Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Island of Icarus, by Christine Danse

Content warning: This is an adult novel, and may not be suitable for younger readers.

Title: Island of Icarus
Author: Christine Danse
Publisher: Carina Press
Released: out now!
Source: review copy via NetGalley

Description from publisher website:
Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893

En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.

Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career...

My thoughts: I'll be honest - I was disappointed with this story. Two men on a desert island making interesting clockwork things while they fall in love - it sounded interesting. The story starts with Jonathan describing how he was pushed into taking a sabbatical from the university where he was working. Although I liked knowing how he got to the island, I found myself skimming over the first two chapters, until he was shipwrecked.

I feel like the story went too slowly - I was often scanning over pages, waiting for something more interesting to happen. I think some of it might have been the way the story was told - it's all written as Jonathan's diary, and takes place in the 1890s, so is very... staid, in the way Jonathan writes. The time period was something else that bugged me, for different reasons. I'll admit I don't read much historical romance, but I think some points are fairly consistently agreed on, and a couple of the things Jonathan describes as having happened just don't seem likely to have happened.

He also seems to adjust very quickly and easily to the idea of being attracted to a man, and this man being attracted to him. To me, it just didn't feel very realistic, and it was the little things like that that kept pulling me out of the story.

I did like Marcus's inventions - they were very interesting. It wasn't a boring story, or too unbelievable, it just felt very 'meh' to me. I'd love to hear other people's opinions on this book if you have read it - what did you like/dislike? Have you read anything else by Christine Danse? What did you think of that?

Overall, I give Island of Icarus 5 out of 10.



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