Friday, November 10, 2017

An island I wouldn't want to visit

Return to Q Island

Russell James


Publisher: MLG Publishing

Pub Date:  September 5, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Return to Q Island is the sequel to Russell James' excellent horror/disaster novel Q Island. I was surprised to find a sequel was written because the first book was fairly tight and conclusive in the story it told. Yet here we are and it's quite a good sequel, in many ways better than the first. But more importantly, you do not need to read the first to enjoy the second. Once the setting is rehashed we begin with anew protagonist and a new setting. Return to Q Island can be easily read as a stand-alone book.

So what is the setting? A ancient and vicious virus has ravaged Long Island, New York turning people into violent creatures . Their bite, and the spores that explode from their corpses once they are killed, can infect others. The government has quarantined the entire island, hence the nickname Q Island, leaving even the uninfected to survive on their own. Barely recovering addict Kim Mitchell, along with her alcoholic mother Nicole and her selfish uncle are one such family huddling in a shell of a town trying to survive. Kim is pregnant and about to give birth to her child not knowing if it will be normal or, as they call the infected, Paleo. Kim's brother Patrick is in Connecticut and has not had contact with his sister and mother for months. He decides he will return to Long Island and attempt to find his family even if it means he too will be stranded with no way to get back to the mainland

Return to Q Island is horror of the post-apocalyptic science fiction type. But mostly I see it as an adventure novel. The excitement of the read is in Patrick's attempt to rescue his family which leads to plenty of harrowing incidents and terrifying discoveries. There is also the clear hint that the Paleos may be changing and Kim's new child may have something to do with it.

As seen with Q Island and the recent Cavern of the Damned. Russell James' forte is the horror adventure novel. This book is a pretty damn good example of it. There is the tense feel of an epidemic/apocalyptic novel and it never really lets up on the horror of the situation. Patrick starts out naive but weathers through some nightmare occurrences and comes out as the unexpected heroic type. Kim does not start out promising but motherhood seems to agree with her and she become an essential character as the plot develops. There are also the expected villains, some of them maybe being a bit too stereotypical. The book's main strength is its creativity once we get past our strong heroes and cookie-cutter villains. What may sound like a zombie novel by any other name takes a few turns here and there and stays original and interesting

Overall, Return to Q Island is a nice addition to the apocalyptic and...dare I say it?... zombie sub-genre. Highly recommended to those who like daring deeds and post-apocalyptic style adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment