Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

A cute little story about love and friendship, and also about judging based on appearances. I read it in two sittings and only because I had a schedule to keep. But as soon as I was able, I got back to it and finished it. I enjoyed the story throughout, although I wasn't entirely clear on everything that happened in the end. The lessons on friendship and treating others with kindness may come off as a bit heavy-handed/silly for some people, but it's a very positive book and we probably need more of those! At the end, I thought I might be missing something, but it didn't really take away from the rest of the story. I enjoyed the illustrations and thought they really added to the story. The characters are likeable, and there's enough pirate adventure to keep the action moving throughout. It feels a little bit like a cross between Treasure Island and a Chinese folk tale. There were a couple places in the book where some Chinese characters appeared, and I'm not sure if that was deliberate or an accident in this ARC since there was no translation that came with it.
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A nice tale for friendship in and out of the see. Great tale to keep the kids paying attention, to pass the time.
The writing keeps you in the story to know if the fishermen really is evil or not, how he does what he does, where is he? What tales can we get to know until the end of the book!

I enjoyed the read immensely and would recommend!
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Metin Karayaka weaves an original story and high stakes in this action-packed story filled with twists and turns. No situation or character are as they first appear, and this keeps the reader guessing throughout. Friendship, love, sacrifice, and loyalty are key themes.

I was a bit put off, though, by a seeming lack of consequences for heroic characters who do bad things for the sake of a positive outcome. In other words, the message that kids may walk away with is that the ends justify the means. Also, the ending was less than satisfying. I understand that the author was probably trying to leave a few things up in the air in case there is a sequel, but I was genuinely confused for the last three or four pages. 

All in all, a quick and easy summer read. I recommend reading aloud, especially to young children, to be able to take the opportunity to discuss the sometimes shady actions of the book's heroes. 

***I wrote this review in exchange for a review copy from NetGalley and was not influenced in any way. This opinion is solely my own.***
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A wonderful fishing story turn pirate tale with beautiful illustrations both reminiscent of great classics.  I hope this book will come to be a classic in time too! Perfect for families to read together. There are twists and resolutions throughout but one mystery remains at the end... and I am dearly hoping for a sequel / continuation of the tale as I am far too attached to the characters to say goodbye.
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Brace yourself when you open the pages of Benice! You are about to find out how a fishing village, pirates, sharks, a miraculous diving bubble, a sorcerer, ratlines, clarinets, and a parrot who gives the game away weave together into the best adventure tale I have read since the Wizard of Oz!

Fourteen year old Levand befriends a kindly fisherman who teaches him the craft. Settling into this new life of fishing, Levand never would have thought that a side job working at a local factory would lead to the adventure of a lifetime!

The author weaves multiple narrators and main characters through the story as he slowly lets you into the world of Levand and his friends. By the end of the story, you truly know every character in the book completely. The curtains have been drawn back on the entire world and you feel you truly belong.

Once you finish the adventure you will discover the secret- but promise you won’t peek!

There is so very much love and warmth to this adventure, you really must share it with your children. In fact, this is the book to give as gifts to every child you know!

After reading the story, pick your favorite characters and describe them. Write it down for yourself. What do they look like? Who do they know? Who are their enemies? Where are they from? Tell the whole story of your favorite character. You will likely find it all here in the book, spread out in many spots and the story winds its way through the adventure.

Draw a map of where the story takes place. All the scenes in this story interconnect in space and time as well as just the story-line. The author gives you enough clues that you really can draw a map of the whole world that Levand and his friends show you as you read.
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A very touching story about love and friendship. I don't read a lot of middle-grade books. Sometimes I find myself struggling to get into the plot of the story. Although at times I got a little lost within Benice by Metin Karayaka, I found it a very heartwarming story. It is filled with love and friendship and adventures. Lobster-Popsters, sharks and pirates.

Full review will be posted on the 7th of April. 

Overall, a heartwarming story!

Update: Full review has now been posted on my blog. Link provided below!
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I think it's a particular young person who would really love this book. There's some awkwardness to the writing style (I kept asking myself whether it was translated) and a bit of silliness and old-fashioned sensibility that might not gel with current kids, though the fast pace and multiple points of view do keep things interesting. The "moral of the story" ending felt somewhat trite, and the relationships didn't feel overly deep. The illustrations do make it stand out, though. Perhaps for fans of other stylistic/atmospheric authors such as Colin Meloy and Catherynne M. Valente (for some reason The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place and The Mysterious Benedict Society are also springing to mind, but I think it might just be that the art style is reminiscent).
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’m trying to make sense of my reaction to Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka. This is normally something I would love: middle grade adventure story with classic fairy tale style and illustrations; and a positive message as a bonus. Which is why I grabbed it from NetGalley.

But while I enjoyed it (3 stars), I wasn’t wowed like so many NetGalley and Goodreads reviewers. But first, plot teaser:

"Levend is just twelve when he meets Mr. Ben Ice, a gruff fisherman whose peg leg, eyepatch and hook hand all but prove a lifetime of piracy. But life in Yalova is hard, and if this intimidating figure can help Levend support his family, then he’ll gladly accompany him on the fishing trip of a lifetime – even if it’s packed with more danger, adventure and friendship than either of them could ever have expected.

