Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Down the Yukon by Will Hobbs

This book is actually the sequel to Hobbs' Jason's Gold which details the story of Jason Hawthorn's eleven month journey from New York City to Dawson City with his brothers.

One doesn't necessarily have to have read the aforementioned book in order to follow the events. We do know that the main character Jason during his journey to Dawson City had  developed feelings for a young singer named Jaime and she had promised to return and meet him there.

Hobbs explores the relationship between Jason and his brothers, the impetuous Ethan and the conservative, old-fashioned Abraham. We understand that because of the new circumstances in which the three find themselves that they have some difficulty adjusting and their roles change. Ethan, the middle brother finds himself caught up in a new, unfamiliar life and ends up making a spur of the moment decision which has disastrous consequences for all three brothers.

Although Jason does not go as far as his brother in playing games of chance he does enter the Breakup Lottery (when you read the book you will understand what it refers to) and narrowly misses out on winning. The changing of the seasons leads to a mass exodus from the city as everyone decides to follow the trail of gold. When a race to Nome is announced (carrying a $20000 prize to boot) Jason decide to enter. The timely arrival of his love Jaime solidifies his decision. Jaime is not portrayed as a weak girl however and has a variety of skills which come in useful during the arduous journey.

The two undertake the long, perilous journey together with a small dog called Burnt Paw. The shared adversity ends up bringing the young couple closer together- hardly unexpected I must say. Though at times the book is a tad predictable (even for a young reader) the story is solid enough.

This book is full of adventure, camaraderie, action and friendship and the author made a good decision to set it in the time period of the 1899 gold rush thereby giving it a better feeling of authenticity. I would recommend it for readers aged 9-14.

Book details:
Juvenile Fiction
First published 2001 by HarperCollins Children's Publishers
ISBN: 0-688-17472-8

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