Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Ian 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.


When I was a child, I loved reading The Famous Five by Enid Blython and Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. Just like Sherlock Holmes got devoured. There just where something about these books that I loved. The mystery, the chase, all the little clues…

So it was with great hope I started to read Kitty Hawk (btw… Nancy Drew is called Kitty Drew in Denmark and Sweden. Just a side note). At first I was confused by the different prologues, but as I ventured further into the story, everything fell into place.

I was fascinated by Kitty. It all started with her being fascinated with humpback whales and wanting to research them. She set her mind out to do it, got everything she needed and Kitty get to spend a summer in Alaska. She is a lady who loves her airplane, adventure, she is brave, an inner voice she rarely listen to (at least not always), a love for nature and history. In a way, she is kick ass, and I admire her ability to keep a cool head even when everything goes to hell in a handbasket around her. Yes, she does get scared at times, but with everything happening, I am awed that she acts the way she does. Awesome girl!!!

Kitty Hawk is a great character, but she isn’t alone in this book. Charlie and his brothers are the gold thieves, and through them we experience adventure in abundance. Not only present time (trust me, there’s enough to last many people a lifetime), but we get the history behind the Gold Rush. How it happened, what happened and it isn’t a pretty picture. Greed is definitely a bad thing, and the Gold Rush showed that. Desperate people trying to find their Eldorado. Casualties? Other people and nature herself.

Honestly, I think it was amazing to get the whole history of the Gold Rush weaved into the story, and loved rearing more about it. It was nicely done and gave something extra to the story.    

The start of the book was a bit slower than what I would’ve wished for normally, but Ian compensates this with amazing and wonderful descriptions of Alaska and the humpback whales. The first part of the book took me longer to read than the rest, but I’m not disappointed. And you know what’s even MORE awesome? Through the entire book, there are pictures showing where she flies, walks, pictures of Klondike, Alaska, humpback whales. I really, really liked that. I could follow her path, where the gold thieves took her, and in the end of the book; there are links and hints to what you could read if you’re interested in diving more into the world that Ian has created.

As an adult, I enjoyed reading about Kitty Hawk and her adventure in Alaska. In my opinion, I think it’s perfect for the younger audience and certainly worth a read for the older ones as well. I will certainly make time to read more about Kitty Hawk, apparently her next adventure will take her around the world.

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