Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Review: The Island by Ragnar Jonasson

Title: The Island
Author: Ragnar Jonasson
Series: Hidden Iceland
Published: May 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

Elliðaey is an isolated island off the coast of Iceland. It is has a beautiful, unforgiving terrain and is an easy place to vanish.

The Island is the second thrilling book in Ragnar Jonasson's Hidden Iceland trilogy. This time Hulda is at the peak of her career and is sent to investigate what happened on Elliðaey after a group of friends visited but one failed to return.

Could this have links to the disappearance of a couple ten years previously out on the Westfjords? Is there a killer stalking these barren outposts?

Written with Ragnar's haunting and suspenseful prose The Island follows Hulda's journey to uncover the island's secrets and find the truth hidden in its darkest shadows.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Ragnar Jonasson's Hidden Iceland series and I am so intrigued by the way this series is written - in reverse order! I loved the first book, The Darkness and this is a fantastic follow-up...and now I'm bummed that we have to wait for the next book to be released...I hate that waiting, but this series is so good that I will wait as long as it takes.

This book takes place ten years earlier than The Darkness, so we see Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir at the top of her career. I loved how we see this after reading about her at the end of her career in the prior book. I know I say this a lot, but in this case, I firmly believe this series NEEDS to be read in order...there's a reason Ragnar is writing this series the way he is and I think to read it out of order would do you as the reader a big injustice. 

The case that Hulda gets involved in involves a suspicious death on a small island - think locked door mystery - and as she questions the remaining friends, all she finds is more questions rather than any answers. Through her digging, it comes up that another death happened on that island 10 years prior - a death that has meaning to this group.

I loved that this book is not a fast-paced thriller, but rather an intricately plotted mystery. There's an equal balance of case work and character development on Hulda's side. We learn that not only has she recently lost her daughter and husband, but also her mother and this has prompted her to go find her biological father. Again, if you've read the first book in this series, you know these deaths still haunt Hulda later in her life.

Once I started reading this book, I had a hard time putting it down. It's so atmospheric and the setting once again is such an integral part of the story. The use of the island is so isolated and you feel that sense of claustrophobia that only heightens the tension. 

I cannot wait to see how this trilogy wraps up. Reading about Hulda from her later years and then following her life backwards is certainly a unique concept, yet it allows us to become more aware of why she is the way she is. What formed her and made her become the person she ultimately became later in life. 

Books in this series: 
  1. The Darkness
  2. The Island
  3. The Mist - due out 2020

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