of it. They paid little attention to the "ravings" of the old light-house keeper. He tried to warn them and the Islanders too, but no one would listen. His stories were old, whispered about centuries ago, when none would venture out into the black of night, but this was the 21st Century, and they were young, excited student archeologists from the mainland on their first dig. What was there to fear?
And the Islanders? Well that was just old Tom, part of the island's folklore that brought in the Tourist trade.
An "unholy mist" permeates the far end of the island. Unwittingly, as the young archeologists begin their excavation into a portentous knoll, they unleash the fury and devastation long imprisoned in the bowels of the mound bringing unimaginable horror to all within its grasp. As the mist slithers across this tiny island, engulfing all within its range, its dark shadows hide its carnivorous messengers of death and destruction, terrorizing even the most stalwart who ventured forth.
William Meikle's characters jump off the pages at you. You know them. They are your neighbors, your friends and you worry for their safety. Island Life will keep you turning the pages and holding your breath.
Reviewed by: Elena Dorothy Bowman, Author of: Sarah's Landing Series, The House On The Bluff, Time In A Rift
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on September 24, 2002
Do not let the pink cover fool you. This book is frightening and it can have you conjuring up all sorts of images in your head.
Island Life by William Meikle is a Scottish tale of terror that hooks the reader from the very beginning and reels them in further with each ensuing chapter.
Follow the local inhabitants of a small island off the coast of Scotland through their worst nightmares as an ancient evil is awakened and it wants revenge.
Meikle masterfully tells his tale of ancient religion, current folklore and a modern horror, which is hard to tear yourself away from.
The story revolves around Duncun who has returned to the island to continue his research from the previous year. A budding romance between Duncan and the local pub owners daughter Meg could be in jeopardy if the horror that the old Lighthouse keeper Tom believes in is true.
What kind of animal has been killing off John's sheep? And what have the archeology students uncovered in their dig up by the old mansion? Learn all the dark secrets that lie beneath that mysterious mound and why Tom was against that dig in the first place.
There truly are more monsters in Scotland than just those in Loch Ness. Meikle's monsters are not something one would wish to go hunting especially if all you were armed with was a camera. One would certainly want more protection than that, much more. Meikle's descriptions of these unholy beings from another time bring up images of aliens, Golum and the Creature from the Black Lagoon (some of which he even uses as comparison within the book itself).
Americans may find some of the terms and phrases to be unknown to them, but this reviewer felt they added more to the realism of the setting of a Scottish Island and welcomed the unfamiliar terms.
Be forewarned as your imagination grips you and you are swept out to sea in the terrifying tale of ancient and unspeakable evil.
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on February 18, 2013
It was by sheer force of will that I actually finished Island Life and it has sadly become one of my worst kindle buys.

To be fair, I realise that sometimes a book needs a specific reader... that reader was not me.

Island Life started off okay, but the story was, in my opinion, quickly weighed down when the writing "style" the author adopted quickly became convoluted and the plot just became confusing to me.

I really wanted to like this book, I mean with an island setting, gothic atmosphere and "unholy things", I didn't think it could go wrong.

But it went oh-so-wrong.

With many repetitive perspectives, for one thing; too much going back and forth, requiring too much concentration which really got in the way of the whole trying to enjoy the actual story.

The reader must wade through excessive writing that's badly stylised only to be taken further out of the story by having to remember what the hell just happened a chapter ago, and yet, in all of this "detail", excitement and attention to the plot was sadly lost.

Somewhere around the middle it lost me and I became very bored with it.
I kept losing interest so many times that I actually went through two other books while i was reading this one, and finished them first.

All I could do when I had some free time was groan that I still wasn't done with this mess, knowing I still had to finish it.

It was all just too much of "the years grew long, Calent waited"...blahblahblah..."insert pointless memory during waiting period here"...blahblahblah... "days turned into weeks"...blahblahblah....repeat endlessly.

It wasn't even scary or creepy, not even with remnants of an Atlantian/pre human race as the "unholy things".

I do not know how on earth this could get 5 star reviews.

My summary -

PROS: I'm being generous here by grasping for something, but one thing positive was I got a real sense of fog on the lonely, misty island.
I guess that gave it a good gothic athosphere and description of the Scottish isle.

CONS: Too much backstory flashbacks of the "monster" and nothing actually exciting happening and it eventually loses the reader.
All the talk about the ancient race things in the past intermingled between present day kept me too distracted from the on-going story by all the useless nonsense. Also awkward relationship moments that didn't work very well making the flow even more inconsistent. In my opinion, the story could have been good if there was a better writing style/structure.

WHAT I LIKED BEST: The one thing I can say I liked was giving the dog in the story a narration. Having some of the story unfold as from the dog's perspective offered some sense of investment for me because I was almost genuinely worried for the dog's safety, while I didn't even care about the other characters.

When it comes to books, I honestly never thought I would feel I didn't get my moneys worth, my whole $2.99 that it cost to read this story,
but that's exactly how i feel about this novel.

I found it was just not an enjoyable horror story at all and would have given it a half star if i could have.

If you insist because you like Scottish island setting, pre-human creatures and ancient burial mounds so much that you still want to try this book out, I suggest reading on a dark stormy night outside on a beach, maybe that will make it scary.

The scariest part for me was trying to finish it.
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on January 2, 2014
4.5 stars.

