Benice

An Adventure of Love and Friendship

Children - Action
178 Pages
Reviewed on 10/05/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

My children are going to experience a very different life to mine, and that both worries and inspires me. My wife and I are immigrants to the US, raising a multicultural family in our new home without the immediate presence of the extended family so vital to my own upbringing.
I grew up in a huge family, and I cherish my childhood memories of playing with my cousins and defending my brother in street fights. My wife, on the other hand, had only one sister and her mother.
Our kids are experiencing very different childhoods. My greatest challenge, or perhaps fear, is to prepare them for a world without their extended family close by. While my wife’s concern is more raw as she remembers raising her sister alone after their mother left them when she was just twelve.
We told stories to our son and daughter almost every night, pulling events from our childhood and hometown that always focused on the importance of family and friendship. It took me a while, but after writing Benice I realized that I was subconsciously using bedtime stories to compensate for the lack of family members in our kids’ lives. I wanted my kids to know that they will be okay on their own as long as they have love and friendship in their lives.
Benice is a story that will resonate with those parents who have travelled far from their childhood homes – and, with any child who has a taste for adventure.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

The wonderful anticipation for any reader of young adult fiction, but an equally difficult challenge for its author, is the always exciting and expectant notion of One … Great … Story. The implication being: The writer had better be a good storyteller. In just such a book, Benice, by Metin Karayaka, one gets two bangs for his expectant buck: One great story, and many wonderful illustrations by Rohan Daniel Eason. Both the story and the illustrations are reminiscent of their classic predecessors - such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped – but without the baggage (for some) of a now considered antiquated style. A mysterious old fisherman, an impressionable young boy, the suggestion of pirates in the wings: These are the elements enticing the aforementioned reader to “Come aboard!”

Ben Ice, a reclusive old gossiped-about fisherman with one hook for a hand, a peg-leg for a leg, a patch for one eye, and a parrot perched on his shoulder is a character who bodes well for Metin Karayaka’s great story, Benice. I’m sure one can speculate on Mr. Ice’s true profession, even without the grand illustrations provided by Mr. Eason. The young boy, Levend, who retells his tale later on in life, comes to the longed-for revelation appetizingly late in his telling. One has come to suspect by then that Ben Ice is but an allegory for old ways and somewhat nasty things, but then the plot thickens, our boat is twisted sideways, and we are suddenly face to face with …. Ah, but there be no spoilers here, matey! This is a story for us kids. Told by one great storyteller. And great expectations are duly rewarded with ample buried treasure!

Bruce Arrington

Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka is a YA tale targeting middle school and young teenaged readers. It tells the story of Levend and his friend Mr. Ben Ice, and their fishing adventures together. The local town distrusts Ice due to his appearance and quiet ways, but there is more than meets the eye to the man and his past. The story includes lots of above and below water adventure, pirates, treasure and, more importantly, the strong connections that people can make, be they young or old. The story is well written and the prose flows smoothly. It’s obvious that a lot of care has been taken in writing and editing Benice, and it certainly shows. Lots of fun imagination was put into the book, and I can see myself reading this one again and again.

The story examines how people often unfairly judge one another due to their appearance and mannerisms, without giving any thought as to what their past was truly all about. Those lessons are woven into the very fabric of this story and reverberate with the message of being kind to others. The ending was quite satisfying, and reading how this story brought the characters together shows just how people can mend their differences and move on, if they so choose. There were a few hints of a sequel at the end, but this story certainly stands on its own as a complete tale. Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka is highly recommended.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Benice by Metin Karayaka sets sail on the high seas, delivering a swashbuckling tale of love and friendship. Yalova’s old pier is full of its usual activity. Fishermen and children work side by side dividing their daily catch. As Levend looks on, he concludes that some things never change. Levend and his friend, Orion, approach a young boy and ask him about a fisherman named Mr. Ben. The young lad shares that Mr. Ben is a legend, a pirate, and many believe him to be a monster. Mr. Ben disappeared one day, lost on the high seas and never to be seen again. But his boat and his memory remain among the villagers, especially with the children. As Levend looks upon Mr. Ben’s abandoned fishing vessel, he remembers all the times he went fishing with him. With the children huddled around him, Levend shares his story of the infamous Mr. Ben, the villainous pirate, the devoted husband and father, and the loving friend.

