"Neiko’s Five Land Adventure" by A.K. Taylor
Pages: 354 pages
File Size: 1531 KB
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Purchase: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
When you read “Neiko’s Five Land Adventure” by A.K. Taylor, you will read a charming and fun story that takes you back to your childhood. At least you will if you are like me and developed different backstories for your toys while growing up. It seems like Taylor did this as well as she grew up in Georgia, and her imagination really comes through and becomes the greatest strength in the book, covering up the various flaws in storytelling.
This book introduces us to Amanda Hawk, who goes by the name of Captain Neiko Kidd when she is not in high school. She is one of the top-ranking officers of an organization called the Desert Storm Falcons, and their arch-enemy is a group called the CrackedSkulls. The son of their leader, Bloodhawk, wants to kidnap Neiko and make her his wife, and throughout the story, they go to great lengths to take Neiko away from her group and her family. Right from the beginning, you can see that Taylor has a very well-developed world going on inside her head, and she has woven her mythology with both Indian and Egyptian culture in a very effective fashion.
There are some fundamental flaws to the novel that bog down the experience, the main one being Taylor’s tendency to tell more than show. Several passages serve as locations to fill us in with so much information that it stops the pacing in its tracks, including the first few pages of the book. It happens to a point where it feels that the characters are led around because the story demands it rather than the characters discovering the story as they go along. However, since I knew that Taylor started the writing of this book when she was 16, it added to its overall charm since it reads like a young girl telling this story to her friends and coming up with more and more details as she goes along. The artwork in the book is also fantastic, giving an anime style that blended well with the storytelling.
If I would ask Taylor to change anything, it would be the age of Amanda / Neiko. I know that, as a 35-year-old man, I still have toys at my desk that I occasionally pick up and play with while I’m writing, but a senior in high school sitting on her floor and playing with her action figures is difficult to accept. Especially if nobody else in the book is making an issue of her playing with toys at that age.
Despite the age issue and the story losing some steam in the second half, overall I found “Neiko’s Five Land Adventure” to be a very imaginative and fun read for teenagers. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world unfold in future books, and I hope that Taylor allows her characters to take center stage and let them and the reader discover the next story.
Reviewed by George Sirois
A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Thursday, March 29, 2012