Genre: Fiction, Classic, Adventure, Literature
The adventures of David Balfour, a young orphan, as he journeys through the dangerous Scottish Highlands in an attempt to regain his rightful inheritance.
This book has been under my bed for years, I found it the other day during a clear out with no memory at all of buying it or even what it was about. I figured if I put it back under the bed it would live there for another 5 years so it was now or never to read it. After checking it out on Goodreads it had relatively good reviews, I knew I recognised the author name from somewhere (he wrote Treasure Island) and so figured this had to be a good book as Treasure Island is such a great book! That was obviously what I was thinking when I originally picked this book up years ago, now however I’m kind of regretting that decision.
So before I start this review I’m going to point out that it was originally written in 1886 therefore the language obviously reflects this time period. However I will still comment on it because it made a huge impact on my reading of this book, I just wanted to let you guys know that I am aware of when this was written.
In this book we follow David, a young lad who gets kidnapped aboard a ship and has to find his way back alive to reclaim his possible fortune.
Immediately going into this book I knew I was going to have some issues, normally I can get through 100 pages a night before bed however I was getting through about 10 before I’d just give up. The writing is so different from anything else that I had read, I just couldn’t get used to the language, it is old English anyway and added ontop of that there was a Scottish dialect and everything was written literally as it is said in that dialect. Therefore it became such a challenge to actually decipher the words that I found I couldn’t get into the story because I was concentrating on the individual words so much. About 50 pages in I was seriously ready to give up, that’s when I went back to Goodreads and read the reviews, someone had said to read the book aloud or as an audiobook.
Now I am not an audiobook fan, I get too distracted while reading them and so don’t actually count it as reading, however for the sake of getting through this book I thought I would give it a go, therefore I read the book at the same time as the audiobook was playing. Suddenly I could understand the story a lot easier and was getting back to my normal pace of reading (or else it would have taken me the rest of the year to get through it).
You’d think that was the end of my troubles but no, I soon realised that the story itself was not that interesting. I’m not a massive fan of pirates, ships and adventure stories and thought that the title of “kidnapped” would have been an entirely different story. It wasn’t. However I figured I had come this far I might as well try and finish it now.
The first half of the book isn’t actually that bad, we see David make the best of a bad situation and adapt to life on the ship. I liked reading how he interacted with the crew and stood up for what he believed was right even though it must have been difficult for him. However the second half of the book really dragged, it was the same repeated scene over and over again with just a change of scenerary as the only difference. I think this could have been hugely reduced and made the book a lot shorter.
The ending of the book had such a build up, we know David is likely to obtain some money and we know his uncle is responsible for the kidnapping therefore you expect an argument or at least something massive. However for everything the uncle had put him through the outcome just didn’t seem like enough justice. I wanted more and just didn’t get it at all which was a massive let down to the whole book as I really thought it was going to build up to something big.
Overall I wouldn’t recommend this book, I think if you like these kind of adventure stories then you will be more likely to enjoy it than me however I find the language very difficult to read. If you do read this then I would strongly recommend the audiobook which does make it a lot easier to read.
I find rating this book quite difficult, it wasn’t a very fast or enjoyable read as the language is really difficult but you have to remember how old the book is – obviously the language will reflect that but for me it just did not make it an enjoyable read. Therefore I cannot rate this highly as I didn’t enjoy the story and the language made it a difficult read
Summing up: Difficult to understand, read with the audiobook!