After a side step into another dimension with The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon, Benedict Patrick has once again graced us with another installment in his amazing Yarnsworld tales.
Kaimana has defied the gods and won the freedom to spend the rest of her days travelling the collection of tropical islands she calls home.
But the people of the islands have taken notice of her.
They have started to tell her story; for many children, one of their favourite fireside tales is now that of the Taniwha Girl, the brave woman who befriends monsters.
Some islanders even pray to her.
The gods are displeased, but they are not the only ones paying attention to Kaimana’s rise to fame. On the borders of the island ring, an ancient demon – an old enemy of the Crescent Atoll – spreads its influence, and a spider-faced figure shadows Kaimana’s movements.
To secure her own safety, and that of her island home, Kaimana has to make a choice: turn her back on the people of the Crescent Atoll and continue enjoying the life she has won for herself, or give up all she holds dear to live up to the legend of the Taniwha Girl.
I have a deep and abiding love for folklore, mythology, and folktales. Benedict Patrick has dug deeply into songs, stories, and oral story traditions and brings them to life in beautiful tales. Although To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl is Patrick’s second visit to the Crescent Atoll, and several Yarnsworld books are interrelated with the setting of They Mostly Come Out at Night, all of them can be read as a stand alone. Each one is a gem, and I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I do know that if you haven’t read any work by this author, you’re missing out on some excellent escapism. It has a feeling of joy to it even when the tale becomes dark and terrifying. Books like these are why we love fantasy.
In November 2016, Benedict Patrick released his 2nd book in the Yarnsworld universe called Where the Waters Turn Black. Inside, we are introduced to the Crescent Atoll, it’s people, it’s Gods, and its monsters.
To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl takes us back to the atoll to tell a new tale. We once again follow Kaimana and her friend Rakau, a Taniwha of tremendous size as they move about the atoll in freedom and quiet friendship. Her peaceful world is shattered when she discovers a dead God and is called to a *conclave of the Gods of the atoll. The greatest threat the atoll has faced since its birth has been Old Spider, and he’s trying to pave the way back into the islands. Kaimana is tasked with a deadly mission, and it could cost her and her Taniwha everything.
Any other descriptions of this book are just spoilers. This story may well be the best Benedict Patrick has written in this crazy universe. It’s certainly one of the darkest. It has a marvelously imagined world, well fleshed out characters that we love, or love to hate, and an excellent and fast paced storyline. As always, there are interspersed folktale chapters which aren’t only entertaining, they’re pertinent to the story and give the reader tantalizing glimpses into the past of many key characters.
If you grew up reading and loving the dark sweetness of fairy tales, mythological gods, or have a love of regional folklore featuring strange and mythical creatures, then you’ll love the delightful escape Benedict Patrick provides in each and every work.
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5) To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl
You can find my previous reviews of these marvelous stories by clicking a title in the above list and here for the novella, And They Were Never Heard from Again.
Try out some free Yarnsworld stories by signing up to Benedict’s Readers Group: http://benedictpatrick.com/what-is-the-yarnsworld/