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Posted January 10, 2012
This one needs a lot of work
Admittedly it was the first edition I read, but when I saw the excellent new cover I was inspired to write a review. If the book were only written with the same sense of character and mood as evoked by the new cover art, this would have been a book that could have carried out its task well and have been very entertaining.
TMOKRTK is, in fact, the second transgender sword and sorcery novel that this reviewer has read. "Moonsword," by Hignutt, the other such novel, was equally unsatisfying. It wasn't the basic plot that sinks either of these books, it's the feeling that the authors never successfully connect with their heroes. TMOKRTK was, in fact, even a harder read than Moonsword, and my interest had waned seriously long before the book was finished. One just keeps reading with the hope that the author will do something right.
There is too much that is predictable in this story, and what is not predictable is too often dubious. In doing this plot, Mr. Kirch could have learned something from that well-done transgender television serial, the Spanish-language "Lalola," in which a young businessman is cursed to become a young businesswoman and learns to see life in a whole new way. TMOKRTK should simply have defined its character strongly at the outset, given him-her a daunting mission, and then let the book flow naturally along as life and events challenge her outwardly, and also change her inwardly.
But Ka-Ron is never allowed to develop on her own. A series of deux ex machina devices drives the hero to where the author wants her to go. Because everything is forced, we never really get to know what Ka-Ron herself wants or feels. That process of forced action never seems to go along very easily, because these unlikely prods have to come at regrettably close intervals. Because everything is done with such a heavy hand, there are no surprises.
The author seems unable to empathize with Ka-Ron and the story unfolds rather mechanically, the knight being treated more like an object to be manipulated, instead of a real person of depth or believability. The evocative warrior-maid depicted on the cover is not convincingly the same hero as in the book; would that she were. I'm not saying that some things might not have been fixed in the 2nd edition, because I don't know, but I doubt that anything except starting over from the very beginning with a whole different attitude could have been enough.
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