Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading
Publication Date: January 2012
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.
After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!
*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kitty Hawk is a teenage pilot who has finally been able to raise funds to be able to go on an air trip from her home in Canada to Juneau, Alaska. The main purpose of her trip is to study humpback whales. In the course of this expedition, she “runs” into some gold thieves and series of adventures sort of take over from there.
In my opinion, Kitty is a rather confusing character. One minute she is acting and thinking like an adolescent, and the next she’s like a wizened, old lady. She is fond of having silent conversations with herself; which was insightful at first, but later became quite irritating. In general, something about her just made me have to keep reminding myself that she’s a teenager, albeit a sometimes immature one. It’s worth noting, though, that Kitty’s bouts of immaturity didn’t really seem to affect how she handled herself as a pilot during the several flights. (In other words, she’s a very skilled pilot).
One major issue I have with Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the pacing. The story starts with two prologue chapters that foreshadow parts of the main story and did a good job of arousing my curiosity. But when chapter one began, things sort of started going downhill from there in terms of action. There was little other than description until much later into the story, when the main plot started to manifest. Don’t get me wrong; the descriptions weren’t boring. In fact, they were very enlightening in an interesting manner. But I would have liked to see the actual plot begin much sooner, with the descriptions sort of incorporated into the action and the dialogues.
When the adventure did begin, I found I was reluctant to put the book down. I would say that all the twists and turns in the story tried to make up for the rather disappointing beginning.
Another aspect of the book that didn’t hit the spot for me is the absence of emotionally moving events. Despite the abundance of descriptions, there was little in the way of actions that appealed to my emotions. I also didn’t form much of a connection with the main characters, and the characters I feel had the most depth to them happen to be minor characters.
Reading the story, it’s obvious that the author is no novice, and he happens to have a strong presence as a writer, even in the uneventful/ boring parts of the story. I appreciate the fact that the author clearly did his research when it came to things flight- related, whale- related, gold- related, and other important facts that featured in the story.
In a whole, I think Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a story that consists of a great plot that just wasn’t executed in the best way possible. It’s a cool read if you’re not one to get bored pretty fast when faced with lack of action, and the author knows how to put his words together in a really good way. I want to believe that the sequel will be a better planned read with shorter build-ups, but I probably won’t re-read it any time soon…
But then, that’s just my humble opinion. 🙂