This story had such promise. From the back cover: “Bejamin Nab appears one day at the orphanage where Ren has spent the 11 years of his young life. CoThis story had such promise. From the back cover: “Bejamin Nab appears one day at the orphanage where Ren has spent the 11 years of his young life. Convincing the monks he is Ren’s long-lost brother, Benjamin sweeps the boy away into a vibrant world of adventures, filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. But is Benjamin Nab really who he claims to be? As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage, he comes to suspect that Benjamin holds the key not only to his future but to his past as well.”
Sounds like a great story right? Except it isn’t. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as the promise from that paragraph.. The world isn’t vibrant, it’s dark and scary. The scam artists aren’t all that outrageous, just scam artists and not terribly clever ones at that. That people were fooled by them is clearly the work of a writer. There are characters who seem to have no real value to the story other than to add “color” but it doesn’t come off well.
The characters were not well-developed and most were “one note.” You could tell what Benjamin was going to do because the characters would tell you “Well, that’s how Benjamin is.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say the story was predictable, other than in its final outcome. Every child loves an Orphan Who Conquers All. This is a grown up version of that. ...more