The Last Pilot, a novel, written by Benjamin Johncock hit stores in the midst of ABC’s hit The Astronaut Wives Club. The timing couldn’t have been better with people hungry for more space adventure stories, following America’s historic timeline of the Space Race. But sadly, while I had hopped for a blastoff of awesome, The Last Pilot fell more into the category of a failed launch.
First of all I couldn’t get over the non-usage of quotation marks around dialog. It was super confusing at times and felt a little bit like an unnecessary mess. While the characters had some strong personalities, which lead to some amazing moments in dialog; the constant he said, she said descriptive tags drained the power out of the writing. Leaving great lines (mostly from Pancho and Grace) to just fall flat, halting any chance to allow the reader to sink their teeth into the character’s development. While the dialog was one of my biggest issues, the main characters continued to fall flat throughout the plot.
My favorite moments of the book all revolve around Pancho and Florence. These two side characters, who only show up in less than half the book, steal the show. For the first few chapters, it was like pulling teeth to get me to keep reading. It was just dragging on and it felt at times, caught in endless loops of story that were not necessary. However, when Florence, the daughter of Jim and Grace Harrison, entered the picture everything changed. Just the simple character development of a toddler was able to reach into this reader and for the first time actually find a connection and interest to what this story was about. Sadly that feeling was as fleeting as Florence was in the book.
Besides the main characters seeming to be dry at times and lackluster, the plot of the story at times felt rushed. I’m not exactly sure how some of the points in the story were connected. It left me wishing the author had spent more time developing the bigger moments, then trying to just brush past them for what some might deem as “exciting” moments. I just can’t say it enough, there was no connection from the story to the reader. Different elements were not clicking and left me at times having to reread pages because I could have sworn I missed important details.
While I battled to connect with the writing in The Last Pilot, I completely loved the over all concept. I think the story is unique and heartbreaking. As well as uplifting and wholesome. I believe that is why I had such a hard time with the writing, because the plot concept sounds so amazing. It’s just the delivery fell short. The Last Pilot might have ended up as a total bummer for me, others seem to really be enjoying it. So check out The Last Pilot, at Barnes and Noble Discover Selection and see if maybe this book is for you. If you read it or are reading it, I would love to hear what you guys think of it!