Island 731 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Mark Hawkins, former park ranger and expert tracker, is out of his element, working onboard the Magellan, a research vessel studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But his work is interrupted when, surrounded by 30 miles of refuse, the ship and its high-tech systems are plagued by a series of strange malfunctions and the crew is battered by a raging storm.
When the storm fades and the sun rises, the beaten crew awakens to find themselves anchored in the protective cove of a tropical island...and no one knows how they got there. Even worse, the ship has been sabotaged, two crewmen are dead, and a third is missing. Hawkins spots signs of the missing man onshore and leads a small team to bring him back. But they quickly discover evidence of a brutal history left behind by the island’s former occupants: Unit 731, Japan’s ruthless World War II human experimentation program. Mass graves and military fortifications dot the island, along with a decades-old laboratory housing the remains of hideous experiments.
As more crew members start to disappear, Hawkins realizes that they are not alone. In fact, he suspects they were brought to this strange and horrible island. The crew is taken one by one, and while Hawkins fights to save his friends, he learns the horrible truths: Island 731 was never decommissioned and the person taking his crewmates may not be a person at all - not anymore.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 46 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 26, 2013|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #14,051 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#249 in Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction
#1,352 in Mystery Action & Adventure
#1,356 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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Things I liked:
+ Characters are diverse and lovable.
+ Each scene is carefully described to paint a vivid picture in the reader's head.
+ Plot kept me on the edge of my seat.
+ Dread oozes off almost every page, you will feel the character's fear and hopelessness as they traverse an island of horrors created by man.
+ Very informative of real world topics, historical, current, and scientific. I learned a lot about things I previously either knew very little about, or had no clue existed (such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch)
After reading this Mr. Robinson has very swiftly one of my favorite authors (if not my new favorite).
If you are a fan of Sci-Fi, Horror, or both, you owe it to yourself to give this book a once-over.
The inspiration for "Island 731" comes from the infamous experiments conducted by Japanese Unit 731 during World War II. Though similar in nature to Nazi medical experiments conducted during the war, Unit 731 is not nearly as well known, though its experiments were even more brutal and inhumane than those conducted by the Germans. Set in the present day, the novel follows the crew of the Magellan, a research vessel studying the Great Garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. After a raging storm, the crew of the ship find themselves on a strange island that doesn't appear on any official charts. As crew members start to disappear, the rest of the unlucky castaways begin to realize that the island they've stumbled on has been used by the terrifying Unit 731, and that the experiments are not over.
The premise for "Island 731" is an insanely creepy one. Both the setting and backstory give the book some serious horror impact right out of the gate. The setup is incredibly well done, with a perfectly paced slow burn progression where the crew of the Magellan figure out little by little just what horrific circumstance they've stumbled into. I was glued to the page and couldn't wait to figure out what would happen next. The suspense is taut, with a fabulously indelible creepiness. However, the book hits a snag when it starts to introduce the experimental creatures. The feel seems to switch to that of a Syfy original movie, a la Sharknado--or take your pick. The creatures are scary at first, but then become so over-the-top that they're more cheesy than terrifying. The creatures are also over-relied upon. Like clockwork, you can start to guess when the protagonists are gong to encounter another creature that they have to fight. After a while, the book begins to feel like a video game, with a series of "boss battles" in between pieces of narrative progression. However, one positive aspect of the creatures is they serve as a bit of a palette cleanser for the darker parts of the novel. With inherently depressing subject matter, the novel strikes an effective balance between being horrific, while finding ways to break up the horror, so as not to descend to the level exploitative trash. The novel does convey respect to the victims of Unit 731, which I appreciate. However, the book is still a brutal, gory, breathless piece of fiction, which I also appreciate.
Characterization in "Island 731" is a mixed bag. Main character Mark Hawkins is a likable character with a compelling and believable backstory. The rest of the Magellan crew is similarly likable, but how they manage to survive the dangers of Island 731 is a little far fetched. The villains struck me as kind of lame, and I didn't particularly buy their backstory.
Quality of writing in the novel is high. Author Jeremy Robinson is able to conjure up some fierce imagery and keep you stuck to the page like a roach in a roach motel. The action sequences are well done, and have a raw, manic quality about them. The quality of research is also good, with believable descriptions of history and science. The good research helps ground the novel and give a little credence to some of the more extreme ideas presented.
If you enjoy horror with a historical or scientific twist, "Island 731" is your book. Despite some over-the-top cheese, the book is a terrifying one with a premise that will stick with you long after you've read the last page.
This seemed like two books: a half horror-thriller and the rest a justification for what came first. The chief antagonist seemed impossibly smart for his age, the scientific justifications thin, the evil agency behind it all opaque. To keep the plot moving in the second half, the author unloaded back story like a man lightening a balloon to stay airborne. And while such a practice justified the narrative, it threw me out of the story.
Which is a shame, since good action scenes combined with a stripped-down writing style made this tale zip along. More foreshadowing may've helped.
Top reviews from other countries
I was won over from the opening line, really: `Master Chief Petty Officer James Coffman awoke to find his leg being eaten'. Things got quickly even worse for Coffman but I was hooked instantly.
Island 731 is a remote Pacific Island, once caught up in World War II with Japan and now the last place on earth that you want your boat to be marooned. Mark Hawkins, former park ranger and tracker, is aboard the Magellan, a research vessel investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Following a terrible storm, the crew awake to find the ship inexplicably wrecked in the sheltered lagoon of a tropical island and crewmen are missing. When Hawkins heads ashore to recover the crew he stumbles across the remains of horrendous experiments on humans that took place during the 1940s. Further into the thick growth of the island, strange sounds and shadows in the trees alert Hawkins and his team to something threatening and sinister. As further crewmen disappear, taken or killed by a force unknown and indescribable, Hawkins and the captain (Drake) set off with a small team to solve the mystery of Island 731 before it destroys them.
As you can imagine, the island does its level best to tear the team apart, member by member, limb by limb, as they head deeper inland towards a manmade installation that is protected by much more than bullets and fences. Here there may be dragons.
There is no let up in the pace of this thriller. Like a train, it keeps on pounding relentlessly towards its destination. Following many of the tried and tested conventions of the disaster story, there are characters here to whom it doesn't pay to get too attached. Likewise, there are others, especially Hawkins, who would take little short of a nuclear device to dent. Hawkins is, though, an interesting character and this is typical of Robinson. He is a master of creating likeable, breathing characters. He might give them an extraordinarily hard time but he does make them feel real. As a result, you're far more likely to allow yourself to be consumed by the incredible shocks of the story, egging on the men and women you've grown to worry about.
There are shocks here by the gallon. This is a monster island, pure and simple, and some of them, though by no means most, are human. It's a thrilling mix of evil villains, terrifying and mindblowing monsters, likeable heroes and heroines, and a strong appealing message that humanity will overcome. It's not as memorable as SecondWorld but that, as one of my favourite reads of 2012, is hard to beat.
Don't expect to take Island 731 too seriously but do expect to have a blast reading it. It asks little more from you than that but if you leave your credulity at the door it will reward you many times over. A great beach read! So long as it's not that beach....