#BookReview by Roxanne Crouse of The Book Flotilla by Daniel Haight #amreading
3 out of 5 Black Cats For Flotilla by Daniel Haight
Flotilla is a crossover apocalyptic science-fiction story about a fourteen-year-old boy named Jim, who leaves his mother on the mainland to live with his father at the colony, a floating, fishing community in the middle of the ocean. He is sent to live with his father after getting out of rehab for alcohol abuse. He spends two summers with his father learning to deal with the strange environment of the colony when a terrorist attack occurs on the mainland throwing Jim’s world into chaos. The father leaves Jim and his visiting younger sister at the colony to fend for themselves, while he helps on the mainland.
This book was sent to me for review. I read the prologue and liked the first person voice and character of Jim and the adventure the prologue promised, so I decided to read on and review the book. Unfortunately, this book dragged on forever with multiple editing problems and redundant passages that could be cut to shorten the work and help it move faster.
The sci-fi apocalyptic part promised in the prologue doesn’t occur until seventy-five percent into the novel. The book starts out with a coming of age literary style about a boy coming to terms with alcohol abuse and a jailbird father who abandoned him. Then near the end changes gears to an apocalyptic situation, almost as if the author didn’t know how to resolve the book he started writing, so decided to throw in the terrorist attack to liven the book up.
I feel the terrorist attacks occur far too late in the novel for it to be a sci-fi apocalyptic story. It should have hit around the twenty-five percent range or at the latest the fifty percent range. Waiting until the end makes it feel like you’ve been thrown into a different novel. Twenty-five percent in would have been plenty of space to establish Jim’s character and his flaws, the colony, and his gypsy-like father. About fifty percent in, I became bored and almost stopped reading. I was tired of waiting for what the prologue promised. I didn’t stop. I began to skip, reading only dialog (which there is little of) and the beginning of paragraphs to get to what I was waiting for.
Some readers may find Jim’s experiences on the ocean colony interesting if you are looking for a book that takes you out of your normal life and puts you in the everyday life of a boy living in a unique situation. Just be warned, the issues between Jim and his father are not resolved in this book. You will have to read on in a second book, which due to the terrorist attack, may or may not be the same story.
Jim must end up at the colony or we don’t have a story, but I have a problem with the way the transfer is handled. What kind of mother sends her rehab son to live out on the ocean with a dad who was in prison and abandoned them all twelve years ago? What kind of a probation officer would agree to this situation? As a mother, I would fight tooth and nail to prevent my son from being sent off to a deadbeat dad. Maybe the mother is bad, too. She isn’t portrayed as a bad, uncaring mother who wants to get rid of the son she can’t control, so it doesn’t make sense to me.
Jim, in my opinion, should be far more upset and angry with his dad than he is as well. That could have made a great character arc for the story instead of throwing in the terrorist attack. Maybe the mother loses a custody battle and is forced to send her son to the dad. The son doesn’t want to go to the dad he hates. Over time the two resolve their issues and maybe the son somehow helps the dad improve his character. These events may take place in a second or third novel. You’ll have to read on to find out.
With the above in mind, I’d like to add this book ends abruptly and nothing is resolved or concluded. I’m beginning to wonder if new self-publishing authors know how to conclude a book with a satisfying ending. I will not read a second and third book by an author who has not concluded something, anything in the first book. I don’t want to waste my time reading four books only to find out it has a terrible conclusion. Prove to me that you know what you’re doing by concluding the first book and still leave enough unanswered for a second book.
Do I recommend this book? Yes as long as you know what you’re getting. The character development is good and the setting is interesting. The author definitely has potential, but for me, my expectations were not met soon enough.
What one thing about this book stood out the most for you?
I enjoyed experiencing everyday life on the floating city. I think the author did an excellent job of bringing the location to life and making it sound real.
Roxanne Crouse loves cats, roller coasters, reading, and photography. She owns her own website called Dark Whimsical Art. As a young girl she wanted to be a writer and wrote her first novel, A Dream Trip to England, at the age of fourteen. That novel will never see the light of day ever again.