The Island - Part 1

Rated 4.56/5 based on 16 reviews
The Fever struck hard and fast, rising out of the slums and claiming victim after victim.
William Hill knew his chances of avoiding the virus sat squarely between slim and none. His one option seemed to be not if, but where he would die. The island had been one of the last and best times with his father. It seemed as good a place as any to die.

He just didn’t realize how good. More
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Words: 31,050
Language: English
ISBN: 9781476173290
About Michael R Stark

Trying to figure out when I started writing is like trying to decide when I started walking. The stories have always been there, rummaging around in my mind. Some went on paper. Most didn’t. I wrote my first novel when I was 22. Thankfully, I left it to the dustbin of history where it shall always remain.

Imagine the grin, yes, it was that bad.

As for influences on my latest story, The Island, that one has been up there banging away in my head for a long time. Parts of it were told at bedtime. Though honestly, those who heard the parts wouldn't recognize them in the story. By the time we get to the second book in this series, they will find some recognizable moments. They'll also probably be upset that the adventure turned into something of a horror story.

Ahh, well, most of them are old enough now to read it for what it is.

I grew up in North Carolina, which is why part of the story is set there. I’ve been to exotic parts of the world, many countries, and most states. None of them I know as well as the one I called home for most of my life. It makes it easy to write about it, and the people in it.

I hope you enjoy the stories.


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Review by: vagen39 on July 12, 2015 :
This whole series was very well written and the character development was well done. Was hard to put down and I never once thought that I would not finish the series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Mark Sloan on Dec. 08, 2014 :
This was hard to put down. The character development is wonderful, leading to a wonderful plot. I've read the first three, and will finish them all. Well done.
(review of free book)

Review by: Mary Blackwell on June 14, 2014 :
Overall I have enjoyed reading the first three books and sadly cannot continue through to the others due to personal circumstances. That said, I found the story to be really interesting and different from the usual 'end of the world' story. The main reason I am drawn to this genre is to see how people think and respond to the unknown and unexpected and Michael Stark is good at writing people ... believable characters whose individual idiosyncrasies mean they respond to circumstances in their own ways and of course the 'hero' does not know why unless they explain themselves.

I can see what Tracey (first reviewer) means about the pace and the large descriptive elements, but I disagree with her ... this may be due to having read the first three books. This is an epic story told on a huge scale so the first book is really the first fifth of the story and when taken into account the fact that the action that takes place is not the main bulk of book one is understandable.

All in all, a great read which I enjoyed.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jessica Rachel Mullaney on June 04, 2014 :
Great read. This was very insightful into the thought process behind grieving for one's beloved parent and the regrets and guilt for one's failure to make the most out of a parent's remaining time, all rolled into an apocalyptic nightmare.
(review of free book)

Review by: Riley Hale on May 09, 2014 :
Not going to lie, it's a good read. Wish more happened, but I guess that is also your way of hooking in the reader. Well done chief :)
(review of free book)

Review by: Jaylin Tenfold on Nov. 23, 2013 :
I have read the three parts that are free and am considering paying for the rest, too. This story is definitely captivating and very well-written, though as others have said before me, it can be rather long-winded at times. I'm still giving it five stars because that's not something I personally mind in a book, especially one I didn't have to pay for ... but I'm hoping the remaining volumes will be a little more exciting. It's only to be expected considering how Part 3 went - the plot has finally begun to thicken, so to speak.
(review of free book)

Review by: Chris Noble on Nov. 12, 2013 :
I thoroughly enjoyed book 1 & 2 - currently reading book 3 and cant wait to get to the end. Good read.
(review of free book)

Review by: James Jenkins on July 06, 2013 :
Nothing happens in this book, it is all character development and setting the scene. It is well written, but noting happens for sooo loonngg, I wanted to stop reading, I had actually given up when I noticed that I had also downloaded the next two books, so I made my way to the end. Will at least give the second book a shot, if I can gather the strength to load it to my kindle. Reminds me of "Mission Earth" where a trilogy worth of plot is stretched into 10 novels.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jeff Brownlee on Oct. 25, 2012 :
A great effort I enjoyed it as well as rest of the Island series. Thanks for sharing your hard work Michael.
(review of free book)

Review by: leimonade on Sep. 08, 2012 :
Enjoyed the story...different
(review of free book)

Review by: Jed T on Aug. 12, 2012 :
Great story I've read to book 4 can't wait for 5
(review of free book)

Review by: A.L. Wyatt on July 30, 2012 :
I was hooked from chapter 1
(review of free book)

Review by: Nolen Chambless on July 26, 2012 :
From time to time I found the plot a little bogged down with too much background information. But in spite of that, the story was just too strong to put down. The author can tell a story! At the time of this review, I have also read parts 2 & 3 and can't wait for more. I definitely recommend this author and this book. Thank you, Mr. Stark.
(review of free book)

