Snake Island By Ben Hobson: Book Review & Summary

Book Review: Snake Island By Ben Hobson – Debbish

Book review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson - Debbish

Ben Hobson’s latest novel, Snake Island, is a gripping and intense read that explores themes of family, loyalty, and desperation. Set in rural Queensland, this gritty tale introduces readers to a cast of flawed and complex characters whose paths collide in explosive ways. In this review, we’ll delve into the main themes and ideas presented in the book, as well as evaluate the writing style and effective conveying of the author’s message. Additionally, we’ll discuss the book’s strengths and weaknesses and how it compares to other works in its genre.

The Plot and Main Themes of Snake Island

Snake Island follows the story of two families in rural Queensland for whom everything goes wrong when they cross each other’s path. The story’s main characters are Vernon Moore, a lonely and traumatized Vietnam War veteran who owns a remote island off Queensland, and the Williams family, who are struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

After a chance encounter on the mainland, the two families cross paths in ways that none of them could have predicted. The novel’s central conflict arises when the Williams’ youngest son, Shane, becomes involved with Vernon’s daughter, a mysterious and troubled young woman who has always lived in isolation on Snake Island.

The book’s main themes are those of family, loyalty, and desperation. Hobson presents a brutal and unsentimental portrait of rural life in Australia, where poverty, isolation, and violence go hand in hand. The novel asks readers to consider what happens to people when their backs are against the wall and how they make decisions when faced with impossible choices.

The Writing Style and Message of Snake Island

Hobson’s writing style is both economical and visceral, delivering sharp and darkly poetic descriptions of the bleak world his characters inhabit. The author’s use of dialect and colloquialisms further adds to the book’s sense of place and makes the characters feel incredibly authentic. Hobson is a master at delivering powerful and impactful scenes that stick with the reader long after they’ve finished the book.

The author’s message is dark and grim, highlighting the harsh realities of rural Australian life. However, Hobson also manages to infuse the novel with moments of tenderness and humanity, reminding readers that there’s always a glimmer of hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances. Despite the novel’s intensity and brutality, its ending is surprisingly uplifting and cathartic.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Snake Island

The book’s main strength is its vivid and gritty portrayal of rural Australia. The novel’s setting feels incredibly authentic, and the characters are all complex and fully realized. Readers will find themselves drawn into the world of Snake Island and invested in the characters’ fates.

One weakness of the book is its pacing. The novel is slow to start, and it takes a while for the central conflict to emerge. However, once it does, the pace picks up considerably, and the story becomes a real page-turner. Additionally, some readers may find the violence and bleakness of the book off-putting, as it is certainly not a feel-good read.

Comparing Snake Island to Other Works in Its Genre

Snake Island is a worthy addition to the canon of Australian rural noir literature, alongside works by authors such as Jane Harper and Peter Temple. However, where those authors often focus on the goings-on in small towns, Hobson takes a more isolated approach, exploring the effects of poverty and desperation in rural settings where people are all but forgotten by society. The book’s themes of family, loyalty, and desperation are universal, but the novel’s setting makes it a unique and impactful read.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

Snake Island is a gripping and intense read that will leave readers breathless. Hobson’s writing is raw and visceral, and his characters are all too real. The book’s themes of family, loyalty, and desperation will resonate with readers, even if they’ve never set foot in rural Australia. The book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who enjoy gritty and intense novels, Snake Island is a must-read. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a dark and impactful read.


What age group would Snake Island be suitable for?

Snake Island is an adult novel and contains scenes of violence and mature themes, so it is not recommended for younger readers.

Is Snake Island based on a true story?

No, Snake Island is a work of fiction.

Is Snake Island part of a series?

No, Snake Island is a standalone novel.

Will there be a movie adaptation of Snake Island?

As of this writing, there are no announced plans for a movie adaptation of Snake Island.

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