Let me start off by saying that I was a bit confused by this book at who this book was being marketed to. I initially thought that this was a YA book and I still think it is directed to that market since Isle of Night is about a 17 year old taken to an island to be trained to be a “watcher.” But as I read through this book, I thought the dark theme and subject matter would be a bit too much for younger readers. The vampires are creepy, the subject matter violent and the environment cruel. So I can honestly say I was a bit thrown off by what I thought I was goint to get and what I actually got with this book.
Annelise Drew has had a hard life, but she is trying to haul herself out of it. A mysterious, handsome male, named Ronan, intercepts her while she is enrolling at university. Ronan convinces her to leave this life and whisks her away to a remote island to start a new life as a watcher. Annelise, or Drew as she prefers, is supposed to be intelligent, but one of the first things she does is to let a stranger get her in a car and then an airplane. This incident annoyed me. Also, we are continually “told” though the book that Drew is highly intelligent, but her actions just didn’t support that for me.
The premise of this book is that only the strong survive the initiation process and get to be a “Watcher.” The initiation training is often violent, malicious, underhanded and torturous. When you fail, you are not merely voted off the island; you mysteriously disappear or are killed/murdered. The Isle of Night is not a happy place; it is regimented, dark, foreboding, and dangerous. Yea, I know it’s a bit like “The Hunger Games,” but that is where the similarity ends. So those are a couple of things that I didn’t like about “Isle of Night.”
So what did I like. I liked Drew’s spirit. Although she has been abused, she still has the strength to change her life to the positive. She’s a bit sarcastic, which is her preferred defense mechanism, but it does lessen as she becomes more comfortable with her surroundings. I also enjoyed her friendships with Emma and Yasou. They are both interesting secondary characters and their support of Drew is a testament to their character. I also adored the cover, which was what initially attracted me to the book.
It was interesting to see Drew get harder, yet softer with her personality through the book. She became cold, clinical and detached when killing, but opened her heart to her friends Emma and Yasou. There is some romance in the book; an odd triangle with Ronan, the tracer that found Drew and brought her to the island and the ancient vampire Alcantara. It looks like Ms. Wolff is going to explore the relationship between Alcantra and Drew in the next book, Vampire’s Kiss, since the ending appears to have been set up that up.
Overall, Isle of Night is an OK read, with some unique plot directions. For that reason, I am going to stretch my rating and give it three stars. I’m curious to see what Ms. Wolff does with the direction of the story, now that the world building is out of the way and Drew has established herself as a potential Watcher candidate.