Buddy Reads & Rants: The Forgotten Island (Jonny Pongratz and Iseult Murphy)
Hello Blogging World!
Hello, I’m Iseult, otherwise known as the spider queen.
And I’m Jonny but I don’t like spiders. You may call me Senor Spider Stomper!
This buddy read and rant is for The Forgotten Island by David Sodergren.
When Ana Logan agrees to go on holiday to Thailand with her estranged sister Rachel, she hopes it will be a way for them to reconnect after years of drifting apart. But now, stranded on a seemingly deserted island paradise with no radio and no food, reconciliation becomes a desperate fight for survival.
For when night falls on The Forgotten Island, the dark secrets of the jungle reveal themselves. Something is watching them from the trees.
Something ancient. Something evil.
Combining the cosmic horrors of HP Lovecraft with the grimy sensibilities of the Video Nasties, The Forgotten Island is an outrageous old-school horror novel packed with mayhem and violence.
Jonny is an Amazon affiliate and earn a tiny commission for purchases made through the Amazon links in this post. It’s a great way to help him keep things running on his blog if you’re already intrigued enough to make a purchase.
Buddy Read Book Rant:
This was my first time reading Sodergren. I loved the set up for the novel. The cold opening on a Thai island, combined with that creepy cover, hooked me in from the start.
Did you know much about the story before you started the book?
Thanks for taking a chance on Sodergren friend. This is my second time reading a book from him. Oh, I loved the setup too! Vacation-themed horror is always a lot of fun, and this one gave me vibes of this movie called The Ruins. Honestly, I had no idea what this book would be like, only that it was Sodergren’s first book. It’s always interesting to see where authors start from.
Yes, I got The Ruins vibes too! I didn’t know this was Sodergren’s first book going in, but I’ve heard such great things about his books, I was looking forward to reading it.
I thought Ana and Rachel were very believable sisters. I liked their dynamic and the hints of some trauma in Ana’s past. I can’t say I liked any of the characters though. It was very like a horror movie where I’m looking forward to seeing the obnoxious characters die. How about you, did you like the characters?
We get each other so well. 🙂 Yeah, I think he’s gotten better with time. I first read The Haar and that was a knockout. This one I didn’t like quite as much but I still had a fun time, especially with the vacay vibe. Get me outta Missouri lol!
I really liked the scenery of Thailand. It seems like such a lovely, beautiful place, though I wouldn’t go to a Thai version of Coachella for my life. It’s just not my thing.
Yeah, I did like discovering the trauma between Ana and Rachel and how they resolved things, but I agree with you that I didn’t truly connect with a particular character. If I had to pick a favorite, it was definitely Chakrit, but if I’m being honest it felt like slim pickings. Paul was an awful boyfriend, and the other guys in the lineup didn’t seem much better. I would’ve liked to have some more characters that weren’t awful human beings.
Thailand was a great setting and so well described. You wouldn’t catch me dead at a Full Moon party though! We’d obviously both be running in the opposite direction.
I agree Chakrit was the best, but be didn’t get a lot of character development. At least there was one male who wasn’t a rape monster, but it would have been nice if there had been a few more relatable characters. The characters got a bit boring and repetitive after a while.
The story kept me invested until they left the boat to climb through a scary jungle in the middle of the night. I know the characters were not the most sensible, but the book lost me at that point and further niggles kept me from enjoying the monster mayhem that ends the book.
Was there any point where your suspension of disbelief broke?
Exactly! Huge crowds of people partying hard? I’ll take my books and a glass of wine instead, thank you!
Yeah, he actually had some respectable values worth admiring, but you’re right. Not a lot of development there. If we cared more about the characters, the survival aspect would’ve been more emotional, but it didn’t quite get there.
Oh my gosh, I was annoyed at that too! Like how would that many people who are either drunk or drugged up end up swimming towards a random boat? And the odds of the boat just randomly steering them towards the forgotten island … yeah, I had to suspend a lot of disbelief there. But I will say, once they got to the island I did enjoy the mystery of figuring out what was going on there.
