review: big water by andrea curtis

March 24, 2018

Thinking about facing one’s fate head on is perfectly fine when it’s theoretical, distant, a glimmer of an idea, not even the idea itself.

A heavily laden ship with flimsy lifeboats and panicked passengers in heavy waters – the perfect foundation for a heart wrenching drama to unfold. Big Water is a fictional portrayal of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.

I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Orca Book Publishers and NetGalley. This is a spoiler-free review which can also be viewed HERE.

To be honest, I only asked for this book for two reasons: first, I really liked the cover (especially with its pastel colors) and second, I love to read about nautical disasters. Mostly because they are heart wrenching and often tend to be forgotten by the majority. The sinking of the SS Asia was unknown to me to this point but because I am generally interested in this kind of topic, I started researching about this tragedy even before I received the eARC.

Grieving over her twin brother’s death, seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney decides to run away from home and with the help of her cousin ends up on the SS Asia – a steamship that transports passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes. The weather conditions are bad and a storm arises faster than expected, causing the heavily laden Asia to sink. Christina is lucky enough to be rescued by one of the lifeboats before drowning or freezing to death. Ultimately she ends up with Daniel – a boy her age –, the two of them being the only survivors of the shipwreck.

Overall this was a really interesting and intense story, but still I found some flaws within. I guess the story would have been better off as a short story – the book itself is only around 190 pages long but the beginning felt somehow too rushed for a book and I would have loved to see the story evolving some time before Christina boards the SS Asia. In this case Big Water would have been a wonderful book with no need to cropping it down to a short story. But as it is, I sometimes got the feeling of a pace that was much too slow and would have been improved with a fast pacing short story. I Hope you’ll get what I mean. The story itself is interesting nonetheless.

I really enjoyed the writing and flow of the author – the description of the scenery was well-written and helped me to picture the surroundings of Christina. What distracted me were Christina’s flashbacks to her twin brother and the portrayal of the characters themself. While I could retrace especially Christina’s feelings and emotions, I still couldn’t quote connect to her or Daniel. They seemed distant to me and I felt more like an observer instead of being part of the story. Furthermore I was somehow surprised how the teenagers reacted to each other, but I guess this came through shock and the dramatic situation. With that being said, I was actually glad how the book ended concerning their connection.

In conclusion, this was a solid read that I overall enjoyed. There are some thing I would have changed, but I definitely recommend the book if you’re looking for a nice short read to wind down. Personally, I probably won’t reread the book but I’d read another story written by Andrea Curtis. Worth mentioning once again is the beautiful cover – a wonderful piece of art which compliments the story it presents.

How about you, have you heard about Big Water before or are even interested in reading it? If so, you can find the book on BookDepository*.

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