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Sunday, September 27, 2020

To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl by Benedict Patrick review


Official Author Website
Order To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl over HERE(USA) or HERE(UK)

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Benedict Patrick is from a small town in Northern Ireland called Banbridge, but has been living and working in Scotland since he moved there at the age of eighteen. Tragically, that was quite a while ago.

He has been writing for most of his life, and has been reading for pretty much all of it (with help from mum and dad at the beginning). Benedict's life changed when a substitute primary school teacher read his class part of The Hobbit and later loaned him the book – he fell in love with the fantasy genre and never looked back.

FORMAT: The author self-published To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Backers have already received the book, it should be available for a wider audience in November 2020. Cover art and design by Jenny Zemanek.

OVERVIEW: I missed Kaimana and Rakau, my favorite Yarnsworld's duo. The title alone suggests exciting things to happen, but nothing prepared me for the atrocities committed by Benedict Patrick. I thought he was one of the good guys. Now, I'm not so sure. At all.

Kaimana and Rakau enjoy their friendship and warm waters of the atoll. Sometimes they help islanders to chase off annoying taniwha (monsters). Sometimes they help taniwha to deal with petty and cruel humans who see them as a trophy. Or food. 

But they mostly keep to themselves. 

Things change, dramatically, when they discover the mouldering corpse of Mataio, the god of taniwha, on a beach. Normally, god's killer should reach godhood immediately after the kill. But it doesn't happen. And Kaimana doesn't like the implications.

To make matters worse, ancient demon schemes to destroy the Atoll and its gods. His overpowered pawn, a spider-faced figure shadows Kaimana’s movements. To say the pawn is deeply troubled is a HUGE understatement.

Bad things happen, but the less you know, the better. How bad, you may ask? Well, punch-you-in-the-gut and shake you for a few days bad. Starting with dark in-world tales (Old Spider and the Grand Mother story's ending will slice you like a razor), and finishing with characters' fates, it is, for the most part, the darkest Yarnsworld novel. You were warned.

I admire Kaimana - she stood against her family, and then her god, for friendship and still lived to tell the tale. She's memorable and relatable, even if she lacks a longterm agenda. Her arc strongly intertwines with the arc of a new character - Sinitalela. A despicable individual you'll learn to hate. She's ruthless and overpowered. Her arc (and it's a SPOILER) focuses on a road to redemption she doesn't deserve. 

To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl shook me for days. I would love it to have a different ending and to force Benedict Patrick to rethink his daring choices, but, alas, it's too late for that. A great, surprisingly dark book that opens plenty of exciting possibilities for future developments of Yarnsworld's stories.

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