Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review - The Dagger Quick by Brian Eames (3/5 stars)

The Dagger Quick (Paula Wiseman Books)Reading level: Middle Grade
Genre: Adventure
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Release Date: May 10, 2011
ISBN: 978-1442423114
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone?
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program.  It looked like a fun book, a rousing pirate adventure of sorts.  It was okay; the pacing of the story is a bit off and the characters a bit inconsistent.  I do think younger readers will enjoy the adventure and the pirates.

Kitto Quick is a clubfoot who is learning his father's trade of being a cooper.  Kitto doesn't want to be a cooper though he wants to sail the high seas.  When part of Kitto's father's sordid past comes back to haunt him; Kitto finds himself swept up into an adventure involving sailors, pirates, and many other dicey characters.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, it is very readable.  I loved how faithful and determined Kitto was to keep his family together and loved that Kitto learns to not let his disability hold him back.  The second half of the book was full of action and adventure and kept me engaged as a reader.

I had some problems with the book too.  The book starts off slowly; it takes a while for things to get going and I found my attention wandering again and again.  Since this is aimed at younger readers this could be a problem.  Another problem I had was how the characters, mainly Kitto, drastically changed personality over a short amount of time.  Kitto goes from being a self-degrading clubfoot with poor self-esteem, to a boy who decides to take on the captain for what's right in a matter of just a chapter or two.  It just seemed abrupt.  The same can be said of Kitto's uncle; in the beginning he is portrayed as a somewhat evil menace...then later in the book he is soft-hearted and willing to take an additional child on his ship.  It was just inconsistent.

I did not enjoy the ending of the book either.  It was way too rushed.  After spending the whole book building up to the confrontation between Kitto's Uncle and his nemesis the whole battle and the aftermath are wrapped up in a couple chapters.  Eames should have spent less time on setup and more time on the exciting bits of the story.  The book is left completely open with a number of things unresolved; I can only guess that there will be a sequel.

Overall it is an okay read.  I think middle grade boys will like this book because of the adventure and the pirates; the inconsistencies in characterization problem won't bother that age set as much.  The book was poorly paced though and I had trouble getting through the beginning because it was somewhat boring; then the ending was rushed and left wide open.  So while I enjoyed the writing style and the adventure and action in the end of the book; I thought the pacing and characterization could have used some improvement.  A decent read if you want to read about pirates and adventure; recommended for middle grade to young adult.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

The Dagger Quick (Paula Wiseman Books) 

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