Review: Kerr Thomson – The Sound of Whales

The Sound of Whales
Kerr Thomson

The summer in Scotland is just as miserable as its winter, at least for its forced inhabitants. With nothing to do, the two Scottish boys hunt down whales, each in their own way, and the Texan girl gets caught up purely by accident. With unknown bad-guys on the loose, the children need to keep their communication open.

25094908I felt like the author was trying to tackle too big an issue with too small a novel. People smuggling is a serious offence, but this novel couldn’t get deep enough into it to even really start a conversation on it. The same thing bothered me about the culture. The dance and the Sunday church could have had so much more emphasis and interest in them.

Should I tick the box for fantasy on this one? Or something else? The whale drawing abilities were something that I could put down to real-life, or augmented reality, I wasn’t really sure where to put it. That being said, it was certainly sensitively done and I felt absolutely certain that there wasn’t anything being made up.

Dunny doesn’t speak. To you or I, or Hayley for that matter, his name sounds like, well, a toilet. I think the author has done that on purpose. On the other hand, I’m certain that Fraser often feels like his brother has his head in the dunny most of the time! Dunny certainly doesn’t make thing straight-forward.

I was grateful for the lack of ‘ikky love stuff’. You know the typical boy meets girl, they fall in love immediately, but neither want to admit it? Yeah, doesn’t happen, instead its more about being friends first, overcoming a lot of cultural boundaries and some language ones as well.

This novel was driven by subterfuge. The ending was not what one might have expected. I came away from reading this novel with mixed feelings. If it was planned to give an overview on how life can be complicated, then yes, it did the job. But if you wanted something more powerful in terms of human feeling, this said it would, but failed to deliver. I didn’t actually care very much whether any of them lived or died.

I’m surprised by the lack of other reviews for this novel. It’s actually pretty good, I tossed up between a 3 stars and a 4 stars, and settled on 4, because I thought about it while I was away from it, and really wanted to finish it. Get on it! Read it! Even if it’s better suited to teenagers, it’s totally a book you want your teenager to read, and it might even appeal to non-readers (provided you sell it to them in the right way).

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