I received this book from a first reads giveaway. Despite getting a free copy, my views here are honest.
Millennium by Peri Hoskins is sort of a true story, but in the beginning of the book he admits that some things have been changed. From what I understand, the author is trying to recreate the basic events and the feeling of the time it's set, the turn of the millenium. Vince Osbourne, the main character, has recently broken up with his long time girlfriend and he decides to visit the Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. He stays with a friend he has known from school, Sykes, who is currently trying to launch his business on the island. Through his time here, Vince explores various portions of the island and meets all sorts of people.
I don't really know what to say about this book. It's reasonably interesting. There are a vast array of characters. In his explorations, Vince goes to all sorts of bars and restaurants, among various other local spots where he meets both the residents of the island and people visiting it. I think that the tourist aspects are kind of cliche; many of them have general names and characteristics from their countries of origin. Many of the characters have stories that might be interesting, but we really don't get to read enough about them. The same with Vince. Over and over again, he introduces himself to these new people and we get the same story every time. Even in discussions with Sykes, we get repeats of the same story. I didn't feel that the characters were entirely boring, but there was nothing particularly relateable to them either. We just don't spend enough time with each one. Reading this book is like going on a holiday and meeting a bunch of people you'll never see again.
The plot is... Well, I don't really know what to say about that either. It has an interesting premise; a man has just broken up with his girlfriend and comes to Tonga to see in the new millennium. However, the majority of the book is simply Vince going around the island and meeting new people. It's essentially just a holiday for him where he has a few drinks, meets a few people and then goes home. Though the millennium aspect is meant to be pretty monumental, considering it's the title of the book after all, it really doesn't have much bearing on the plot. By the end of the book, Vince has not changed or even done much while he has been in Tonga. There is little character development, is what I'm trying to say. The book is pretty one note, is another point I'd like to make here; though a lot seems to happen, not much is terribly interesting or important to the plot. Though the millennium point ought to be prominent, at the end when the party for it comes around, I had completely forgotten about it entirely, when the author really ought to have been building up to it. Mind you, nothing terribly important happened at that party either. There are a few other problems where it's not always easy (for me) to be able to tell who's talking during conversations in the book. The author has several blocks of conversation where I can't follow it because it doesn't really say who is speaking at any given time. One of the things I did like is the reference material. There are incredible illustrations and quotes that were interesting to look at and read.
It's a reasonable book. I've read others like it, some better written, some worse. I've seen several reviews that rate the book poorly. However, I didn't find it to be terrible. I thought, at times, it was a bit dull and lacks a real plot. However, it's reasonable. The author has a decent writing style and explains things reasonable well, except for (as mentioned above) several portions where it's difficult to determine who is speaking. I think it's worth three stars. I might have rated it higher if there were a real plot to the book other than just a man on a holiday.