Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reader's Review: "The Captives" (Heart of the Caveat Whale #1) by Precarious Yates

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"When the caveat whale is gone, the time of the end has come, but the rise of Shunda will stem the tide." Three lives weave together inextricably. Qoshonni: the warrior. Shunda: the orphan. Mookori: the prince. They fight against the MerKing to rescue the captives. Can they trust themselves in their fight against this mutual enemy? Can they trust one another?

My Review:

I love mermaids. I really do. I love the various ways writers have described and portrayed them in different works. Yates really adds a whole new level to the mystique of merfolk by developing a new race that is a hybrid between a merperson and a human: they walk on land, they breathe with both lungs and gills, and they have webbing between their fingers and toes. This new race is called aquavians.   

I also appreciated the balanced nature of the narrative in this book. Obviously, from the blurb, one might conclude that there is one particular character designated as the "Chosen Savior" and all the story is about his struggles and successes. Not so; Yates gives other characters equal time to shine, and I dare say focuses more on others like Qoshonni and Mookori than on Shunda. The driving force of the story is the cruelty of the MerKing and the concerted efforts of the humans allying with the aquavians to stop him. I loved the obvious creativity that went into developing a world with its own history, and the "side glimpses" the narrative provides, of things that might affect the main conflict later on, but for now, they serve to build up the world Yates has created as her setting.

That being said, the one thing that almost (almost!) made me reluctant to continue it, in spite of the dire straits of the characters, is the complicated and confusing names for both characters and creatures. To create a language is a wonderful thing; but the more complex a term (like "buhoondogot" or "Iunshun") the faster you have the potential of losing your audience unless there is a way to simplify it. I came to almost dread the three- and four-syllable names, and every time I had to stop and decipher a word and try and figure out what or who it referred to, it would take me a while to get back into the story. 
The pacing of The Captives is neither stodgy nor electric; it drifts along in a steady--albeit moderate--pace. This also made it difficult to traverse the complicated names, as sometimes there were whole paragraphs where I had a sinking feeling that important characters were interacting over important things--but I couldn't understand a word of it because it wasn't English!

The Captives earns a ****FOUR STAR**** rating, because it was unique and creative, and definitely a worthwhile story--it's certainly worth it if you've got the while! Hence I am also applying the Upstream Writer Official Recommendation to it. If you want a relaxing, quiet, imaginative read, The Captives is definitely for you!