Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Shipwreck Island by Struan Murray

In March 2020, I read Orphans of the Tide and was blown away by the intensity of the story and power of the symbolism.

Click here to read my review of Orphans of the Tide.

Shipwreck Island is the brilliant sequel to Orphans of the Tide – the second in the trilogy. Readers are reunited with Ellie and Seth as they travel on a raft across the sea. Finally, they spot an island and hope for a better future.

On the island, they must come to grips with power, politics, religion and truth. The islanders worship their Queen who holds incredible power and the ability to rejuvenate the land. Ellie longs to meet the Queen and discover the secrets hidden within the palace walls.  Questions of good and evil line the pages. Those in power have so much responsibility.

As with Orphans of the Tide, there is a fascinating dual point of view: the story of Ellie and Seth alongside Leila’s Diary. Leila lived hundreds of years ago during the Drowning. The links between Seth and Leila’s experiences pull the reader in and take the story to new depths.

Shipwreck Island is full of wonderful characters and a real comradery. Viola brings spark, strength and wit – she is so refreshing and challenges the other characters. Molworth is an honest, funny, somewhat grumpy boy who speaks the truth. They act as mirrors for the main characters and provide the insight they need to survive on the island.

As with the first book, this story is full of symbolism. The significance of the religious imagery builds a world of belief, scepticism and power. The image of the Enemy is reminiscent of issues of depression, loneliness and need. It also causes the reader to think about the things we do to give the “enemy” power in our lives. Themes of guilt, acceptance and forgiveness are strong and make this story so meaningful.

In the end, readers are left wanting more. Hopefully, the third instalment isn’t too far away!

Thank you to Puffin Books for this fantastic story!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Waterstones.

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