Customer Reviews: Island 731
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on March 27, 2013
I have been a long time fan of Jeremy Robinson's novels. I read and loved 'Antarktos Rising' and 'Beneath' back when they were first published. Yet his new novel, 'Island 731', showcases just how far his writing has come since then.

'Island 731' starts with a bang and doesn't lay off the throttle for the remainder of the book. This book is a nonstop blend of action, suspense, horror and real-life science. I was constantly checking Google to see if what he was describing was actually based on fact - and over and over, I was shocked to find it was (for example, the number '731' refers to an actual Japanese operation in WWII - look it up!).

Mark Hawkins, a former tracker in Yellowstone, becomes shipwrecked on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. As he and the crew begin to explore the island, they uncover hideous experiments left over from a Japanese Research Base from WWII. Yet all is not as it seems on this island and the twist at the end is spectacular.

Jeremy Robinson has invented a tropical paradise in 'Island 731' - yet a paradise with a sinister past. Robinson has conceived some fantastic creatures, described with perfect detail, that will give you goose bumps, again and again. One scene late in the novel, when the BFSs are introduced, is one of the most suspenseful scenes I've read in a long time.

A great new character has also been introduced in 'Island 731'. The ending was set up in a way that almost guarantees a sequel. Who knows?! Maybe Mark Hawkins can team up with Jack Sigler in the future!
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VINE VOICEon April 7, 2013
The crew of the research ship, Magellan is out in the Great Pacific. They are researching the Garbage Patch. While there they come across a huge sea turtle. The turtle is dead. They bring it onto the ship. There they discover that the turtle has a deformity. Only it seems that the deformity was human induced. Before they can fully understand the extent of this discovery, the ship and the crew are washed overboard due to a storm.

They awake to discover to one of the crew members is missing. A search party forms to find the missing crew member. The group gets more then they bargained for when they come upon the inhabitants of the island.

I can officially say that I am a fan of Mr. Robinson! This book by far exceeded my expectations. This is saying something huge too. I knew what to expect from Mr. Robinson having read SecondWorld. Which by the way I also loved. Only this book just became my new favorite of Mr. Robinson.

It was creepy in a sci-fi sort of way but also there was lots of drama to keep me intrigued. Also, all of the characters were great, even the bad guys. I could definitely see this book being made into a movie on the big screen. I could not stop reading this book. The further I got into the book, the more intense it got. I got the imagines of the experiments in my mind. Lets just say that I am glad I never have to worry about meeting any of the experiments. I can not wait to read Mr. Robinson's next book. Island 731 is an absolute, must read book. I am calling it now and it is one of the best books of 2013!
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on May 18, 2013
I started reading Jeremy Robinson with books like Antarktos Rising and Kronos. I thought they were pretty interesting, but then came the Chess Team novels and they were great. With the Chess Team novellas Robinson completely redefined what a novella is supposed to be. And SecondWorld and Project Nemesis were even better. All this to let you know that I started in Island 731 with pretty high expectations... But even I wasn't prepared for this!! Island 731 is all you could hope for if you like excitement, monsters and science gone haywire. The story reminded me a bit of the Deadworld novels by Harry Harrison that I read as a teenager. Or more recently, of Warren Fahy's Fragment. But Island 731 is in a class of its own. The characters are great, the action just never stops, the humor is a blast and reading the book is like watching an extremely well-made B-monster movie. This book just grabs you by the throat and never lets go! Clearly, Robinson is getting better with every new novel he turns out and I can't want to get my hands on the next one.

A side note for book lovers: although I love to touch and hold physical books, I'm slowly switching to reading ebooks, if only because I'm running out of space... But Jeremy Robinson's books are made with a great love for books and that shows! The covers are gorgeous, the paper is of very fine quality and that only enhances the whole reading experience. Which is why for a lot of authors I've switched from hardcovers to paperbacks to ebooks. But with Robinson, I found myself switching to hardcovers because I just wanted to hold and own the physical book and didn't want to wait for a paperback.

So, if you've never read Jeremy Robinson, do yourself a favor and give one of his books a try. Island 731 would be a very fine introduction indeed!!
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on April 5, 2016
I purchased based on the multitude of positive reviews on Amazon and was disappointed at how amateurish this novel turned out to be. I love sci-fi and the new weird fiction, and this seemed a good blend of the two at first glance. It is unfortunately just a poor retelling of "The Island of Doctor Moreau", with some poorly written cinematic-style scenes and every bad horror trope thrown in for good measure. We had some Jaws in there, a fair amount of Alien, Jurassic Park, Congo, X-Files, etc etc etc.

