- The backlash. My main issue with the first book was the lack of backlash from the community when their entire belief system is torn down. Not an issue with this installment. Anger, hope, acceptance, rage, denial, suicide--the way Minkman showcases such a wide variety of reactions people have when their faith is tested was really amazing. My only gripe would be that many of these secondary characters aren't very fleshed out, but at the same time I think it is a good thing they aren't. These people could be any one of us, their emotions and reactions could easily be our own if we were put into the same situation.
- The corruption. I love a good conspiracy theory, and the corruption that Walt uncovers beneath Hope Harbor is perfectly shocking. I also really appreciated that the unveiling of his findings didn't take an additional hundred pages as it does in some books. Walt does the logical thing and lets the truth be known as soon as possible.
- The intermingling of faiths. As in the first book, this second novella showcases the intermingling and augmentation of belief systems perfectly. It is anthropological elements like these that really make these books shine.
- The lack of romantic development. My only true complaint for this book would be the romance. It feels very underdeveloped, and there is little-to-no chemistry between Walt and Leia, in my opinion. I honestly think I would have enjoyed this story more if the romance was left completely out of it. The book is solid enough on its own with its conspiracies, belief systems, riots, etc. without the addition of a romantic element. I wouldn't say the romance feels out of place, it just doesn't feel like it is important enough to take center stage the way that it does near the end of the novella.
4/5 - When I read the first book in this series, The Island, while I appreciated the anthropological and cultural issues addressed throughout the book, the lack of uprising when religious views were brought into question rang false with me, and left me a little disappointed. This was definitely not a problem in this second installment. I absolutely loved the way Minkman was able to showcase the myriad of reactions people have when their faith is brought into question, when their truth is proved to be a blatant lie. This is a book about faith, loss, hope, growth, love, hatred, deception--but most of all it is a book about the human condition. I really enjoyed this, and I will definitely be picking up any additional novellas that Minkman decides to write in "The Island" series. I would recommend this to fans of dystopian fiction, particularly those with a religious focus like "The Forest of Hands and Teeth."