Author: Iain Reading
Published: December 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Category: Young Adult/Adventure
'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.'
I received a copy of the book in return for an honest review
This is the first instalment in the Kitty Hawk young adult series and centres around Kitty, a very independent and exceptional teenage pilot with her own seaplane, a De Havilland Beaver. She definitely has ‘a nose for mystery and intrigue and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.’
The prologue seems to be introducing the subsequent books as the story doesn’t refer back to the fact that Kitty is in serious trouble.
'“Mayday, mayday, mayday,” I said, keying my radio transmitter as I leveled my flight path out again. “This is aircraft Charlie Foxtrot Kilo Tango Yankee, calling any ground station or vessel hearing this message, over.”
I keyed the mic off and listened intently for a reply. Any reply. Please? But there was nothing. There was barely even static. My radio was definitely fried.
It was hard to believe that it would all come down to this. After the months of preparation and training. After all the adventures that I’d had, the friends I’d made, the beauty I’d experienced, the differences and similarities I’d discovered from one culture to the next and from one human being to the next. All of this in the course of my epic flight around the entire world.'
So this story chronicles Kitty’s adventures leading up to her taking the decision to fly round the world. And what adventures she has! From her experiences and research studying Humpback whales (which was fascinating) to being kidnapped and hunting down stolen gold.
Kitty’s first stop on her whale journey is her best friend Skeena’s house in Juneau. Skeena is a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation tribe and her grandfather, Joseph, is a tribe elder. I liked his philosophy a lot…
'“Sky, water, land,” he said, holding his palm flat out, high, low, middle as he spoke.” Wherever we are in this world we are not alone. We are not the only creatures who find life in the sky and water and land. We are not the only creatures who need it.And we cannot just take and take and take. We have to give. And we have to respect.”'
I enjoyed very much reading about the detailed history of the Klondike, the Yukon and the gold rush era. The narrative is entertaining and descriptive, giving a good mental image of places and scenery. Jack London’s White Fang is a favourite of mine so it was interesting to learn more of his life too.
The illustrations were a nice touch and gave a sense of where Kitty actually was.
The passages relating to the hike up the mountain, the Chilkoot Trail and the ruins of the old settlement were very expressive and revealed such a lot about the hardships of the day.
I wasn’t too sure about the capture/bonding thing going on at first but it smoothed out as the story progressed. The only little niggle I have is the ‘conversations’ Kitty has with herself. Personally, I’d prefer just thoughts.
That said the mixture of action, adventure, information and history is a really good combination and make for a very pleasing story. I will definitely follow Kitty’s adventures.