As Levend discovers more and more about his would-be captain, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous pirate feud, a hunt for sunken treasure, and the chance to forge friendships that will last a lifetime – even if that only means the next few minutes. Confronted by timeless love and shocking betrayal, Levend must decide who he can trust and who’ll make him walk the plank."

The first caveat I should make is that it is middle grade fiction and it might be the case that I am not that good a judge of books in this genre. I really should read it to my kids or have them read it and give me feedback …

But there was something about it that just didn’t connect with me. I found the flashback storytelling and the multiple perspectives confusing at times and many of the characters were thin and undeveloped. I didn’t feel like everything fit together and the world made sense. It was like you were dropped into this world from another culture and the backstory and history was left out. Again, this could be part of the middle grade audience.

I think the key to enjoying a book like this is to suspend disbelief and dive in, reading it in large chunks. I read it at night before falling asleep and it could be that this made it more disjointed. Who knows? Kirkus called it a “A Treasure Island for the modern era, recommended for middle-grade readers and fans of pirate-adventure tales.” But then again, my daughter did not care for Treasure Island …

I will leave it to you dear readers to decide if this is the type of book for you and your family:

"A middle-grade bedtime storybook written and illustrated in the tradition of classics. While adventures teach boys and girls importance of family and friendship in their lives, adults will love the good lessons about not making the wrong decisions when life offers challenges."

If you are a Kindle user, it is currently $2.99 so low risk …
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Benice is a book about friendship and love, that is adventurous and filled with beautiful illustration. 
I always appreciate book with illustration because it helps you to understand the story better. 
I enjoy the story. And the fact that there is a character name Aysun which in real life is a name that belong to a good friend of mine :) I also like twist that happened in the story! 
I think this is a book that will be enjoyed so much by the younger readers. It's that type of family book that will warmth your heart.
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Swashbuckling and silly, I loved this book. It is a great young reader tale with a sort of foolish, magical quality. Or rather, expect to suspend disbelief. The text is really good, with nice pacing and appealing turns of phrase, but the illustrations are wonderful. I finished this book quickly and am now planning to get the book for the young readers in my life. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the free copy for an honest review.
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I went into this one expecting a fun and meaningful middle grade story filled with pirates and adventures but instead I got a confusing and unfortunately written book. It did have a nice message but the way it delivered that message was just…not good.

The thing that ruined this book for me was the writing, the way it was written just didn’t make any sense to me, there were quite a few times that I had to keep stopping and going back to figure out what was happening because we switched view points and storylines in the middle of paragraphs. The way things were worded also just felt a bit off, I don’t know if this is a translated version that didn’t quite work or if the writing itself just isn’t the greatest but I found myself slogging through this one just waiting for the end.

Some aspects of the story were well thought out and I did like the twists the story took us on but I just can’t get past the writing. I know that this is a childrens/middle grade book and it’s not the fact that the writing isn’t complex that I have a problem with, it’s the fact that it doesn’t make any damn sense.

I wanted to love this one so much but I just didn’t and I’m sad about it because the point of the story was decent.
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Benice is a book that I think all children between the ages of 10 and 14 will enjoy reading. This is a tale of friendship and love. But this doesn't mean that it lacks adventures! This is a proper pirate story with a fun twist and the illustrations are wonderful! I think this is a fun book to read with loveable and charming characters. Would make a lovely present for children!
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If weaving a powerful message through a story is an art, then Metin Karayaka is the master of it. 

Two best friends, Levend and Orion, arrive at Yalova, a fisherman's haven for a private party. The sight of little kids returning from their brief fishing expedition kindles a sense of reminiscence in Levend, who once used to do the same. They initiate a conversation with the kids by touching upon the subject of fishing, which later, drifted off to the topic of the private party which they came to attend. The kids express their discontent towards the party as it would hinder them from venturing into the seas for fishing, the main source of their livelihood. 

With the audience around them in a somber mood, Levend decides to brighten up the atmosphere and quizzes them about "Mr.Ben", an enigmatic character who once lived in Yalova. The very mention of his name triggers a wave of responses from the kids. Seizing their elevated excitement levels, Levend starts to spin a tale about the adventures he had with Mr.Ben, later finished by Orion who chips in sharing his own share of experiences with that man. 

"Benice" is a heartwarming tale about Love, Friendship, Fight, Treachery, Pain, and Heartbreak that revolves around the man who goes by the name - Mr.Ben and a host of other characters. Just when you think the pace of the story is flat, the unexpected plot twist hits you hard bringing you to the edge of your seat. The characterization of Mr.Ben couldn't have been better and the various shades he exhibited throughout the story will keep you wondering about his true nature. The dialogues were well written, the twists were well placed and the whole narrative seemed so natural. The biggest highlight of the book is definitely the climax, which had a profound effect on me in addition to the impact it had on the fictional characters. I adored each and every character in the story and overall, it's a book which would leave you teary-eyed but with a smile on your face.

I know its just the beginning of the year, but this one has rightfully earned a place in my Top Ten books of 2019.
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Very interesting book and full of love, joy and friendship. Beautiful illustrations and the illustrations make the events of the story more relevant.
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