I love William Meikle's style--this man can write such convincing characters. His work is infused with such originality! I thought this story was captivating from beginning to end. A touch of Lovecraftian homage, combined with Meikle's own voice, makes for a very compelling read. An isolated island is the perfect location for this story of supernatural power. A great first novel to start the New Year out with!

Highly recommended!
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on June 26, 2014
Loved this book so much. All the history in it not dry but informative none the less. I thought it read hard at first with the thrown in local language but soon find`t even notice anymore. Was a great book if you have time to stay with it for long periods. I never wanted to stop reading waiting for the next scare. Get description of the devil creatures. Loved the Scottish end left some questions but I like that allows your mind to finish it all. My daughter wanted me to read her some when she read a page over my shoulder but this is not a children's book. She would of had nightmares for sure..
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on January 7, 2013
I loved reading this book until the end. There was just enough creepiness to keep you riveted and you really cared about the characters. The 'monsters' were vague enough to be frightening and I liked the 'hint' of them throughout the book. The only thing I did not like (hence the 3 star) was the unneeded uttering of H.P. Lovecraft's words. Meilkle could have used his own words and it would have made the entire book a five star. Instead, that cheap shot caused me to roll my eyes and say 'Oh Brother'.
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VINE VOICEon April 24, 2010
"Monster" novels are unlike anything else you will read. They do not follow classic literary structures, they are not written with the intention of teaching, and they are not in depth studies of the human psyche. What they are... is pure unadulterated entertainment; penned to make your mind run wild with creepy images and scare the panties off of fully grown men.

"Island Life" by "William Meikle" was most definitely a "Monster" novel.

Living on an island is supposed to be peaceful, but when the residence of a small Scottish town start disappearing...or better yet, turning up in multiple pieces, rest and relaxation aren't exactly at the top of anyone's list. An archeological dig site suddenly becomes the mouth of hell, fog becomes a blanket of impending doom, and when what residence once thought were nothing but "crazy ramblings from a crotchety old lighthouse keeper" start to make perfect's suddenly to late to listen. What happens when one very pissed off, very hungry spawn of Satan decides to wake up? What is it exactly that he's looking for, and... are those human puppets?

"Meikle" created a fantastic story of monsters vs. humans, but unfortunately during the actual telling of it a few things got in it's way. 1. The chapters that focused on the folklore aspect of the story were a little long, and misplaced. I understand the necessity of these chapters, because they explain the history of the monster, however the sudden appearance of them broke the plot. Here is what I mean... "Meikle" was spinning his web, setting up characters, showing their fear and starting to expand upon their upcoming challenges when BAM! all of a sudden your are 5000 years in the past listening to a story that had relatively no set up, made no sense (at first) and drug on for so long that I almost forgot what I was reading before I was whisked away to another time. I think this entire issue could have been (easily) resolved by adding a chunk of the history into the prologue and then waiting for slower points in the plot to expand upon them (aka...don't interrupt a chase scene.) 2. The character development was impressive (even giving a voice to the dog) but at one point there were so many perspectives in narration that they started to get confusing. It's ok to have multi-narration but it's important to not crowd the plot.

Now... onto the positive side of the boat. The "intended" plot (when it wasn't being abruptly interrupted) was fast paced and expertly written. "Meikle's" visual descriptives left nothing to the imagination painting the reader a very clear (and very horrifying) picture of his creatures as well as the destruction they left in their wake, and like I stated before, his character development was spot on, allowing the reader to not only understand the characters ACTIONS, but to see into their minds and feel their REACTIONS.

All in all... it was a pretty decent tale.

There were blood covered campsites, pointy teeth, slaughtered sheep, tentacles, mysterious blue rocks, men afraid of stairs, and 1 very lost girl on the top of a cliff.

I don't think this book is for everyone, it is a novel that takes an extreme amount of concentration to keep up, but if you like monsters (and really freaked out people) I think you will find it enjoyable.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: fog + dead people = ??? Duh! we should all know this by now. RUN AWAY!
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on October 29, 2011
Despite being a big fan of Meikle, I was disappointed with Island Life. I was really enjoying the book in the beginning, but somewhere around the middle it lost me. I got very bored. They kept sidetracking and not actually doing anything exciting and it eventually loses the reader. There are awkward segues from exciting action to weird interpersonal relationship moments that don't work very well and make the flow inconsistent. The ending was kind of dumb, actually. It changed from a horror novel into spiritual/fantasy-ish, and it didn't work well with the rest of the book. Overall, it is not a bad book, but the story is not very enjoyable and has some problems with flow and some long boring stretches.
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on March 10, 2014
This was an exciting story with a great cast of characters. The writing was good and the characters were likeable. The Island was interesting. The story is about an ancient burial mound that is being explored which unleashes an old evil. The creatures reminded me of a demonic creature from the black lagoon. It is a story of survival. The question is what or who will survive.
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on December 17, 2011
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Fast-paced and exciting, I was drawn to the characters and kept reading to find out what was going to happen. Intensely atmospheric (which I love) and gothic in the respect that the characters are isolated and basically have to fend for themselves (which I always enjoy).

Along with several other reviewers, I was not fond of the flashbacks where the backstory of the monster was revealed and found myself skimming them. Not only did they take me out of the *real* story, they also introduced a note of fantasy into what otherwise would be (unlikely but) *realistic* monsters.

Don't let the lack of a fifth star dissuade you from buying this . I believe five stars should be reserved for truly incredible books and give them out very rarely (I think once). This is an enjoyable, well-written book.
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