Thursday, August 2, 2012

Neiko's Five Land Adventure by A.K. Taylor

Title: Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
Series: Neiko’s Adventure Saga
Author: A.K. Taylor
Length: 3957 Kindle units
Rating: 1 star

The Plot

Captain Neiko Kidd is the champion of the Seven Tribes in their fight against the giant winged Cracked Skulls who want to steal their territory – when she isn’t living the normal life of a high school senior. Her enemies have devised the perfect plan to defeat her: If they make her toys come briefly to life, everyone around her will think she has gone insane. Unfortunately, in the execution of this plan, the Cracked Skulls inadvertently create a portal between their land and the world of Neiko’s toys. And the life size versions of some of these toys are very scary indeed.

The Good

A lot of imagination went into the creation of Neiko’s various worlds. I particularly liked the way many of her toys/characters from Qari were hybrids of various animals. One of the ones we see the most is a scorpion with a cobra for a tail. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I saw a three-foot long scorpion with a cobra coming out of its tail, that would pretty much qualify as the scariest thing I had ever seen. But it seems to be about average scary for this world, which is saying something. I especially liked that the story was accompanied by images of many of these creatures, so I was able to get a better picture of them in my head.

The Bad

When I got the review request for this book, it was accompanied by an article about how the author had created the alternate worlds in the story as an escape from high school bullying. Ordinarily I am wary of a pitch that talks more about the author than the book, because I feel like it means the book can’t stand on its own merits. Neiko’s Five Land Adventure has not changed my mind about this, but I am nonetheless glad that I got the info before reading, because otherwise I would not have had a freaking clue what was going on.

Everyone in the story seemed, to some extent, only to exist in Neiko’s head. The characters were all very fixated on what she found important. These Indian tribes (and we’re not going to get started on the existence of “secret Indians” that are somehow different than Native Americans) have serious conflicts with the Cracked Skulls over land and resources, yet they don’t mind that she misses meetings about their future to go play with her cousin. I would think this would be a huge deal because the hour-long meetings seem to be the extent of their combat activity. And everyone was way too interested in the games she played with her toys.

And the dialogue, dear God, the dialogue. If I ever have to read such bad dialogue again, I pray that God strike me blind to save me from my own folly.

The Romance

For some inexplicable reason, other than that she is the most super-awesome human ever, several of the villains are in love with Neiko. I’m not sure whether this was supposed to make them seem more sympathetic or extra creepy in the rape metaphor kind of way. It definitely came off more as the latter, but I’m not sure whether that was the point. I can’t really go into too much detail about this without massive spoilers, but at one point a character is held hostage by another for many years as an attempt to woo her, and she later describes this experience as being in some ways like “friendly dating.”

Neiko herself is in love with one of her Indian friends, but since she only mentions it twice, and he does not seem to share her affections, I’m not going to spend too much time on that here.

Will I read more?

Not if there is any way that I can help it.

And, yes, I do realize that harshly critiquing a book based on the imagination of a girl who was terrorized by bullies makes me a horrible person. I’m hoping that my commitment to the honest evaluation of literature that comes my way will even the karmic scale.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an honest review, I wouldn't worry if I were you. Also - sounds like a weird book.