The characters are about as 2-D as you'd expect: A ranger, nicknamed "Ranger" (sigh) who was taught by an Indian scout; A smart, plucky, cute Biologist Lady as the love-interest; The Writer From Bahstahn (That's Boston, hurr hurr!) who happens to know all about the backstory from a book he's researching; and Some Other Dumb Archetypes like The Kid, The Coward, The Engineer, and The Captain. Oh and the Villians, who are the next generation of Mad Scientists modeled on Dr. Mengele and the Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Military.

Besides the awful character non-development, hackneyed plot and butchered retelling of an HG Wells classic, the characters perform all the hokey self-inflicted idiocies of bad horror films: Miss their shots, drop their keys/ammo/guns, take stupid routes through dangerous areas, repeatedly split up (The hero always insists on going alone, everywhere, and makes some of the worst decisions in horror history, against his outdoorsman heroic background type) and generally drop about 500 collective IQ points while the monsters that populate the island are just ridiculously omniscient and super-powered through the dumbest non-science in a science-fictiony world I've ever read. Might as well be magic. Oh and every character can and will slip on a banana peel if it lands them inches away from the beakmouth of a croco-squid.

If this is how the rest of the author's works go, I'd say there's some crazy grade inflation going on his reviews, and leave it at that.

I won't be reading anything by this author, ever again.
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on April 7, 2013
Jeremy Robinson is one of the rare writers that can successfully combine action thriller with sci-fi and fantasy. If anyone recalls, the first Clive Cussler book had a character that had gills and could breath underwater. This was the only book were he went there, and now writes pretty much straight up thrillers.

In Island 731, Jeremy combines action, history and sci-fi into a non-stop thrill ride. Lots of fun to read.

Hoping for another Chess Team novel soon!
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on April 3, 2013
Jeremy Robinson has not let me down once again with ISLAND 731. Great characters and plot combine with some interesting creatures to form one fun reading experience. I really enjoyed reading about all the different chimera creatures and how the characters had to deal with them. There was a lot of thought that went into this story.

The whole story from beginning to end kept me entertained and the ending was perfect. I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to this book sometime in the future.

Overall a great book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes action stories with unnatural creatures in them.
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on October 19, 2015
This book is officially listed as book zero in author Jeremy Robinson's Project Nemesis series of books. But it is also a stand alone tale in and of itself, so you really don't need to read any of the the other Nemesis books to enjoy this one as it features none of that series initial characters and back drops.

But on to the story itself. It begins with one Matt Hawkin, a former Park Ranger who quit because of an incident where he for got to respect nature, is part of a high seas scientific expedition in what is effectively a floating garbage dump, as it's crew tries to find evidence to show the environmental and biological effects such an environment is having. All is normal until a sudden storm as they lose a shipmate mysteriously and one dies and find themselves pretty much marooned on a uncharted island. But it's soon evident that they are not alone on this island as some strange thing none can readily identify takes the dead body and another crew member later. Matt and his friends soon learn more about the island and it's connection to a Japanese project the specialized in horrible experiments during WW2.

The story itself is pretty entertaining. it was very suspenseful and had a couple of twists that I didn't see coming. always a good thing. all of the characters are pretty well defined and the heroes are quite likable. The descriptions of the various creatures on the island were very thorough and helped with the picturing in my head. It did make me see what was coming next. Of course, if you're like me and didn't realize this was a prequel and read the official second book in the series (Project: Maigo) and you know the fate of at least one of the characters before hand. But despite that there was still enough going on I wanted to see what was coming next. so a good job there. There are a couple of cliffhangers at the end, well maybe one and a half since one of them, a cat girl named Lily laid some eggs. But the full one in that is being covered in the third book Project: 731.

It's a good book It's part of a connected universe but it is a stand alone as I said. I would recommend.
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on April 21, 2013
Yet again, Robinson - already one of the greatest authors currently writing - outdoes even himself.

We open in WWII, where we get a sense of what is to transpire throughout the book. After the opener, we find ourselves in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch aboard the Magellan... about to be eaten by a shark!

It never really lets up from there, though when the crew of the Magellan finds a pillbox inscribed with "731", anyone who has heard of the real-life Unit 731 of the Empire of Japan during WWII automatically has a skin-crawl moment.

Robinson has written of chimeras before, but never before has he based a story around such an atrocious real world event - and he even gives a real world history lesson during the course of the book.

Just when you think the book is winding down and all the monsters are revealed, you get a plot twist you never see coming. Then the surprises are over, right? Not at all. Indeed, Robinson keeps them coming right until the very last word of this masterpiece.

