Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: Calico Pennants by David A. Ross

Grade: B+
Pages: Approx 275 (ebook ARC from Publisher)
Calico Pennants: A NovelIn this award-winning novel, a weekend sailor shipwrecked in the South Seas eventually discovers the island's only other human inhabitant—a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to 1930s lost flying ace Amelia Earhart.
Summary: The scenes shift between a newly minted sailor in Hawaii and the famous Amelia Earhart's cross-pacific journey for the first half of the book. After closely following her adventure across south-east Asia, Britain and other islands, she crash lands onto a  strange island in the middle of the ocean. Julian and Amelia meet here, across time and space, facilitated by a kooky and talkative parrot.
Overall: The primary driver of the tale is the well-scripted characterization - the action is fairly slow to start off. It does pick up as you keep reading, and draws one into a beautifully described sybaritic island-world. The run to the ending is strong and pretty fantastic!!
Plus: The scenes are very authentic in their emotions and reactions. I loved some of the lines in the book - I've quoted one of many I liked at the end of the post. The entire last around-the-world trip Amelia makes is stunningly researched, authentic and gripping. I would almost skim over the Julian bits to get back to her flight. The island scenes between the survivors are completely plausible, and the unveiling of the island's strangeness is a lot of fun to read. 
Minus: Initially, I didn't take to Julian's character - he didn't seem very much of a strong protagonist to me. However, the interaction between Amie and Julian is real and key to the rest of the book.
I would recommend it to: Alternate history buffs, Purdue graduates (Amelia and Purdue university had lots of ties - trivia: Purdue also was the first university to get an airport)
My fav Line:
"Perhaps there are no accidents", Amie speculated. "What if events and situations manifest out of our deepest feelings and desires?"
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  1. Thanks for an informative review. If I can comment on the cover, this looks really unusual, almost like a hologram.

  2. An original book, thanks for the review!

  3. @Petty - I'm not sure that I liked the cover, it was welllll into the middle of the book that I figured out what it was supposed to be!!
    *yes, sometimes I'm stupid :)*


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