Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Coral Island Review

The Coral IslandThe Coral Island 
By: R. M. Ballantyne
Rating: 4 stars
Ages: 13/14 and up (for action, violence, and somewhat detailed accounts of the savage’s practices of paganism)

Fifteen-year-old Ralph, mischievous young Peterkin, and clever, brave Jack are shipwrecked on a coral island with only a telescope and a broken pocketknife between them. At first the island seems a paradise with its plentiful foods and wealth of natural wonders. But then a party of cannibals arrive, and after that a pirate ship...what is to become of them?

The Coral Island was truly fun. I now understand why it was one of the most well-loved Ballantyne books of its time and even today. The characters were interesting. I fell in love with them immediately. The storyline was fascinating and well-written.

It was a touching story of three boys trapped on a lonely coral island out in the Pacific Ocean, and the many adventures and perilous happenings that befell them. Suffice to say, I liked it!


Oh, the characters! They were fantastic. Jack, Peterkin, and Ralph were the perfect trio. They worked well together. Scratch that. They worked perfectly together. 

I have to say that thirteen-year-old, Peterkin Gay was my favorite. He was lively, humorous, incredibly energetic, mischievous, and ever so deserving of his last name, as he was happy most all the time. What he said and the way he acted was incredibly funny, making for many ‘Laugh out loud’ moments. But there was also a deep sincerity and seriousness to him that showed on those rare occasions. :)

This book was written in first-person point-of-view, and Ralph Rover is our very own ‘Story-teller’, or narrator. Ralph was philosophical, studious, and charming. He often trails off into deep patterns of thought, however, which could get a little long and descriptive.

Jack, the brains and brawn, was the leader. Who knows what would have happened to Ralph and Peterkin had Jack not been on that coral island with them! He showed courage and bravery many times throughout the entire book, and was truly sacrificial. Always the one to whom both younger boys looked to when in doubt (actually, when in trouble), he showed wisdom and always had a plan. :)

The Coral Island was a wild and adventurous mix of desert coral islands, dangerous pirates, unmerciful savages, and one crazy journey from England to the Pacific Ocean, intertwined with Godly principles and an ocean-full of humor. 

It espoused principles such as fighting for the right and protecting the innocent, which can be rare in books today.

I will point out, though, that the savages' evil practices didn't necessarily need to be so detailed, so it's less appropriate for young and/or sensitive readers.

It was an enjoyable book that I liked. I recommend it to those who enjoy adventure and historical fiction.

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