Review by: lfsims on July 16, 2012 :
Its a little long winded in spots, a lot during the first part of the story. But it is interesting and in the end it keeps you entertained enough to want to keep reading.
(review of free book)

Review by: C.J. Schmidt on July 02, 2012 :
While this story looks promising, it is a little hard to follow at times. Lots of long rambling explainations, by the time we get to the point (sometimes we get there) I've forgotten where we were headed. I am hooked however, and am eagerly getting ready to read part two. Thanks for the free read!
(review of free book)

Review by: Ray Daley on June 26, 2012 : (no rating)
Unless you are releasing the MOBI/PRC version of this on Amazon I am a bit puzzled why you chose to publish every format but those here on Smashwords?

The Kindle exists.
(review of free book)

Review by: Tammy on June 25, 2012 :
Please note that these are just my thoughts on this story, and I am more less typing out what I would say to this author about this particular book. Others may have a different reading experience/ expectation then my own.

I struggled with how I would review this book. In the end I decided there was no way that I could write a review of this book without using spoilers so be advised

***this review has SPOILERS.****

I had thought the book would be more like its' description of an action adventure zombie apocalyptic storyline that somehow included dragons, after all that is what the synopsis promises it would be, however the book that I just read was not that.

While I was puzzling what to write in the review, the quote "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time." came to my mind, so with that I am writing this review off the story that is, not the story that should be, might be, or could be.

I give this novella 2.5 out of 5 stars, but since that isn't an option I am pushing this up to three stars.

There are some typos/grammar issues with this story but not so much as to be too distracting.

The characters: As they currently stand, Most all of the characters are standard 'stock' characters of the genre (the sheriff, the shy mysterious youth, the grandmother who seems to be hiding things). The only exception being the protagonist, William whose back-story is painfully detailed.

The pace (flow) of the plot is slow and steady.

The promised plot (end of times, surviving the apocalypse) never takes place inside this novella.
When I realized this story was likely not going in the same place as the synopsis and I started to think of 'the plot' as being one of a man describing a fishing exposition, I was able to push through to the ending.
Other then preparing for the character to be emotionally wounded, generally isolated from society as a whole, and on an island with everything he'd ever need and then some (including a band of misfits) this book had no point to it. It could have been easily chopped down by 1/3 its current length with no noticeable difference.

Plot resolution: none.
I once had a conversation with a young author of a popular episodic series available on another e book site, about what episodic novellas were and how to review them. He told me that they are to be thought of similar to television episodes in a larger series. My trouble with his series, and with this book being a part one of a book is this:
Each episode of a TV series as 'mini' plots that are introduced in that episode and while the episode runs these mini plots have all the steps that any normal movie (or in this case, book) would have [Plot exposition, character crisis, plot twists, and (plot) resolutions] without these steps they are is no 'hook' to keep the reviewer (reader) interested and coming back for more each week.
In addition to the 'mini' plot each television episode adds to the over all series plot (character developments, twists in storyline and so on) again to keep us interested in finding out where the series is going.
This novella fails to provide a 'mini' plot, resulting in the feeling that it is little more then a very long plot exposition.

If the future episodes are to be judged based on this novella, then the book as a whole does not look promising. The pace is too slow, the action in non-existence, the details are way more then needed, the characters are both too shallow and too detailed.
This is only the second time that I have said this to an author, but this story is a case of 'too much talking and not enough action' and way too much information.
Where is the apocalypse? Where are the Zombies? Where is the struggle of the fight? You have your guy way too prepared, with his only problem being that he might run out of ice? Seriously?
You have your character an expert on boats and navigation, but he has been camping/boating once with his father?
The trouble with over thinking your characters and their crisis is the same as over parenting, you have to let them fail for them to grow. You have to let them be inexperienced and make really stupid mistakes for the to be an emotional/physical crisis for your character to experience and grow. After all it is through the characters failures that we (the reader) bond to the characters.
If the ugly duckling did not experience his embarrassment and shame of not looking like a duck, then the fable would have taught nothing and it would be just a story of a swan, who looks like other swans his age, and grows up to be like every other swan.
Personal faults, moral failures, and character crisis are the glue of the storyline, without them (or without enough of them) the story becomes trivial and pointless.
Ok I have probably over hammered those points.
This story is flawed, but there is a story in here somewhere.
One last recommendation to the author (and I have already hit on that once but here it is again) unless something directly affects the plot execution there is no need to go into a lengthy description of it. Allow your readers to fill in the details on the nonessential elements, otherwise your story is too wordy.
(review of free book)

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