Call me Ishmael.
I knew the story of Moby Dick, and more recently In the Heart of the Sea, but this book was def not what I expected. The actual storyline was very intriguing but interwoven in that are all of these chapters on whaling history, anatomy and so on. I found them very interesting but also somewhat distracting. I'd kind of prefer them as appendices. On the other hand, they do follow with the happenings of the book. Either way though, they are a great wealth of knowledge and I liked them being in the book.
Aside from structure is the actual storyline. Good ole Captain Ahab. Like I mentioned, I already knew his fate....but seeing his mental descent and final moments firsthand was pretty shocking. Also the fate of the Pequod. Oh dear, this story was so very full of lessons. I wrote down a full list of them, #1 being Captain Ahab's obsession.
As for the characters, they were all flawless. My favorites were Ishmael, Captain Ahab and Starbuck. Ishmael was so even keeled and his thoughts and ideas made for a fascinated narrator. Captain Ahab seemed to be a man on the edge dealing with life-long disappointments and grappling at his final chance to do something important. Starbuck was a great character because he was sensible and tried to keep Ahab in line even as he was spiraling. Ever other character was superb too though!
Overall this was a great book & I'm glad Moby Dick got away...I'd probably not like it as much if he hadn't. It's a long book but I def recommend it.