Wednesday, 1 April 2015

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

*Thank you to Book Publicity Services for providing me with a copy of this book*

You may remember (or you may not) that a while ago, I talked a bit about this book, called Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.  I believed it to be a mysterious, young adult adventure book and for the most part, I was right.  As I said in that post, it reminded me of the times when I read Trixie Belden.  Both series follow a young, curious woman solving mysteries and going on adventures.  This book in particular follows the lovely Kitty Hawk as she tries to unravel a mystery of stolen gold.

After finishing the book, I would say this novel is leaning more towards middle-grade rather than young adult, even though Kitty is a teenager.  Her voice is a little younger, but it just goes to show the kind of person she is - polite, and filled with wonder for the world.  She's fairly smart and very conscious of the way that she lives her life and how it affects other people.  I really enjoyed her character.

Speaking of characters, I have to mention the little voice inside Kitty's head.  It was almost a character itself.  It probably had more dialogue than some of the others!  Kitty would have internal arguments with this "little voice" in her head; she would "snap" and "gasp" at it, but it was all in her mind.  It didn't completely work for me, but it could be entertaining at times.

My favourite part of the novel was the sense of awe and wonder that it portrayed for the natural world.  Some of my favourite scenes involved Kitty observing the environment - like humpback whales and the Northern Lights.  I'm personally quite interested in the natural environment (I'm taking a uni course on environmental science after all), but I still think even if you weren't interested, you would be after this book.  There are so many rich settings and the way they are described is amazing.  I loved feeling as though I was experiencing these awesome things myself.

I was pleasantly surprised to find little maps and photographs scattered throughout the book.  It definitely helped me to keep track of just where Kitty and the other characters were as they traveled (especially considering I'm not familiar with the area) and added to the sense of wonder.  I also loved that there were various references at the back of the book for further reading.  If there was something in the novel that you wanted to know more about, it's almost guaranteed to be a resource mentioned in this portion.

There were a lot of historical elements infused in the story and whilst sometimes I enjoyed reading these tales, sometimes they seemed overly drawn out and I got bored.  Similarly, there were long sections written about hiking through the woods, but in some of these parts nothing significant happened.  It was strange, because some bits were so intense and exciting (there was a car chase that had me on the edge of my seat), but others seemed to go on forever and I just wanted to move on.  I think this is mainly because every tiny detail of what happens over the time frame of the novel is written about - the reader doesn't miss a minute.  It's also probably why the main plot point didn't come into play until almost halfway through the book, which was slightly irritating.  I was left wondering when the story was going to get to the point.

Another source of bother was some of the writing.

“I didn't realize what he meant at first. "What do you mean?" I said.”

There were a few times this sort of thing happened, and I just didn't get it.  Why did it need to be so repetitive?  I know that often in this book repetition was used for humour (and I did laugh out loud a few times - Kitty talking about letting the phone ring twice and then hanging up was great), but other times, like in the quote above, it seemed pointless.

Something interesting to consider is the overall message of the story - or at least, what I interpreted the message to be - that we should “just let nature be nature” and preserve history and cultures.  There were a few times where this message was spelled out for you; the sushi lunch and the Inunnguaq's to name a couple.  But I think it was most powerful when it wasn't so obvious.  The whole idea of the Yukon Gold Rush and the curse of the gold served this larger purpose, which I liked.

I'm going to talk a little about some of the characters now, but I consider them to be spoilers, so if you've read the book, you can highlight the following paragraph to read it!
[Charlie and his brothers were a conundrum for me.  I don't understand how you can be such a nice, genuine bunch but participate in the kidnapping of a young girl!  Aside from this, I did love the brothers and their friendly manner.  I felt super sad when Kitty finally had to say goodbye for good!]

So, I enjoyed Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, but I did have my issues with it.  The descriptions were great, but the pacing was a little off.  If you like adventure novels and a big fan of nature, you will definitely love this novel!

If you want to read a snippet, be sure to check out my previous post on this book!


  1. I totally agree, Sabrina! There were certain parts that were super interesting - the actual cursed-gold plot wasn't bad at all - but the rest of the book definitely dragged at times. There were too many long descriptions of her daily life during the beginning of the book (you're right, it took half the book to get to the 'good stuff' haha), and in general the writing was slow. I'll save the rest for my upcoming review, but you wrote a great one! :D

    - Connie @ The YA Book Thief

    1. Yes! I'm happy to see that you agree with me. I can't wait to see your review, Connie!
      Thanks :)


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