Simple and innocently written, Metin Karayaka’s Benice is an adventurous story portraying generational loyalty and companionship. The setting is quaintly exotic - a small fishing village nestled against the high seas. The customs are a mixture of new ideas and old world values. However, regardless of the era, nationality or setting, or if ye be a landlubber or pirate, kids will be kids. Curiosity tests the boundaries of pre-set rules and traditions. The novel is wonderfully illustrated; the hand-drawn pictures add visual dimension. The narrative is told from the point of view of its youthful main characters, Levend and Orion. Their characters develop and ultimately intersect as they tell the story of their personal relationship with the legendary Mr. Ben. The story holds an element of mystery as if something is hidden beneath the surface, a treasure not yet discovered, perhaps a story for another day. At times it is vague as if the writer knows more than he has penned. Regardless, the theme remains clear – true friendship is hard to find and when you do find it, hold on to it no matter the cost.

Justine Reyes

Prepare for adventure with Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka. The story follows young Levend and his friend Mr. Ben Ice, who is a fisherman. Due to his looks and introverted ways, the town doesn't trust Ice; however, appearances can be deceiving. Benice is full of seafaring adventure with pirates, treasure, and related high jinx. On a side note, I first want to mention the art in the book before delving into my thoughts on the story. I believe the illustrations by Rohan Daniel Eason were very eye-catching and original, and they added a very classic and retro feel to the book. The cover will definitely draw the interest of potential readers.

As an adult, I had a blast reading Karayaka's Benice. It made me nostalgic and reminded me of classics like Peter Pan and Treasure Island. Without a doubt, I'm certain that young adults will enjoy this book as much as I did (if not more). It will capture readers' attention and more than likely it will even capture their imaginations and sense of wonder. I appreciate how Karayaka smoothly implemented the message of how we often judge others by the way they look, speak, or even dress when in fact we shouldn't always be so quick to jump to conclusions. Kindness is key. Benice... Be nice. Karayaka's story is a tremendously great book to gift young adults and older children, regardless of whether you mean to teach them a moral lesson or if you mean for them to read it and find adventure.

Sarah Scheele

Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship by Metin Karayaka is an exciting action-adventure story that’s perfect for tweens. A boy named Levend lives in the fishing village of Yalova with his aunt and sister Ayshin. The empire they live in has fallen into disorder as a cruel king and a pirate chieftain fight for control. The children of Yalova are apprentice to adults who teach them fishing and Levend is drawn to a brilliant fisherman, named Mr. Ben, who keeps to himself. But Mr. Ben isn’t all he seems and it isn’t long before Levend finds himself aboard a pirate ship among swashbuckling intrigues and a wild quest to locate a sunken treasure that holds the Zanzibar Elixir. Danger isn’t the only thing Levend will find, though—this is an adventure that will change his life.

This solid, carefully developed story kept me involved through its excellent writing and unfaltering character development. Benice: An Adventure of Love and Friendship is one of those rare books that really does appeal to the whole family, and while boys will get a kick out of the faintly gruesome pirates and dangerous adventures, Ayshin and her friends offer some strong female leads. Adults will love the good lessons about not making the wrong decisions when life offers challenges or you believe all is lost. As in the case of the story’s dashing, complex focal point, the pirate BarbaRossa is a character that’s awesome to read about but whom you wouldn’t want to imitate. Metin Karayaka creates a strong conversation about compassion and understanding, and the tale grows in the telling as Levend recounts his adventures to others throughout the book and passes on the things he’s learned.