Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (#1) by Iain Reading

Published: 3rd December 2012 Goodreads badge
Amazon Digital Services
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first instalment 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. 

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 climactic 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.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of this book but I was pleasantly surprised. Reading grabs your attention straight away with Kitty in a dire situation, even before we know her we are worried about her, curious how she got in that situation and wondering if she would get out of it. But even outside the drama filled prologue there is an interesting story that is enjoyable to read. Kitty’s journey to study whales in Alaska is something I found really interesting, and Reading details her method and process without making it scientific or unengaging. Even if Kitty was just studying whales I think I would be happy to read about that, but Reading brings us something more than just whales, there is history and suspense, treasure hunting and drama, there’s even a bit of romance snuck in there.

The journey Kitty goes on takes her to real places in Alaska and Canada and Reading brings us along for the journey with wonderful detail that creates vivid images in your mind. Even without knowing the area I could picture the bays and the mountains, teach described rather well through Kitty’s experience and explanation.

Additionally, there are little maps and photos thrown in here and there as well which I thought was a great addition, just a little something to help place where Kitty was, to show her story in these real places. Even without them, though, there is enough detail to picture it in your mind; Reading has done a good job in terms of just enough detail and vivid descriptions.

You can certainly see where the detective agency side of the series comes from, especially based on the events in this book. Kitty is a clever girl, and she works out things fairly quickly and it works out as a great introduction to the series. We see Kitty’s origins, her original intentions and plans. Reading uses Kitty’s voice to explain to us her adventures like a story or report, jokes, jibes, and afterthoughts included. It gives the story a casual nature, more storyteller narration and a chance to be freer with writing style and content.

Kitty is a smart, fearless girl, but she is also curious which can lead to trouble. Her intelligence is shown in numerous situations, as is her resourcefulness, and it was refreshing to see a young girl in command of a machine like a sea plane.

There were some moments that were odd, character wise. Without giving too much away, a few characters end up entirely different I felt from their first introduction. Excuses are there, I understand that, but it seemed such a change, it didn’t really feel like a one off situation and made me confused. Again, not pressing to the story, it just felt odd as I read.

I quite liked this book, the Yukon gold side was intriguing and had enough mystery and twists to make it enjoyable, even enough to create your own conclusions and be surprised at the revelations. I think this is a good start to a series as it provides a great origin story and starts Kitty off in a great direction for following books.

You can purchase Kitty Hawk via the following

Amazon | Fishpond


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