Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Castaways by Brian Keene

They came to the deserted island to compete on a popular reality television show. Each one hoped to be the last to leave. Now they're just hoping to stay alive, because the island isn't deserted after all. 

Contestants are disappearing, but they aren't being eliminated by the game. They're being taken by the monstrous, half-human creatures that live deep in the jungle. The men will be slaughtered. The women will be kept alive as captives. Night is falling, the creatures are coming, and rescue is so far away . . . 

Brian Keene’s Castaways is more shallow in character development and plot intricacies than his other books.  It is also shorter coming in at a tad under 300 pages.  That being said this is a fun rapidly paced little yarn, that is never dull.  The show Castaways is a clear Survivor rip off (and Keene admits to enjoying the show) yet he still manages to draw a few interesting plot twists from this incredibly straightforward premise.
The character roster is pretty large for a work this small and as such some of the characters are little more than horror clich├ęs and die way too quickly for the reader to establish any attachment to them.   Those who survive longer however are well developed and I was rooting for them to live and escape the island by the end.  A few of these characters began as stock characters that Keene managed to squeeze real life into. 
The creatures that come for the cast of Castaways are well realized and fit into the mold set forward by Urban Gothic, Offseason and are directly inspired by the Beast House series by Richard Laymon.  They are effective, but not revolutionary in any way. 


If you want a fast well-constructed creature feature Castaways by Brian Keene is the book for.  While not as challenging as some of his other works, he never insults the reader and tells a story that genre fans will appreciate from the first page to the last.  

A Comic adaptation of Castaways is Available in Brian Keene's Fear, while out of print is easy to find.

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