Good Monday morning everyone! It’s Lauri again… and yes, you guessed it… I have another book review to start your week. I approach every book I read with excitement—anxious to begin the journey with the main character. I long to be taken away, leave reality for a brief period of time, and totally immerse myself into another world full of intrigue and adventure.
“Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold” by Iain Reading didn’t disappoint, although it took awhile to get going. The main character, Kitty, is an engaging, adventurous nineteen-year-old with shades of Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking. She’s an accomplished pilot, and the book begins with her setting out on her first adventure. She has secured funding to study humpback whales and she will be flying solo on this one. (Okay… yes, it was a bad pun.) Nevertheless, at the tender age of nineteen, she is leaving her home in Canada and heading to Alaska to begin her quest.
When I agreed to read/review books, I made two promises to myself. First, I would read every book, in its entirety, before writing and posting a review. Second, I would stay true to my own code of ethics… that is, I would not give rave reviews if the books weren’t worthy of such. “Kitty Hawk” is an enjoyable book, but there are a few issues that must be addressed. First and foremost, the author advertises this book as teen and young adult. Kitty (the point of view character) is nineteen years old, which automatically classifies this book on the outside edge of young adult. She is out of school, and is essentially living life as an adult. In children’s literature, young adult books feature main characters between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.
Secondly, the book gets a little bogged down with what I like to call “information dumping.” Yes, there are vital pieces of information we as readers need, but in many cases, Reading gives us more than we needed (and wanted). And yes, we needed a little background about the gold (essentially important to the plot), but in this case, less would have been more. In my opinion, the story really begins in chapter four.
Once the story started, however, Reading hit his stride. Kitty “came to life”, and I found myself rooting for her. I loved her sense of adventure and her independence. I remember being nineteen (and no, I will not tell you how long ago that was)—I applaud a character that takes life by the horns. Life is meant for living, and that sentiment is fully embodied in Kitty’s outlook. The author does a good job relaying Kitty’s enthusiasm and maturity… she makes sound decisions in the cockpit while still retaining the exuberance of her youth in other places, like when meeting young men and seeing the whales for the first time. Her inner monologue was off-putting at times, but then again, it served to remind me that this seaplane pilot is still on the teen side of twenty. Reading’s use of first person brings us closer to his main character and the action of the story. He writes first-person POV well.
When Kitty notices a suspicious boat riding very low in the water, she remembers the campfire stories about the lost gold. A light bulb goes off in her head and she thinks (to paraphrase) gold is heavy—the boat is laden with gold! Being the adventurous sort, she flies in for a closer look, lands her plane in an inlet, and hikes through the forest to find out what’s really going on. Here’s where I became totally invested… anxious to read more. (Reading truly hits his prime at this point.) Kitty is “kidnapped” by four brothers, and journeys with them through the remainder of the book. While Kitty suffers a slight case of Stockholm syndrome, all isn’t what it seems, and good does triumph over evil.
I do recommend this book, but any young teen readers should be cautioned—the writing style and level of “Kitty Hawk” are more complex than most children’s literature on the bookshelves. However, Iain Reading gives us a character that is refreshing in this day and age—a young person without a sense of entitlement or over-dependence on her parents to provide everything for her. She also appreciates, loves, and safeguards our Earth’s natural treasures.
If you have always dreamed of flying, seeing whales, experiencing the wilds of Alaska, and have a thirst for adventure… this book will interest you.
Have a great day everyone!
About the Author, Iain Reading
I Like Root Beer. When I was younger I fancied myself a bit of a Root Beer connoisseur, drinking my favourite brand (A&W, of course) from tall, narrow champagne flûtes and reveled in the sound of the ice cubes clinking against the side of the thin glass, creating a magical tinkling ambiance as I looked down my nose at all the other inferior Root Beer vintages. As I grew older and began to travel all across the globe I was naturally inclined to seek out the very best Root Beers that the world had to offer. Sadly, as I was to discover, Root Beer is very much a North-American thing and you can’t really find it anywhere else in the world. On the bright side, however, it turns out that the world is a pretty great place even without Root Beer. There are a million amazing things to see and as many more ways for all of us to see them, as our heroine and friend Kitty Hawk finds out in the course of her various adventures.