Monday, March 16, 2015

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold | Iain Reading

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 will admit, I am pleasantly surprised by this book. Prior to accepting it for review, I was slightly skeptical. The cover, the protagonist's name, everything about it just screamed "middle-grade" (something I hadn't tried, and, at the moment, didn't want to try), but the words "Yukon Gold" caught my eye and I began reading it. 

Over the summer, my family and I had travelled to Alaska, and I found it incredibly interesting to see the same scenes I've experienced manifested into a book. As Kitty travels throughout Alaska, to cities like Haines, Juneau, and Dyea, I find myself comparing my adventures with hers, reliving my vacation.

The plot itself was also quite interesting, though it could have been better spread out throughout the book. I felt as though the first half was relatively uneventful, while the second half was jam packed with the majority of the plot. The reader isn't even introduced to "the curse" until at least three-fourths of the way into the book. But I absolutely loved the bits and pieces of real history Iain intertwined into his plot, from the ghost town of Dyea to the sinking of the Clara Nevada.

For me, the biggest surprise was Kitty Hawk. The idea of a seventeen-year old named Kitty flying to Alaska by herself seemed somewhat ludicrous to me, but I really enjoyed her as a character. She had very realistic characteristics and a likable personality. While I'm still skeptical of her parents' decision of letting her fly alone, I think Iain did a very good job of making the entire situation seem realistic. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I would definitely recommend it to a slightly younger audience, though there's nothing preventing anyone from enjoying this adventurous novel.