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Book #17 of 2015: The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon

The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon by Lowell Press
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)



While this book didn't work for me, I didn't hate it while reading it. My real negative feelings towards it started when I was gathering my usual information to write this review.

First I brought up the Amazon page. In big, bold text, there are two messages about Kingdom of the Sun and Moon winning awards:

Winner of the 2015 Gold Benjamin Franklin Award for Teen Fiction
Winner of the 2015 Silver Benjamin Franklin Award for Young Reader Fiction

Never having heard of those, I googled it. "The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for indie publishers and self-published authors." I could be totally off base here, but fifty-five categories? That's an awful lot of awards to give out, and that it's for "indie publishers and self-published authors" makes me even more skeptical.

So, looking at the Amazon reviews: 22 of them, almost all 5 stars with just a couple 4 stars. Suspicious. (Boy do I miss the days when I could trust Amazon reviews, before self-published books bought and traded for five star reviews.)

So lastly, seeing "Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.", I googled the "publisher". Parkers Mill Publishing. It has no mention at all online other than in relation to this book.

Sigh.

I'm really tired of the dishonesty in self-publishing. I'm tired of having to do all this detective work to figure out if a book is self-published or not. (Why does it matter? Because it's very, very, very rare that a self-published book is even close to worth its cover price, and I've been ripped off by them too many times. Remember that Zoo book? Now and then I reread my review of it just to laugh at how awful it was.)

Well, on to the book's plot. Another book about talking animals, but this time of the Redwall variety instead of "real" animals. Two mice, brothers, ended up on very different paths in life. One became a palace guard for the king, the other was banished from the kingdom.

While I liked how the mice were written (they came off as real mice doing these non-mouse things), the characters made such dumb decisions and didn't see such obvious plots and happenings, I just couldn't enjoy the story.

My biggest issue with the book (and the biggest thing that kept knocking me out of the story's mood) was that the author peppered in German words. Food was "Essen" ('to eat' in German), cheese was "Goldessen" (gold food), the mice had a König (king), and on and on. German nouns are capitalized, so it made it especially jarring. We'd get sentences like this: "All mice love Essen, but they especially love Goldessen." I do like it when a book uses words from a foreign language (especially if it's a fictional language), but it made just no sense at all here. Why did mice just randomly use German words?

I only reached the 50% mark of the book before giving up on it.
Tags: 2015 books, book review, book: the kingdom of the sun and moon
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