Sunday, January 10, 2016

Triple Book Review- The Titanic Trilogy by Gordon Korman

The Titanic Trilogy: Unsinkable, Collision Course, and S.O.S. by Gordon Korman

An Irish runaway down on his luck. The daughter of an Earl. A stoker's son. The daughter of a suffragette. These people, for various reasons, have found themselves aboard the R.M.S. Titanic, on the maiden voyage none of them know will be historic. This journey to America is going to change all their lives. Some look promising, some devastating.
And some don't look like they'll survive. Someone else is on the ship with them: Jack the Ripper himself.

That's my summary. Here's the ones I pulled from
Unsinkable- The Titanic is meant to be unsinkable, but as it begins its maiden voyage, there's plenty of danger waiting for four of its young passengers. Paddy is a stowaway, escaping a deadly past. Sophie's mother is delivered to the ship by police - after she and Sophie have been arrested. Juliana's father is an eccentric whose riches can barely hide his madness. And Alfie is hiding a secret that could get him kicked off the ship immediately.
The lives of these four passengers will be forever linked with the fate of Titanic. And the farther they get from shore, the more the danger looms. . . .
Collision Course- The Titanic has hit the high seas--and moves steadily toward its doom. Within the luxury of the cabins and the dark underbelly of the ship, mysteries unfold--a secret killer who may be on board, a legacy that may be jeopardized, and a vital truth that will soon be revealed. For Paddy, Sophie, Juliana, and Alfie, life on the Titanic brings both hiding and seeking, as their lives become irrevocably intertwined.

And then, of course, an iceberg appears, and the stage is set for the final scene.

S.O.S.- The Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable - the largest passenger steamship in the world, one of the biggest and most luxurious ships ever to operate.

For Paddy, Sophie, Juliana, and Alfie, the Titanic is full of mysteries - whether they're to be found in the opulent first-class cabins and promenade decks or the shadows in the underbelly of the ship. Secrets and plans are about to be revealed - only now disaster looms, and time is running out. The four of them need to find the truth, unmask the killer...and try not to go down with the ship.

If you don't know about the Titanic, something's wrong. Go look up your history. For the rest of you, what more context do you need?

Korman's style is simple and plain, very clean and direct. He doesn't mince words or overdescribe. But he doesn't oversimplify, either. He's precise, which can come across as clipped, but mostly, it just makes for quick storytelling. He doesn't get flowery or distracted, which I, as a writer, can struggle with, so I respect that. He tells the story without wandering. That makes these books very short, which is why I'm reviewing them all together.

My Thoughts
I listened to these books through, and the narrator was brilliant. The plot is tight and well-woven. The pacing is quick, so each of these books is about 3-3.5 hours each. Easy listening. Had I been reading, easy reading. These grab the reader and don't let go. I did have a tiny bit of issue telling the two girls, Sophie and Julie, apart at the beginning, but that went away fast. They defined themselves and kept to their definitions. And despite the short length of the books and the fairly large cast, everyone had attention paid to them. I could see the character development. I didn't feel like anyone in particular got shafted or left out. And even though Paddy is clearly the driving force behind the whole trilogy, he doesn't get that much special attention. He's at the center of the wheel, but he's still part of the tapestry. Everything would have fallen apart without any one of the characters.
I loved the addition of the Jack the Ripper mystery to the Titanic story. I thought it was brilliant, or else this could easily have been just another "THE SHIP IS SINKING WHAT DO WE DO?!" story. Korman nailed this journey with that subplot addition. It turned a disaster book into a pursuit book, and I think it was brilliant. It certainly grabbed my attention.
That said, I don't think it should have been three books. Korman could easily have combined them into one book and been done with it.

Would I Recommend This Book? Sure, with reservations. Personally, I felt that releasing this as three books rather than one was an attention/cash grab, though I suppose the prices would all add up to the same amount. I guess it's just the consumer in me, but having this trilogy be three books feels like a waste. However, ignoring that, this is a fun, suspensful, engaging story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I give The Titanic Trilogy a sinking (yeah, I went there) 5 of 5 stars.

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