“Dolphin Way begins with the mysterious death of Born Into Summer, a young friend of the book’s protagonist, Touches The Sky. It expands into a conflict between The Way, a quixotic code of conduct that has kept dolphins eco-friendly pacifists for millennia, and the rapid toxification of the ocean that is pushing it towards obsolescence. Touches The Sky’s natural habitat is becoming a more violent and competitive place, and throughout his adventures Sky makes discovery after discovery leading him to believe that this is all thanks to those destructive, wasteful humans up above.
When I first read the synopsis for Dolphin Way I was reminded of another book, namely The Call of the Wild. As I made my way through the text however, I found it to be more like James Cameron’s Avatar than anything Jack London ever wrote. This novel isn’t about anthropomorphizing an animal. It is about a broader set of issues and constructs, like life cycles, conservation and environmental degradation. Dolphin culture, with all of its designations like “starwriters,” and “calculators” is portrayed with painstaking detail. Roger Ebert might compliment the author, Mark Caney on his “worldbuilding” abilities, but it does make one wonder how much of the sophisticated society portrayed in the book is fantasy, how much is hearsay and how much is scientifically accurate, especially since the author himself clearly has an encyclopedic understanding of biology.”