If you've never read Jeremy before, pick this up - you won't be disappointed.
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on August 8, 2014
I've recently been undergoing a personal renaissance with horror entertainment. Whether it be through movies, books, or videogames, horror has become a genre that has greatly captured my interest. Island 731 managed to scratch this itch of mine while never relying too much on the trappings of the genre. The book is a superb amalgamation of surrealist horror, with a strong dose of adventure and excitement that pulls the reader in from start to finish. In short, Robinson has created a book that will surely appeal to readers who are looking for either a compelling horror story, or an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Either way you choose to look at it, Island 731 really delivers on just about all fronts.

A large part of horror's general appeal has to do with unanswered questions. Where are we? What happened here? What is that thing, and how do we kill it before it kills us? Questions such as these have continuously galvanized fans of horror, and most recently myself, ones which Robinson does an exceptional job at implementing in Island 731's tantalizing narrative. This is complemented greatly by Robinson's exceptional world-building, making the fictional island depicted by Robinson's dark imagination into a character itself. There's an immediate sense of danger and foreboding towards the unknown the minute the characters set foot on the island's shores; a sensation which Robinson maintains and continuously develops as the crew makes further headway into the island's, as well as discovering the horrific past of the island itself, which I found particularly fascinating and very satisfying to see come full circle at the book's climax.

As far as characters go, Island 731 succeeds at illustrating a likable cast of characters, yet there was still room to trim some of the fat off the edges. The protagonist Hawkins is an excellent lead for several reasons. For starters, he embodies an Everyman persona who has been thrown into a terrifying, and seemingly hopeless situation; making him an ideal character which the reader can easily relate to on a personal level. Due to being a former park ranger, Hawkins also possesses the necessary skillset to give himself, and his companions a believable chance at surviving the ordeal. Fortunately, Robinson balances Hawkins perfectly so that his past experiences never offset the book's ongoing sense of vulnerability. It was also interesting to witness a character that has spent his entire life learning to attune with nature, thrown into an environment where nature itself has been perverted in such a horrifyingly grotesque manner.

The supporting characters are solid and help created a strong group dynamic that further invests the reader into the story. After all, the horrors of the island are much more gut-wrenching when they're being inflicted upon characters you've come to care for. Bray fulfills the likable, albeit somewhat cliché best-friend archetype. Joliet, and the romance that sparks between Hawkins and herself are equally cliché, yet it once again reinforces the desire to see these characters make it out alive. It isn't the characters themselves that are particularly memorable, but rather the way they help reinforce the horror motifs of the story. The reader doesn't necessarily bond with them due to their personality, but rather through the horrific ordeals they endure; an excellent synergy of characterization and horror entertainment. The only area where Island 731 stumbles slightly is with the minor characters, many of which feel like nothing more than a collective group of red-shirts just waiting to be killed off in gruesome displays of the island's brutality. I would often forget which name or characterization belonged to whom, making a lot of the deaths not quite as shocking as intended. Yet, there is still enough solid characterization and world-building to keep the reader invested from start to finish. However, I feel the book could have been even greater if Robinson didn't focus solely on Hawkins's point-of-view, and instead illustrated the story from the various perspectives of the crew, offering different insights into the island itself through a differing perspective, and as a means to further develops the characters by analyzing their unique idiosyncrasies and thoughts on a more personal level.

In terms of length, Island 731 is quite short. However, I feel this is how horror should be approached in any medium of entertainment. It doesn't overstay its welcome to the point where the island begins to lose its sense of terror and mystery. The book also uses the short-chapter format to great effect, guaranteeing that you'll be pressured greatly to read just one more chapter before going to bed. As my first foray into Robinson's repertoire, I've come away impressed with what he has to offer. He combines elements of horror and adventure with solid characterization and enough world-building to keep the reader invested in Robinson's mythos from front to end. I feel this is a great example of his talent and look forward to seeing what else he has to offer.
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on May 22, 2013
Thank goodness my children are old enough to feed themselves, because I could NOT put this book down.

Once again, Jeremy Robinson delivers likeable characters with strong personalities that engage the reader. One thing I've noticed in all of Jeremy's books is that the women have a nice balance of femininity and strength - something that a lot of authors don't quite get right.

Mysterious islands, creepy monsters, the best of humanity engaged against the worst of humanity, the opportunity of a sequel? Nothing else sounds better!

There is everything in this book. Jeremy's force of loyal readers will love this classic Robinson tome, and new readers will love the chance to delve into something exciting and new.

Keep 'em coming, Jeremy!
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