The Island - Lisa Henry I have to agree with a lot of reviewers out there and say that yes, this was a great story. It was gripping from the start, the characters are interesting and the plot is captivating. However, what I cannot agree with is that it's brutal. It's heart-wrenching but in no way is it brutal in my eyes. In fact, there is actually neither torture nor rape in this story. It's all done behind scenes so we never get to see it.

The book starts off with Shaw landing on a private island so he can sell a stolen painting to crime boss, Vornis. However, while Shaw was there to just sell the painting, and hope Vornis would invite him to stay and make some new contacts with other wealthy criminals, he doesn't anticipate meeting Lee, Vornis' kept pet. Lee's been with Vornis for eight weeks and he's already a broken man. Raped, tortured and treated like a dog from the time of his capture, he doesn't know kindness anymore until Vornis gives him to Shaw. While Shaw and Lee get unwillingly closer, Shaw struggles with doing his job and doing the right thing. Meeting Vornis' friends could give him what he needs to be set for life in his job but the feelings he's developed for Lee could make him throw away all his hard work just to save the poor man.

In all honesty, Shaw is a bastard for most of the book but I understood why he was that way. He needed Lee to understand that while he wasn't going to hurt him, he wasn't going to help him much either. There's also the fact that he needed to be like Vornis to earn the crime boss' trust fully. I still liked Shaw, though. I liked his internal debate against doing his job and wanting to get closer to Lee. Lee is the type of character I love. He's broken emotionally and physically and the smallest kindness is taken with gratitude. He's drugged up all the time to keep him docile but he's a fighter when he's not drugged. He's not sure what to think of Shaw but hope springs eternal when they meet. I felt for Lee. It was sad what he went through and why but I think, in the end, he embraced what's happened and knows what he wants now.

The plot is very engaging. Shaw trying to help Lee without blowing it with Vornis and how they develop feelings for each other that seem misplaced. It really is a great plot and one I eagerly gobbled up. However, I did have a few problems with the story. It was a bit repetitive at times. Shaw would constantly think over and over how he pitied green eyes or how he was there to make new contacts; how he was trying to meet so and so for years; the others were just icing on the cake; how the boy in the painting looked sad and lonely and tired. It grated on my nerves a bit and disturbed the flow I had going because I already knew all that and Shaw just kept bringing it up. I also find it just a bit hard to believe that Lee could recover so much in such a short period of time but that's just me and wanting things to be drawn out. I like to get into characters minds and I couldn't exactly do that to the extent I wanted to with Lee's abuse or his recovery.

I put too much expectation into this story which is completely my fault. I kept reading how people were raving about this story. How it was sad, brutal, dark, had rape and torture so when I finally read the story, I was a bit disappointed because while it is sad, it's not dark or brutal or has rape or torture. There is no actual on screen torture which was disheartening. Everything is done behind closed doors and it's left to your imagination of what really happened. It's not talked about what Lee goes through but it is implied and you see the injuries he incurs afterwards. While I'm glad I didn't see Lee being forced to have sex with others, I still would have liked to see him actually abused. I think it would have added a little something more to the story while making me feel deeper for him and connected to him at the same time. Without it, I kind of feel like I didn't know Lee until the very end and even then it wasn't enough for me to connect with him in the way I would have preferred. I also wished in the end, when Lee is recovering, we could have seen him talk to his parents about it all. Instead, like the torture, it is fade to black and we don't get to see it.

Overall, I did love the story. A few things annoyed me and I was a bit sad there was no actual torture but I did love the characters and the plot. I loved how they formed their bond and even though it wasn't made under the best of situations, it was still solid enough for them to create a relationship out of. I do hope we get to see Lee and Shaw in the future because it would be nice to see how they're relationship has lasted and see more of Lee recovering.