Friday, November 28, 2014

New Review of The Wood Where the Two Moons Shine!

Here is Marva Dasef's review of v.5 of the series
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head
See Marva's publications (YA and MG books,
 as well as adult, and a lot of audio books)
at Amazon
       In addition to looking up the myths yourself, you can read the posts in this blog in the series "The Life of Hercules," where I talk a good deal about how I adapted the stories.  I'd also welcome comments on how you feel about the conlangs.  Of course, you'd have to read some of my books first! 
An Epic Worthy of the Mythology

 Okay, if you haven't started with Volume 1 and worked your way through to this 5th volume, you'll have no idea what it's all about. Stop reading the review right now. Go to Amazon or Smashwords and start at the previous two-volume book, "The Termite Queen, Vol. 1" or at least at "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, Vol. 1" which picks up events after the first book.
       While an excellent addition to the epic tale of heroic alien termites, I wanted a little more to highlight Ki'shto'ba's quest's end. As the first volume of the story of Is’a’pai’a's search for the golden (fleece) fungus, it's a smooth transition into the young warrior's quest.
       Yes, this is an imagining of Jason and the Argonauts. Most of the characters in the Greek myth are present and accounted for. But this doesn't need to be a deed for deed, character for character retelling. Some aspects of the Jason myth are impossible. For example, Medea as Jason's wife just won't fit into the story of neuter termite warriors. I suspect a Mother (queen) termite will stand in for Medea at some point.
       Am I complaining that the epic adventures of Hercules (Ki'shto'ba) and Jason (Is'a'pai'a) are utilized as the basis for the termites' tellings? Not at all. I went to my Dictionary of Mythology to remind myself of the human equivalents to the termite heroes and deeds.
       My only problem throughout the series is the con-lang (constructed language) Ms. Taylor has created. It's an impressive feat. On the other hand, it's reading a story with all the names and lots of other words are written in Urdu or Finnish. Hard to remember who is who and what is what. I got used to the main characters' names, but new characters and words introduced along the way didn't stick quite as well. This makes the book difficult to read without breaking immersion. The imaginary "translator" of the termite language text, could easily have said "Since the names are difficult, I will substitute more familiar (or shorter) terms to stand in. Please see the Appendix (yes, there is one) as needed." Thus, Ki'shto'ba would be called Kip or Kish, Is'a'pai'a could be Ike or Isa. I would definitely be easier to read.
       The difficulty of maintaining immersion because of the con-lang dropped a star off the rating [to 4 star]. In all other ways, I highly recommend both series. I look forward to reading Isa's continued quest for the golden fungus in volume 6.
(Don't forget to check out my new book trailer at YouTube)


  1. Having read all the books in the series, I can understand what Marfa means regarding the con-lang names and terms, however, I actually found it added 'alieness' to the read :)

    1. Great! That would be another reason for employing a conlang! Everybody should understand that all the names of people and places mean something. I just don't always tell you the meanings. Also, not every name appears in every book. Some characters appear throughout, but each book has its own cast and you're not required to remember those names as you read on. Heck, I can't remember all of them myself! I'm always having to look things up when it's somebody who hasn't appeared for a while!!