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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!