Please don’t read this review unless you have read “On The Island” first as there will be spoilers to that book. (A review of “On The Island” can be found here.)
Tracey Garvis Graves – and Anna and T.J. – return in this companion novella to the New York Times bestseller On the Island
When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.
Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl – on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James – made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.
But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.
And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.
Uncharted includes an early look at Covet, coming September 2013.
I was introduced to “On The Island” by my friend Jana from the “That Artsy Reader Girl” blog in mid-2012 as a book to push me out of my reading comfort zone. It was an addictive read and ranked within my Top Ten reads for 2012. One thought struck me at the book’s conclusion though, “What happened after Anna and T.J. got back into normal life?”
Whilst this novella doesn’t give a blow-by-blow account of what happened to Anna and T.J., it does give a sense of conclusion to the original book, whilst also serving as a prequel, of sorts.
The novella is written primarily from the point of view of a newly introduced character, Owen Sparks, who has decided to give up his life in California to live on THE Island from the original book for reasons that become apparent as the story progresses. Initially, he decides to live on his own, albeit with the help of deliveries and regular transport back to civilisation from a chartered seaplane captain.
On one of these trips back, he meets an English woman called Caila and her brother James who join him on the island. This is when the action really gets going as the trio face similar challenges to Anna and T.J., albeit with the knowledge of back-up, which culminates in an incident that not only affects Owen, but Anna and T.J. as well.
The book is split into four “parts” – Owen’s visit to Anna and T.J. following the events of “On The Island”, his story of when he lived on his own on the island – including Journal entries, his story once Caila and James joined him, and then a return to his visit to Anna and T.J.
Despite the book being written primarily from Owen’s point of view, Anna and T.J. figure large in the story, not only in the chapters which are written from their respective points of view, but from Owen’s descriptions of their lifestyle and the parallels between his story in this novella and Anna and T.J’s from the original book.
Although the first part of the story that Owen recounts is purely of his desire to live on the island on his own along with interactions with the seaplane captain and some excerpts where he talks about his return journeys to regular life, this part isn’t boring as the author gives insight into his day-to-day life and the challenges he faces along with not telling us who Owen is straight away and peeling back his pre-Island story like layers on an onion.
The second part of his Island story is where the romantic element kicks in as Owen meets Caila. As with the original novel, it isn’t simply a case of Owen and Caila having an instant physical relationship – although there is a sexual chemistry written between them, partly down to the fact that her brother joins the party and partly down to the fact that Ms Garvis-Graves builds the emotional stakes gradually, albeit on a more compressed level than was written for Anna and T.J. as this is a shorter novella, with the eventual admission of their attraction being plausible.
As with “On The Island”, scenes of a sexual nature are described, but as with original book these are not gratuitous or dwelt upon and are written with a maturity which compliments the original novel.
Suffice it to say, as with the original book, I don’t want to give away any major spoilers, but the story from this book nicely dovetails into “On The Island” whilst providing a sense of closure to that novel and building upon two well-loved characters.
If you’ve read “On The Island”, please make it your mission to read “Uncharted”.