Nanavut: An Arctic Thriller by Roger Herst - A Review

My reading has been at an all-time low lately. The last book I read before the one I'm about to introduce you to was Paris Letters by Janice Macleod, a travel memoir that really hit home for me. I was on a reading kick, having just read several books in a short period of time and then I started reading Nanavut and things just took a downward dive. There's no correlation between the book and the slow period. Most of the time it's just life getting in the way or the wrong book at the wrong time. A perfect example is The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I absolutely hated that book but managed to read it in record time. However, when I read Accidental Happiness by Meredith Rachek, a book I loved, it took me months. I was asked to read Nanavut and provide an honest review by the publisher and generously provided a free copy to do so. It has embarrassingly been sitting on my bookshelf since late last summer. So, here we are, almost one year later and I have my final thoughts. Check it out below.

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

Under the vast frozen tundra of the northern territories of Canada lie untapped natural resources. There is a fight brewing for control of these profitable resources between the native population and outside interest. In the middle is a revered veterinarian who becomes the unlikely leader of her people after her father’s murder. Can she preserve the soul of her ancestral home and solve her father’s murder?

There are a lot of pros and cons to Nanavut. The mystery element was welcoming. I hadn't read a mystery in a while and I was looking forward to it. I enjoyed several of the characters, especially Nils, a law enforcement officer who takes things into his own hands. It was also interesting to learn about a new culture that I had never even heard of before reading this book. Nanavut is a real territory in northern Canada and this was my first glimpse into its people. When it came to the story, I was intrigued to find out how things would play out with the murder and consequent election. I won't reveal details but I will say, Herst didn't disappoint when the truth was released in the end. 

When it came to reading Nanavut, I found the writing to be a bit dry. Instead of reading a story, I felt like I was reading a documentary. It was lacking in personality and passion, almost as if Herst was not interested or invested in what he was creating at all. In regards to Leetia Quilliq, the main character, I found her to be pretentious, stiff and lacking in spirit. She had a few moments of notable character but overall she lacked gumption. Finally, one thing that really bothered me was the topic of Leetia becoming a mother. Several of the male characters proclaimed themselves good mates for her since she'll most likely want to be having children soon and Leetia considered each of them as good mates as well. It was an unattached way of discussing starting a family. It was also made to sound as if her biological clock was ticking and she better start having kids soon. And in full disclosure, there's just something about the word "mate" that rubs me wrong.

In the end, I give Nanavut a mediocre review. I don't want to be too harsh because ultimately this was not the right book for me. However, the mystery element was well done and intriguing and I genuinely did enjoy getting to know a new culture. With that said, I'll give Nanavut 4/5 stars. Unlike many other books I've read, you are 100% satisfied with the ending which earns many points in my book. I won't give any details away but character arcs are complete and the plot comes full circle. The end is complete and you can put it down without feeling like you need more information.