Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain ReadingKitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 2012
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 253
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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!

5 Rambles about Kitty Hawk:

  1. Kitty is an extremely likable heroine. She’s wholesome, yet feisty, intelligent and curious, and she has mad skills (she can fly her own plane!). She is very much in the vein of Nancy Drew, which is something I think we need more of in the middle-grade/YA fiction these days. Kitty gets into some dangerous situations, but they quickly turn to exciting adventures, with fascinating history around every corner.
  2. Like I just said, there’s a lot of really interesting history about The Klondike Gold Rush, plus a few chapters on humpback whales that I found quite informative. If you’ve ever been interested in gold rushes, Kitty Hawk might be a good read for you. There’s loads of fascinating history, lore, and storytelling about that time period, much of it sounding completely miserable (but really, who wants to spend winter in Alaska in the 1800’s?). As the main plot deals with the theft of gold originating in the Yukon Gold Rush, we get a thorough background as we go along.
  3. That being said, there are huge sections of this book are telling, rather than showing. Multiple chapters in a row are one long story being told. While these stories were interesting, they didn’t incite me to read for long. This was more of a “read a chapter or two at a time” kind of book. I found myself feeling a teensy bit like I was reading a history book at times (hey, I like history books, but I just don’t really prefer that style of writing for fiction).
  4. I LOVED that there were maps of where Kitty was flying at any given time inserted into the chapters. This was so helpful in following where exactly she was, and where she was going. When she was on foot, climbing mountain passes like a badass, we got maps for that too. As someone who is not familiar with Alaskan/Canadian geography, this was very helpful.
  5. I felt like I could really relate to Kitty. Some reviewers have said that her talking to herself all the time was juvenile, but I’m 24 and I carry on more conversations with myself than I do other people (Ok, most likely an exaggeration, but you get my meaning). She didn’t think she was going to be able to survive trekking through the wilderness, but she somehow, miraculously made it through to the other side. And it wasn’t a pleasant process either, which made her all the more relatable.

All in all, Kitty Hawk is a likable, engaging story. My criticisms are mostly based on preference of storytelling, as I really enjoyed all the characters, and found much of the history and plot quite fascinating. Kitty’s relationship with the four brothers who inadvertently kidnap her was entertaining and sweet (a little Stockholm syndrome, but it’s developed well). If you’re looking for a educational middle-grade/YA read with a highly relatable heroine, add Kitty Hawk to your to-read list!

Content: 12+ Some scary situations, light and infrequent language.

4 Stars

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