Flotilla is an unyielding exploration of people and technology in a perilous world. When 15-year-old Jim joins his dad on Colony D, he doesn’t see it as the new frontier in green technology and sustainability; he sees a free pass out of rehab to spend the summer on a man-made island in the Pacific. Jim thinks his troubles are marooned on the mainland, but it turns out that his dad has secrets of his own. When things stop adding up, and Jim becomes suspicious, he makes a horrible discovery.
But now, that’s the least of his problems.
The United States come under attack, and Jim’s parents go missing. Drug runners and modern-day pirates are coming to settle a score. All he and his sister have now are an old boat, limited supplies, and each other. Jim must race against time if he wants to escape the catastrophic meltdown of civilization. – Goodreads Synopsis
Flotilla is a slow-burn book, and as soon as that became apparent, I started to struggle with it. There’s nothing wrong with it, by any means, but when I got through the first 100 pages and it still set-up, it started taking willpower to shoulder through. Part of it is a basic disconnect from the main character. I was a bit of a straight-laced child, so I just could not find any way to latch onto the main character. He was the type of kid I glowered at, then ignored when I was that age. Eventually (around 250 pages in), the kid grows up a bit, and become someone I could sympathize with, especially in the weirdness that was starting to happen.
The last third of the book was interesting. It’s one of those things where I can see why the author thought the build-up was necessary, and it definitely contributed to making the ending as powerful as it was. The last 120 pages is what I wanted the whole book to be, even though I understood why that wasn’t possible. The result of all the action and stuff being packed into the end, though, is that it felt like it the climax was over too soon/ a flash in the pan considering the amount of teasing and lead-on that went into it.
I will say from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, my feelings on the main character slowly evolved. I didn’t particularly care for the kid in the beginning, but by the end I was moved by his struggles. He was a good kid underneath it all, forced to grow up too soon. His dismay, his pain, his questions, and his observations were all on point. Jim was a ‘real’ boy character that was nicely fleshed out, and the author did a great job on the other characters too. Character development is definitely his strong point.
Overall, Flotilla moved a bit too slow for it to be satisfying for me, but for people who aren’t quite as fast-paced as I am it’d probably be a very satisfying read. Haight creates a colony of people who you can do everything but actually touch. Nothing about the book stands out as a “that couldn’t happen” and the technology involved makes it the beginning of a dystopia set very close to our actual time. It’s a satisfying story, but not one I would recommend for people who like things to visibly move along quickly.
Book Details for the Flotilla Review