REVIEW: Surviving Demon Island by Jaci Burton
Dear Ms. Burton:
I think this is one of those books were the hook will totally captivate people or turn them off. Gina Bliss is an action star in the vein of Jackie Chan. She does all her stunts herself. Coming off of back to back action movie blockbusters, Gina agrees to do a Reality TV show that involves physical challenges. The TV show is really a guise used by a demon hunting recruiter named Lou to gather elite fighters from around the globe to train them to be demon hunters. Derek Marks is the hot trainer who Gina constantly challenges. Derek and Gina are an explosive combination both in bed and out.
The hook or setup is just one of many really big suspensions of disbelief that the reader must undergo in order to enjoy the story. The book read more like a screen play than a novel and had little room amongst the killing of demons to focus on character developments. Where I might have bought into the story if it were on the big screen, in the more intimate setting of reading the book, I found it hard to lose myself in the pages.
Gina never considers how this will reflect on her career (i.e., what if she doesn’t do well in the challenge, will that affect her ability to be a marketable action movie star) nor does it address that Reality TV is a place that washed stars and wannabe stars go to find new star status. I maybe could have bought into it if the Reality TV was more like the ecochallenge, something an action competitive junkie could really get into; but I kept thinking Survivor and had a hard time seeing any movie star signing up to eat bugs and go without for days on end. The fact is that Gina’s star status had so little to do with the overall story that I couldn’t figure out why the hook was used. I had a hard time believing that disparate individuals could band together and work as an elite fighting squad hunting down demons within two days of arriving on the island. I had a hard time understanding why Gina would even be invited when Lou is so adverse to publicity.
The elements of the story just didn’t fit very well together, from the hook, to the many players invited to be part of the team (screamed setup for series to me), to the not very believable surprise ending.
If a reader can get past those issues, and just go with the story without paying attention to any realities of the world, there is a fast paced action story that features bad guys that act like bad guys and a different mythology. There is plenty of action and steamy sex scenes to fill the pages. For me, though, this was a good idea hampered by some really unbelievable details. C. Surviving Demon Island can be purchased as an ebook or in stores now. Bookseller Jolie really liked this one and is probably hand selling a copy right now.
P.S. Does the cover of this book like an ad for a timeshare or is it just me?