Voyage to the World’s End by Malcolm Pate
The world is flat, or so the Zenetic society theorizes in Malcolm Pate’s novel ‘Voyage to the World’s End.’ David Penhallion, a man with ambition and hopes of one day commanding his own ship finds himself as a first officer on the Griffin, whose mission is to discover if the world is flat. During the course of the novel, David suffers a great tragedy, finds love, and conquers evil. With his friend Richard, and the mysterious apparition of the Grainman, David overcomes setbacks and brings justice to himself and loved ones. Meeting friends along his journey, such as Captain Horatio of the Griffin, and Elizabeth, a widow, brings different perspectives to the novel and modesty to the storyline. At the end of the novel the world seems just a little bit bigger to David and his voyage partners.
Written in past tense and first person, ‘Voyage to the World’s End’ feels like a diary. Changing which character narrates the story gives the story a great sense of depth and various dimensions to explore. The story is adventurous and unique, but lack of description and dialogue between characters limits the depth of illustration. When the main characters are on the voyage, it is exciting because they are consistently interacting with each other and the pace is fast. However, Pate’s transitions between passages are somewhat clunky and do not contribute much to the plot. He makes a splash of creative ideas, incorporating giant crabs, lions, and a whirlpool. His work does fall somewhat flat in character development and pacing though. In the end, ‘Voyage to the World’s End’ needs more detail to fully set sail.
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