Audiobook Review | Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene

Spoiler Free

I didn’t actually believe that a luxurious cruise ship could have any real mysteries onboard. Boy, was I wrong!

Published: February 5, 2013

Publisher: Aladdin

Length: About 4 hours, eAudio

Series: Nancy Drew Diaries #1

2 Stars

If I don’t act fast, this might be everyone’s final – and fatal – voyage!

Nancy, Bess, and George are cruising dangerous waters on a tour of Alaska. Becca Wright, an old friend of Nancy’s, is the Assistant Cruise Director of the Arctic Star, a posh new ship. But Becca needs Nancy’s help when strange things keep happening aboard the opulent ocean liner: The swimming pool becomes a floating grave; a famous passenger is threatened; and even the seemingly innocent mini-golf course becomes a perilous playground. With the majestic and mysterious Alaskan scenery as a backdrop, Nancy and company have to find out who’s trying to sabotage the maiden voyage and why.


Okay so I have to admit that I didn’t go into this one expecting too much, but I’m still slightly confused about a lot of things and quite sad I didn’t love this. Middle grade isn’t a genre I read a lot of but I do enjoy it when I dip my toes in, so I was bummed this didn’t match my expectations.

If you know me you know I love Scooby-Doo and all those old school mystery solving teens that are popular just as much now as then. I picked this up for something fun to listen to that had those same Scooby-Doo like elements I wanted, and while the mystery itself delivered, I don’t think the book did.

First off, I know this is supposed to be like a fresh take and a modern reboot for the Nancy Drew gang, but I’m not sure it’s very successful, at least for kids. Nancy and her friends appear to be in college now, although their ages are never expressly mentioned (that I remember, at least). Bess is dating a college sophomore who tags along on the trip, so I’m assuming they’re all in college. A 13-year-old dating a college dude would be pretty weird, no? Also, why even keep Alan (Bess’s boyfriend) in the dark about there being a mystery? Just tell the dude. I was fine with the ages and while they don’t talk/act like typical college kids (this is a very PG book) I’m not sure how kids are going to be able to relate to these older characters.

Second, this was way too short for what the author was trying to do. It’s like a 3 hour audio and 130 page book that just is so fast paced your head spins, and not in the good way. It’s like we don’t get any time to have the story actually develop, we get no time to see and understand the characters, and we get even less time to understand what’s happening. Nancy talks incessantly about clues and persons of interest and does absolutely nothing all book besides go through theories. Of which there are too many, I may add. You’re thrown names left and right and it’s just way too much for a book that small. It’s confusing and not fun, which is what I wanted to read this for in the first place.

I was hooked because I loved the idea of a mystery aboard a luxury Alaskan cruise but this was just….. meh. I’m really sad I didn’t love this and I wanted it to be a fun break from the tons of heavy mysteries I’ve been reading, but it was more of a let down than anything. If it had been a smidge longer, if we had gotten to see the characters have fun and engage more, I think this could have been great. I may continue reading since it wasn’t fully solved in this book and the audiobooks are only like 3 hours long, but we’ll see.

P.S. From now on you’ll see me sharing links to my favorite indie stores (if applicable) rather than the big name stores!

Happy reading
Book Links


Fabled (local Waco store!)

Murder By the Book (local Houston store!)

BookPeople (local Austin store!)

The Nancy Drew Diaries (2-7)


2 thoughts on “Audiobook Review | Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene

  1. Pingback: Wrap-Up | November 2020 | Tonkin About Books

  2. Pingback: My Most Disappointing Reads of 2020 | Tonkin About Books

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