The Island Review: An Indie Gem That Shouldn’t Be Missed!

October 17, 2016 by Aila J. | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

The Island Review: An Indie Gem That Shouldn’t Be Missed!The Island by S. Usher Evans
Series: Madion War Trilogy
Published by Sun's Golden Ray Publishing on April 26th 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, War & Military, Young Adult
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Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath.

I’m so glad I decided to pick this book up! The plot really kept me on my toes, and the characters were such a delight to read about. For me, the characters of a story are what makes or breaks the book, and the ones in this book were just fantabulous. Written in alternating first person POV’s, The Island brings two characters on opposing sides of a war together on an abandoned island. Sounds like a fun background for some potential character growth and scorching romance already, right?

We first start the book out from Captain Theo’s POV, whose country Rave is currently fighting against Kylae for their independence. She’s a very determined and willful main character who’s been through hard times. It’s war, and she’s been on the front lines. Because of that, she keeps a distance from the rest of her team members as a defense mechanism against the sadness and grief that could be caused from their deaths. I found her ability to think and survive under dire situations really admirable. Theo’s ability to use her resources and sharp wit made her an easy-to-like character.

And to save my own heart, I’d stopped learning their stories, stopped learning their names – I even stopped looking at their faces. It didn’t matter though; the pain was the same.

On the other side of the Madion Sea, we have Prince Galian, who is advertised as a playboy prince with no responsibilities. It only goes to show that you can’t trust everything on the media, as Theo discovers as she gets to know him. Galian is so much more than an easygoing, spoiled prince. Sure, he has an optimistic view of the world – probably a product of his sheltered life. But that optimism is what keeps him going, and in this case as a doctor. He studied to heal people, and overall his character was just really sweet and caring. It’s a nice contrast against Theo’s more world-wary perspective of the war and provides interesting discussions about it as they start opening to each other on the island.

‘While we’re on the island, the only war is between us and the elements,’ I said, looking down at her. ‘And I need you on my side, Theo. And you need me on yours.’

So Galian is forced into battle by his father the King, who usually gets what he wants. That’s when Theo shoots him down and her ship goes awry, which makes her stranded on the same island he is on. Their relationship is quite antagonistic in the beginning, as each has preconceived notions about the other from the prejudices that stem from the war. But once they get to know each other, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Theo starts to appreciate Galian’s optimism and caring nature while Galian admires Theo’s resiliency against the life that she had. The progression of their romance was quite well-done, and in my opinion it wasn’t too fast or too slow. I like how their relationship is based on respect for one another, and that bodes well for the future.


Well… if only the future weren’t so meek. The next book in the series is titled The Chasm, so I can only guess what’ll be between the characters… The slight cliffhanger in this book makes me quite excited to see where the author takes us in the sequel though!

Something that didn’t deter me from my reading but left me a bit disgruntled looking back is the lack of world-building in this book. It’s categorized as “Fantasy” in Goodreads and has a map in the beginning to show the unique world. However, there were limited descriptions of the world (other than the brief history on how the Madion War started and politics), which made me confused at times. The technology is similar to modern time in our world (I mean, they do use planes to fight and all, as well as social media), but it just felt a bit disjointed and I feel like that could be fixed if we knew more of the world.


World-building really aids in immersion of a book for me personally, so I deducted half a star because the lack of it in this story made me scratch my head sometimes. But the endearing characters and political intrigue was enough to keep me interested in the story itself, which is why I up-rated it to 4 stars on the Goodreads. I really do think that readers will enjoy Theo and Galian’s fun dialogue, as well as the heart-to-heart conversations they have that really bring insight to their characters. It has definitely convinced me to try out the rest of the author’s numerous works!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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18 responses to “The Island Review: An Indie Gem That Shouldn’t Be Missed!

    • It really does! I finished the second and third books of the trilogy and they were SUPERB. The character development and exploration of the world was super awesome, and the romance was just super swoony. 🙂

  1. deathbytsundoku

    Great review! I'm glad to see more Indie books being reviewed– We need to help those authors out as much as we can! There is a lot about The Island which reminds me of These Broken Stars, but I bet things happen very differently in this book. Particularly the lack of worldbuilding– but this sounds much more intriguing! I can't wait to read it. Thanks, Aila!

    • Oh yeah, it's definitely pretty different from TBS. The sci-fi/fantasy genre contrast is a big one, and I think the characters have way more animosity in this one than Lilac/Tarver. 🙂 Nevertheless, it's still a great and unique read on its own!

      It's definitely great to shine some light on indie books!

    • YES, I live for those indie books that are such a pleasant surprise! I often find myself browsing for those on Amazon because you never know what you can find 🙂

  2. Awwww the antagonistic romance into love is my favourite! I love hearing about how it evolved slowly. Galian sounds like such a fun character, especially in contrast with Theo. Lack of world building in fantasy always leaves me a bit salty. I'm glad that you enjoyed it though Aila!

    • Thanks Jeann! I still hope people pick this one up because it's definitely a trilogy worth reading. Plus the characters are so easy to love!

  3. Becca

    Romance on an island during war?? The premise sounds really intriguing! A bit of a bummer about the world building, but it sounds like it didn't fully pull you out of the story, so I'll probably give this one a try based on your review! 🙂
    My recent post TTT: Bookish names I yell at my car

    • Thanks Nick! And yeah, I felt a little put-off because of the lack of world-building but it definitely gets better as the series continues! And the romance was soooo sweet. 🙂

    • It's definitely worth the read! I adored the second and third books (especially the third! omg!) of this series and am eagerly anticipating her new releases. 🙂

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