This book was written more as a series of poems than as a continuous story. Each 'chapter' is a page or less, telling a little bit more about life in Cuba, and gives bits and pieces of a whole. Eventually, we learn more about characters, situations, and circumstances. The characters didn’t have much detail and could have used more explanation in some parts.
The parts of the book that I disliked the most were the sentences that had capitalized words, ie: “POWER allows Spain to rule Cuba”. I didn't like the capital letters because they didn't really tell what I wanted to know. I also felt the book was confusing to read because it changed characters so often.
On the plus side, Lion Island really tells a story about slaves becoming free and what happened in olden-days Cuba. The author, Margarita Engle, chose some very descriptive words and phrases. Some people might really like this book, but personally, I don't like non-fiction stories that much. And due to the format of the book, I found it disorienting and hard to focus on the goal of the story. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and up.