I finished Escape from Guinea Island, and I truly have so many regrets. This is the first book in the Escaping the Grave Series by Dexter Conrad.
I will be honest, I have a lot to say about this book, so strap in.
To start with, this book is NOT developed the way it needs to be. It honestly feels like every singular idea the author had to include in this book, was included. Now, I’ve written a book, and am working on my second. There are so many things I wanted/want to include in the books, that had to be cut for various reasons. Too many plot points, too irrelevant, just plain bad writing. And so, they were cut and saved in a folder for a rainy day. Not with this author. Any and every idea that he had is included within this book. You jump from plot point to plot point like a child splashing in puddles. The paragraphs themselves are so choppy and hard to read, it is easy to reread a paragraph and not even realize it. This honestly felt like a first draft, not a finished and polished copy.
When I hit 20% of the way through this book, I realized that the author wrote every singular female character to either be in a relationship with someone, or to have sex with someone. I am dead serious. At one point in time, a member of the group on the cruise ship committing a heist is tasked with finding the master key card to get into the vault. In the middle of this TIME SENSITIVE TASK, one of the characters named Trish “felt a heat ignite deep inside her.” So of course, she went and had sex with him in the middle of this time sensitive task.
I think the part of this book that truly got to me the most was centered around Jenny. After Jenny and crew escaped from the airport, they stopped at what appeared to be a deserted gas station to get some supplies. Yah know, food, water. Things like that. And then the author felt the need to have Jenny get a box of gas station tampons “just in case”. Nowhere did the author mention she was on her period. Just, in the middle of a life of death situation, she felt the need to get a box of gas station tampons.
And if it wasn’t the gas station tampons that got me, it was Nick. Nick is a character that we learn early on, is gay. Which is wonderful! I love that the author included a gay character in this book, and it wasn’t the main focus of the book. He just existed. And then, the author turns the gay character straight. Seriously, a direct quote of this book, “I must not be that gay, because I seem to have found myself a girlfriend.” I legit had to put the book down because this frustrated me so goddamn much!
There are so many things happening in this book, I had to stop multiple times to get my bearings. Within thirty pages or so, Jenny and crew escaped from cannibals (yes you did read that right) three times. While they were escaping cannibals, Trish and crew have escaped Zombies like three times. None of this is well written, developed, or thought out. It just keeps happening over and over and over again, like the author felt like he needed to include more. I really wish he had taken a step back, and combined all of these incidents into one. One cannibal escape, one zombie escape. It would have given him so much more room to really focus on the environment and the story. In addition to that, this book really tells two stories. The story of Trish and crew, and the story of Jenny and crew. At 77% of the way through this book, these two groups still have not met. I would have loved to see this book split into two books, and really focus on developing the characters and what happens to them. Instead, we get this rushed story that is hard to read.
One really good thing this author does do, is you do not get a sense of safety for the characters. Something bad could happen to literally any one of them, and it does keep you on your toes. However, the deaths and mishaps are written so poorly, you honestly sympathize with the dead characters because they were the lucky ones.
Overall – The author tried to do a mashup of a zombie apocalypse mixed with cannibals. Not a bad idea, and it does have some merit to it. But the author did not take the time to develop the story like he needed too. Slogging through this book felt similar to trying to read a first draft to try to find the shining moment. And there is indeed shining moment in this book, but unfortunately, they are currently downing under the slew of ideas that this author did not cut out. It is not the worst book I have ever read, but I would have to know the author spent more time on the next book before I would be willing to read anything by them ever again.
Plot – 4/10
Characters – 2/10
Originality – 2/10
General Joy of Reading – 2/10
Overall Score – 10/40
Escape From Guinea Island – Dexter Conrad
Cost* – Kindle book is $0.99 and is included with Kindle Unlimited. Hardcover book is $16.77
*Cost is based upon what the book cost when book review is published