When Kaimana left her tiny island, all she’d wanted in life was to prove herself; to her parents, to goddess Laka of song and dance, to her knack and to herself. However, that journey is derailed by a single moment of curiosity. The moment she looked into the green eyes of the wooden Taniwha, Kaimana should have known that life would never be the same. A tale of courage, a tale of an arduous journey, a tale of friendship between a girl and a monster. Set in the universe of Benedict Patrick’s previous works, Where The Waters Turn Black tells the story of an unusual, but heart-warming friendship.
I picked up this book because it was fantasy and it seemed to have an interesting female lead. I was proven right on both counts and on so much more. The setting of the atoll and the pacific islands draws you in immediately. The background is provided with an ease that is much coveted in the guilds of fantasy writing. More importantly, the lead character, Kaimana, is presented so well that you’re rooting for her by the end of the first chapter.
Even if I hadn’t liked the story, I would have kept reading for the sake of Kaimana and Rakua. The determination and courage of Kaimana is astounding and that is where she shines. But, when the time comes for fear or sadness especially, the author falters a bit in the transition between emotions. It feels a little abrupt which stands out because everything else reads so natural.
The story is one we are all familiar with. But, maybe it’s the vivid representation of the pacific islands, the rich history that is presented in the form of intersecting Tales from the Atoll chapters, or maybe, it’s because of the refreshingly human protagonist, but, I enjoyed Benedict Patrick’s work a whole lot more than I thought I would.
BOTTOMLINE: The story is captivating. The protagonist and other characters are brave and very human. The world-building is fantastic. The prose is easy to read. What else can a reader ask for? Give it a read on a hot summer afternoon and lose yourself in the beauty of the clear blue waters of the Atoll.