Quest by Kathleen Benner Duble

November 1, 2009
By Gloria G BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
Gloria G BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

If you were to know anything about Henry Hudson, you would likely know that his story is a rather tragic one. Knowing next to nothing about him, when picking up this book, the ending of the story was a surprise to me. Quest follows the last of Henry Hudson’s journeys to find the passage through the north to Asia. Kathleen Benner Duble does a phenomenal job of keeping suspense throughout the whole book and has a very unique way of relaying the story of Henry and his crew. I liked the book and the way it was executed, but the story itself I found sad and depressing.

One of the things that really caught my eye when looking at this book in the library was the fact that it is written in four unique and interesting points of view, all of which captured my attention. The first point is of John Hudson, Henry’s seventeen-year-old son who is a part of his father’s quest. His point of view is written in logs, so it is in first person, but not like a diary. John is an energetic, fun-loving teenager who is always trying to brighten up the ship and keep everyone in high spirits one way or another; often by pranking other members of the crew. The next character is Richard Hudson, John’s kid brother. His point of view is in third person, and through him the reader learns about Richard, his mother, and his older brother Oliver, and how life can grow hard for the family while Henry and John are out at sea. Next is Isabella Digges. She is a Nobleman’s daughter and is romantically involved with John, even though he is below her rank. She is sent to spy on the Dutch for the British, in order to find information about their journeys. She records what is happening in her diary and the trials she goes through during her mission. Lastly is Seth Syms, another sailor who is part of the crew on Henry’s ship. He is taking the place of his cousin on the boat and befriends John. His story is recorded through letters to his mother that he plans on giving to her when he returns home. These unique viewpoints are what caught my interest when looking at this book and what kept me going as I read it.
I liked the book and the way the author wrote it, but I wish the end hadn’t been as sad and depressing. This book has a great amount of voice. Each of the characters has a unique way of talking and it’s fun to read about what they think about their surroundings and each other. Dramatic irony is a key aspect in what makes this book hard to read, because you know that the end is going to be tragic, but other characters do not and it’s hard to see them hold on to their last slivers of hope when you know that there is nothing to have hope in. It was hard for me to read the ending, because the characters had been through a great deal and it was hard to see it all end so suddenly.
This book was well written, and for people who like suspenseful, dramatic books this is a great read. If you like happy endings and no tragedy in books, then you will be disappointed with this book.

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