Thank you to Book Publicity Services and the author, Iain Reading, for providing me with free copy of Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
As the first in the series, readers are treated to the origin story of Kitty’s Flying Detective Agency. Kitty is a strong 19-year-old woman who learns to believe in herself, her expertise, and her abilities. She’s responsible, reliable, and an all-around great role model for young readers. When she finds herself in the middle of a gold heist, she uses her instincts and her ingenuity to find herself safely on the other side. In the meantime, she learns that her knowledge and skills can be put to use solving mysteries across the continent.
One of the highlights of Reading’s writing is his ability to seamlessly include historical events in the narrative. Kitty’s knowledge of famous locations only enhanced my reading experience and made me want to dive down the rabbit hole of research about the Klondike Gold Rush. (I taught a really fun unit to my sixth graders one year about the Klondike Gold Rush and I think this would be a great companion to that unit!) Reading’s prose is gripping and will have you hooked from the first page. I’m not usually one for wilderness adventure stories, but I have to admit I’d like to see where Kitty goes next.
Now, with all I’ve said before you might be wondering why I only gave this book three out of five stars. Here’s what I wished I could have found in between the pages: more development of the characters relationships. I’ve talked a lot lately with my friends and family about the importance of round characters. A character that develops from the first page to the last is one of the most important aspects of a truly great story. The same can be said for the relationships. They must develop-just to push the plot forward for the plot’s sake. Unfortunately, I felt that the four criminals that Kitty encounters (and spends most of the book with) were just blah. They kidnapped Kitty and yet their relationship was never more than some quippy responses back and forth. I wish there was more tension or that Kitty’s personality would have shone through the situation.
The book’s chapters were short, lending itself for many short reading sessions. I think that the chapter’s length greatly plays into the ability of the author to develop the characters. When we’re switching focus every few pages, it’s tough to get deep. We have a lot of roots, but they aren’t very deep.
Overall, I think Kitty Hawk provides a great context about the Klondike Gold Rush with a strong female lead. Kitty has a lot of potential to grow in the rest of the series, and I think Reading has truly set up this series for success.
TL/DR: If you’re looking for a modern-day Nancy Drew who can fly planes, Kitty Hawk is the girl for you.
Rating: 3/5 stars
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