on Nov. 26, 2014 :
Okay, if you haven't started with Volume 1 and worked your way through to this 5th volume, you'll have no idea what it's all about. Stop reading the review right now. Go to Amazon or Smashwords and start at the previous two-volume book, "The Termite Queen, Vol. 1" or at least at "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, Vol. 1" which picks up events after the first book.
While an excellent addition to the epic tale of heroic alien termites, I wanted a little more to highlight Ki'shto'ba's quest's end. As the first volume of the story of Is’a’pai’a's search for the golden (fleece) fungus, it's a smooth transition into the young warrior's quest.
Yes, this is an imagining of Jason and the Argonauts. Most of the characters in the Greek myth are present and accounted for. But this doesn't need to be a deed for deed, character for character retelling. Some aspects of the Jason myth are impossible. For example, Medea as Jason's wife just won't fit into the story of neuter termite warriors. I suspect a Mother (queen) termite will stand in for Medea at some point.
Am I complaining that the epic adventures of Hercules (Ki'shto'ba) and Jason (Is'a'pai'a) are utilized as the basis for the termites' tellings? Not at all. I went to my Dictionary of Mythology to remind myself of the human equivalents to the termite heroes and deeds.
My only problem throughout the series is the con-lang (constructed language) Ms. Taylor has created. It's an impressive feat. On the other hand, it's reading a story with all the names and lots of other words are written in Urdu or Finnish. Hard to remember who is who and what is what. I got used to the main characters' names, but new characters and words introduced along the way didn't stick quite as well. This makes the book difficult to read without breaking immersion. The imaginary "translator" of the termite language text, could easily have said "Since the names are difficult, I will substitute more familiar (or shorter) terms to stand in. Please see the Appendix (yes, there is one) as needed." Thus, Ki'shto'ba would be called Kip or Kish, Is'a'pai'a could be Ike or Isa. I would definitely be easier to read.
The difficulty of maintaining immersion because of the con-lang dropped a star off the rating. In all other ways, I highly recommend both series. I look forward to reading Isa's continued quest for the golden fungus in volume 6.
(reviewed 82 days after purchase)
Chris The Story Reading Ape
on Oct. 1, 2014 :
Sadly this book completes the epic of 'The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head'.
But happily, it commences Is’a’pai’a's Quest for the Golden Fungus and joy of joys, none of the twelve companions is leaving - in fact, they are joined by additional intrepid companions, so there are lots more adventures to be had.
Za'dut is still contributing to the New Times with it's inventions, speaking of which, throughout the series the author has given excellent examples of how Mankind may have developed its technologies, although it must be said that Za'dut is obviously a greater genius than Leonardo Da Vinci and deserves every surname it has been given so far.
I highly recommend this entire series to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction and Greek (with a smattering of others) Mythology because in it you will find them very cleverly combined.
(reviewed the day of purchase)