This is Colin M. Drysdale’s third installment in the For Those in Peril series. We’ve been lucky enough to review each book in the series and to this point we hadn’t been disappointed. When Mr. Drysdale and Pictish Beast Publications offered to send over a complimentary copy for review many months ago we happily agreed. So did the third book in this series live up to our expectations or does this one fall flat like so many other tertiary tales have in the past?
“The third is always the worst.” It may be a bit undeserved but the third offering in many popular series is often scorned. Whether you’re referring to a movie, video game or book, number three is often scoffed at and disregarded. We tried not to come into this review with any bias or preconceived notions. With that in mind, we have to admit this probably isn’t our favorite novel in the trio. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy nearly every page, because we did. It’s sort of like declaring your least favorite pizza or your least favorite super-model.
The Island at the End of the World is penned with the lean, concise storytelling and clean editing we’ve grown to expect from Drysdale’s works. This book does a great job of tying together the stories from the first two novels. I know what you’re probably thinking and you’re wrong. You’ll find no lengthy chapters going over plot points you’ve read in past books. Yes. There is a refresher paragraph thrown in here and there to recap major points but only when necessary. There is no beating a dead horse here. Drysdale deftly weaves together the “For Those in Peril” series without using the need to rehashing old material as a crutch. Many authors in the genre aren’t so adept at summarizing and it can often feel like you’re reading the same material twice.
Any concerns you might have about how well the stories work together should be laid to rest. The different characters and story arcs from the first two books seamlessly flow into this one. Nothing feels forced or out of place and it genuinely seems like Drysdale started out with a purpose way back in the beginning with “For Those in Peril on the Sea.” The novels in this series do a great job of standing on their own. While starting out at the beginning might be the preferred method, you can easily pick up any of the three novels and jump into the series at any point without feeling lost.
Overall we really enjoyed this book. It does a great job of progressing characters and story development from the first two novels. (For those who aren’t familiar check out the links to our reviews of the first two books at the conclusion of our review.) For now, just know these books are essentially post-apocalyptic zombie survival at sea. Drysdale’s use of real world locations and the nautical theme persist here and it is a unique approach we truly appreciate.
The Island at the End of the World radiates a slower , calmer and more hopeful vibe compared to the first two books in this series. The main focus here is on rebuilding, learning to live as a survival community and retaining hope for the future of humanity. This slower pace allows the characters, and the reader, time to acknowledge emotional and social aspects of life the frantic survival pace didn’t allow up to this point. This does lead to some slow points in the storytelling but they are few and far between. There’s still plenty of infected killing, close calls and loss, albeit to a lesser degree. This one doesn’t feel like a big ball of tension and anticipation building to a major final conflict at the conclusion. If that is something you need as a reader you may be disappointed. Instead conflict and tension ebbs and flows throughout until the open ended conclusion where I was left a bit sad, satisfied and hopeful for the future.
We won’t be summarizing any major plot points this time so no worries about spoilers! What we will do is run down a list of what we like, and didn’t like, so much about this book.
- Easy to Read: Mr. Drysdale and his editing team always turn out a finely polished and easy to read finished product. Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and the like are virtually non-existent. That’s not all that common in the zombie or post-apocalyptic fiction genre. We receive many books that could be run past an editor another two or three times.
- Seamless Storytelling: This third installment does a great job of tying together the first two novels. He briefly touches on key points from the first two novels when necessary but he does it briefly without boring fans of the series.
- Can Be Read and Enjoyed On Its Own: While we definitely recommend reading the first two books in this series, you can easily read this one on its own. Reading the first two isn’t necessary but it will definitely enhance your appreciation of characters and certain plot points. You could easily pick up this book and then go back and read the first two if you chose to work backwards.
- Appropriate Length: Our review copy came in just under 300 pages. This falls right in our personal sweet spot. It isn’t too long and it feels just long enough. You could easily bang this out in an afternoon if you like to binge read. On the other hand if you can only squeeze in 10 pages at a time it won’t take you months to get through.
- The Ending: This one leaves us with a soft conclusion. There’s no anxiety inducing cliff hanger that leaves you wanting to tear your hair out. There’s a bit of disappointment, uncertainty and loss at the end but it is balanced with acceptance, serenity and hope. The story doesn’t end up fully resolved but as we turned the last page we were left with an strange feeling of calm satisfaction. There is definitely more story waiting to be told but Drysdale could easily walk away from the series at this point without leaving fans disappointed. In our humble (and worthless) opinion Drysdale made a great decision with the conclusion of The Island at the End of The World. If he continues the series that would be fantastic. If he doesn’t, he leaves the reader in a position where they can feel satisfied and where they can imagine what happens to the characters in the future.
- The Cover: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Mr. Drysdale’s covers are often simple and without gaudy flair. This is actually one of our favorite covers in the series but if you’re a fan of showy covers that the story never lives up to, you’ll be disappointed.
- A Bit Slow at Times: This book is a bit slower and more deliberate than others in the series. It’s partly out of necessity. This story is more about humans coming together and learning how to survive. There’s a lot of planning and rebuilding which not everyone will appreciate. There seemed to be less conflict and violence in this installment which makes sense. There’s still plenty of shooting, head bashing and tension but it all seems to be fewer and further between compared to the first two novels. That being said, the author seems to balance the story well. Just as you feel things may be starting to stall a bit he revs up the plot with some conflict on a supply run for fuel or some other run-in with the infected.
CONCLUSION AND RATING:
4 Out of 5 Brains
Experience the rest of the For Those in Peril series and other books by Colin M. Drysdale:
Read our review of For Those in Peril on the Sea. (Book #1)
Read our review of The Outbreak (Book #2)
Disclaimer: The author or publisher provided us with a review copy of this book in exchange for our honest and unbiased review.