Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff has been pitched as a cross between the Vampire Academy and Hunger Games series. I do think that is somewhat fitting – an original vampire community mixed with students fighting to the death for the chance to partner with them. (Also fitting is the fact that the cover reminds me of the craptastic first Vampire Academy covers.) However – if you pick up the book with that comparison in mind, you’ll ultimately be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Through a (slightly unbelievable) set of circumstances, Annelise ends up on a remote island to attend school with other girls to compete for her chance to be a Watcher (a human girl who partners up with a vampire to help them on “missions”). Another way of saying this would basically be that she pathetically – and weirdly – follows a hot guy onto an airplane when he asks her to, having no idea where he was taking her. Huh. Both crazy and ridiculously not smart. But, let us try to put that aside to get on with the story…
The path to become a Watcher is not an easy one – it isn’t exactly the Hunger Games fight to the death style, at least not directly. Plenty of blood flying and death occur anyway though, so don’t be disappointed (that statement makes me sound like a serial killer doesn’t it?). I think the plot was a very promising and intriguing one, I’m just not sure about the actual execution. This book – the entire way through – felt like a lot of set-up. I know it’s the first book of a series, but I still felt like things never really got off the ground. Still – ultimately I think the plot could still be considered promising. Who knows where the next book could lead?
The biggest let-down for me was the characterization. I closed the book not caring about anyone. Annelise seemed to bend however necessary to fit the plot more than follow a specific character pattern. I hate that. I was also less than impressed with her love interests (*sigh* yet another love triangle). Both guys are hot. That is about all the description we get. No build up, not enough interactions, just insta-love.
So, while I thought Isle of Night sounded very intriguing and the synopsis had me really excited to pick it up, I found the execution extremely disappointing. I wouldn’t mind seeing what happens next in the series plot-wise, but I doubt I’ll be picking the next book up since I don’t have any investment in the characters.