Island Games: Mystery of the Four quadrants, by Caleb J. Boyer can best be described as a magical adventure story with a few moral lessons thrown in to boot. While reading I was reminded by the movie “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)”, though somewhat more basic in terms of complexity.
It is a light, easy read, with an overall joyous tone – something one could easily pick up and read on a lazy Sunday. The plot is sufficiently gripping, if a little predictable at times, to urge the reader to continue the journey with the lead characters. It flows easily and progresses quickly, while maintaining just enough suspense and mystery to keep one wondering about how the end will turn out.
Character development is also good, and I soon became involved with the relational dynamics between the two main characters. Motivation for their actions is also sprinkled throughout just barely enough to give proper context, without detracting from the flow of the main plot at all.
One point of contention I found was that the dialogue, at times, seemed a little bit unnatural, forced, and convoluted, especially in the beginning of the book. Often, I would find myself questioning if a real person of the characters’ age and gender would really speak so many words at once, in that way, in the specific situation described. This seemed to pull me back somewhat from fully engaging with the plot from the beginning. I will add, however, that this seemed less noticeable as the story progressed, or maybe it was simply I that became more engrossed in the progression.
Events also seemed a little too predictable, as I often found myself expecting a certain event to happen, only for my expectation to be fulfilled in the very next few paragraphs. While this does add to the light-hearted feel and comfortable reading nature, I would’ve liked a bit more variety, surprise, and real mystery.
I personally did enjoy the Author’s Note at the end of the book, which painted the entire book in a different light for me and went a long way to re-qualifying its shortcomings from noticeable to negligible.
Overall, I give Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants 3 out of 4 stars and call it a recommended read for anyone looking for light-hearted entertainment, and a little food for thought upon laying it down afterward. Add in a little more of the unexpected, a little more variation, perhaps a little more drama and intensity, while pruning the dialogue a bit, and it easily deserves an excellent 4 stars.
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