Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book: Flotilla by Daniel Haight

The story of Jim and this part of his journey to manhood kept me reading until the end. What I read was a great story, with some caveats.

On the plus side, great characterization, and the descriptions of the Colony were well-done enough that I could visualize something I never actually knew existed. Jim was a typical teenage boy - drinking, rebellion, thinking about sex, love for his sister, frustration with his parents - very easy to get into his head and remember how things used to be for me. And the "I don't know why I drink" part was spot-on. An addict really can't answer that question, particularly one who *knows* that what he's doing is bad for him, doesn't want to do it, but does it anyway. Why did you do that? I don't know is a valid answer, not a copout, for some, and it worked very well in this case.

There were some inconsistencies, though. It looked to me as if the story had originally partly been written in third-person, and not all the third-person was removed. There were over a dozen places where editing had obviously been done, but not completed - extra words were still in the sentences, words with the wrong tense or wrong point of view were still in place, things like that. Within a couple of chapters, Madison was described as being ten, eleven and then eight. This definitely should have been caught by any competent editor. Jim was allegedly fourteen in the second summer (though he was described as being fifteen more than once), which is When Things Happened. However, he was scared spitless of being drafted, even though he was under the age (stated as older than fifteen) at which he would need to worry. It made that particular part of the book ring falsely for me, even though the action was fantastic.

My final and biggest complaint is that the story just ended. The escape reached a certain point where Jim could relax a little bit and gear up for the rest of his journey north, and I put my finger on the right-hand side of my Kindle page and nothing. I poked at the darn Kindle five or six times before I realized the book was just done. There was no epilogue. There was no warning. There was no wind-down. Just the current location, as is at the end of every chapter, and then nothing.

To Haight's credit, none of these things kept me from finishing the book. I *wanted* to keep reading about Jim and his adventures. Imagine how marvelous it would have been without these problems!