I had such high hopes for the island. I had two questions that kept me reading until the end. One concerned Ana, the other concerned the island, and neither was answered.
The action on the island is well written, but my unanswered questions and a few nitpicks kept me from enjoying it as much as I’d like. For one, how does a naked woman smuggle something in her cleavage? How could Ana see everything so clearly in the jungle and the abandoned buildings when it was night time and she didn’t have a source of light? How was the full moon shining at the same time as the sky was obscured by clouds and torrential rain?
I’ve read a lot of reviews about the mind blowing ending of the novel. I liked the ending, but I expected it to end that way as I thought it was foreshadowed and also pretty obvious for that kind of story. Were you surprised by the ending?
Oh no, I’m sorry you felt that way. I think you bring up some good points. I actually didn’t notice the inconsistencies you pointed out, but that is really annoying! Unless you’re putting something where the sun don’t shine, you can’t really smuggle anything without clothes on.
As for me, the creature feature part of things got me reinvested. It renewed my interest enough to get me excited to figure out what was really going on despite the characters I couldn’t fully connect with. The creature part of things was pretty surprising and had plenty of creepy action that I enjoyed. I definitely won’t be visiting any islands soon, that’s for sure!
Yeah, no, I wasn’t surprised by the ending at all, but as someone who’s seen hundreds of horror movies and consistently reads horror, it’s gonna take a lot to surprise me. For me, I was just weighing whether it would be a good or bad ending.
Haha! Good point!
Yes, I can see how the creature feature got you reinvested. I wish I could have got into it, but I’d been looking forward to it arriving after the enticing opening, and it just didn’t live up to my expectations. It also annoyed me that spiders kept being referred to as insects (they’re not, they’re arachnids), but I know that probably only bothered me.
Yes, it’s hard to surprise a horror fan! Good point. I thought it was a good ending. I don’t mind knowing how something is going to end if the journey makes sense and the resolution is satisfactory. I thought the ending fit in with that had gone before and it certainly met my genre expectations.
Has this book made you reconsider our vacation plans to Thailand? I know what you mean about islands. Perhaps we should visit Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula instead. I hear the plant life is to die for.
Lol not to get gross or anything. Oops, too late!
I think mainly it’s because I consider spiders super creepy. I just had to know what those little bastards were up to and wanted to see them all burn. They’re so evil! Oh I didn’t catch that either. Yeah, spiders aren’t insects, that’s a mistake, though I do lump them into the bug category.
Yeah, ending was kind of to be expected from horror lovers like us, though I did enjoy thinking on what probably happened after the end. Made me giggle a little.
Haha! I already don’t like the ocean, but after this book I’m not going anywhere near islands for a while! Ooo yes, lets check out the plants. I’m especially interested in the plants they make tequila from!
Mexico it is! I look forward to our investigations into Agave. Now I want to write a story about the moth larvae in tequila bottles!
Thank you for another fun read and rant. I love our buddy reads, and this was a fun journey into vacation horror.
Oh, that’s a great idea. Mutated moth larvae and what happens when people eat them with tequila! I’m in!
No problem friend. Thanks for having an open mind with books and being so gracious when grad school derails all my best laid plans. Can’t wait for the next one!
Yay! I love it.
You’re welcome, Bestie. Looking forward to it. 😊
That’s A Wrap!
Thanks for joining us on our buddy read and rant of The Forgotten Island! We had a lot of fun, and hope you did too! We will definitely be doing some more buddy reads in the future, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, why not check out Iseult and Jonny’s other fun buddy reads?
Buddy Read & Rant: Stolen Tongues
Buddy Read & Rant: Parachute
Buddy Read & Rant: A Door Into Evermoor
Buddy Read & Rant: The Haunting of Trinity House
Buddy Read & Rant: Dark Waters
Buddy Read & Rant: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Buddy Read & Rant: Until Summer Comes Around
Buddy Read & Rant: The Upheaval
Buddy Read & Rant: Thornhill
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This was great fun. Thanks, Jonny. 😊
You’re always welcome, bestie!