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Uncle Arctica (Volume 1) Paperback – June 7, 2015
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About the Author
Drew Harmon grew up on the east side of Indianapolis in the days when folks didn't lock their homes, seat-belts were optional, and there were no mansions on Geist Reservoir. He has worked in an assortment of occupations: from asbestos inspection to massage therapy; sailing instruction to TV production; home health care to micro-philanthropy, and independent publishing. When not on the lake with his family, Drew acts as fundraiser and project consultant for Messiah's Children Rescue and Life Center, located in Moi's Bridge, Kenya. He is also the author of the sequel to Uncle Arctica, entitled The Storms of Tarshish.
Top customer reviews
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I have read this book twice, and still my favorite part is found in chapter five, where this young fellow, Blake, is introduced to an amazing gift-his maternal family's heritage of sailing and the history of the lake.
This book was hard to put down; one is compelled to continuously turn the page to find out what’s next. For this reader who is used to enjoying sci-fi and psychology books 200-300 pages in length, this is the first novel that I’ve read in its entirety- and twice! I hope to soon give this book to a cousin of mine who loves to sail!
Each of the characters in the book are full of depth and so well-written that you will feel like you are living the adventure with them. From main character Blake Barber, his guardians, uncle Carson 'Arctica' Urquart and Daniel 'Tripper' Gunn, to fellow stars Mia Devlin, Griffin Williams, and even the 'villains' of the story, Hunter, Jack, etc; each character is full of color and life, and do not disappoint in any way.
The plot is also very engaging. The simple story of a very naive, skittish young boy who gets thrust into an unknown world of sailing and dealing with bullies soon explodes into a complicated and winding path of conspiracies, cults, and other dangers that force young Blake to face each event as either 'viking or victim' and to deal with the consequences, whether good or bad, of his choices. Through each encounter though, Blake grows and learns, until by the end of the book, you will react much like his family when they first encounter him.
This is one thing that tends to separate this book from many others of a similar 'coming of age' genre, and really raises the bar back up to where it needed to be. The characters actually grow and change throughout the course of the book. Most modern books that deal with 'coming of age' stories don't really handle it well. Series like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Twilight take a character and have them deal with each situation, each choice that they are presented, the exact same way, at least until the very end, if it all. They never really learn from their actions or the consequences thereof, much like a dog returning to his vomit. There is no growth in the maturity of the character, and they pretty much stay the same way throughout the whole series. Not so with Uncle Arctica. It brings to mind many of the old school coming of age stories, like Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, or Huckleberry Finn.
The ending does sputter a little bit, as there are many threads that need to be tied back up due to the plot getting thick, but you never feel lost trying to figure out what's going on. Blake is the central spindle from which these threads unwind, so it's easy to see to keep track of. You only start concerning yourself about what's going to happen next or how that situation is going to resolve itself. In the end, the threads are for the most part tied neatly together, though one thread seems hastily knotted, and not very tightly, as if there was more that could have been done. However, you will leave this book happy, and sad. Happy because of how things end, but sad, wishing it will not end. Thankfully, we do have a sequel on the way, and already I am waiting in anticipation to continue along with Blake 'Caduggin, Tux, Sparky' Barber Urquart, in his adventures.