Book Review: “Damselfly” by Chandra Prasad

When Sam wakes up and finds herself in a jungle, it takes her a minute to realize that she’s been in a plane crash, along with the rest of her high school fencing team. She’s lucky enough to locate her best friend, Mel, soon afterward, but some of her other classmates were not as lucky. Together, Sam and Mel find the other surviving students and get down to the business of survival. But will rescue arrive before infighting and personal trauma tear the group apart?

Damselfly is a Lord of the Flies–inspired novel, but it doesn’t stick so close to the original that it doesn’t have anything to offer of its own. If you’ve read the William Golding novel, you’ll notice a few homages in Damselfly, but author Chandra Prasad definitely makes the story her own. The novel may also appeal to fans of Lost (though without any hint of the supernatural).

Still, I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into Damselfly. There were some things I really liked about it – like the ending – but for the most part, I just felt like I was waiting for something bigger to happen that never did. Sam and Mel themselves are imaginatively rendered, but their classmates feel more like stock characters than anything else; they don’t seem compelling enough to generate the kind of deep psychological drama the book is going for. The book’s one twist didn’t feel adequately supported to me, and I ultimately felt that most of the characters acted little differently when deserted on an island than they would have in the halls of their high school. I wanted something more surprising from Damselfly that never arrived.

All in all, the book was just fine – if you like teen survival stories, it’s worth a read.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.