It’s not often that I do a First Impression fora book by an established author. Many people are familiar enough with their work and writing style to decide whether or not they wish to buy one of their books. They have an established fan base and ways to attract new readers. After reading a thread on the Kindle Boards about The Secret of Ka, I decided to read a sample of it.
Usually, I don’t don’t pay a lot of attention to reviews but I do look for a common thread or theme. In this case, all of the negative reviews mentioned the Secret of Ka was filled with inaccuracies. I hate to say this but I have to agree with that assessment. The inaccuracies appear in this book as early as page two. Some would be missed by anyone not familiar with Turkey and its people. Others are blatantly obvious. For example, Ankara is the capital of Turkey not Istanbul. Also, there are no deserts in Turkey. All of these errors could have been easily corrected with a little research or by hiring a competent editor / fact checker.
I know this is a fantasy story but if you are going to use a real life country and culture, you have to be true to reality. To do otherwise is to risk insulting the very country and people you are writing about. What is even more distressing is that this book is being marketed to younger readers who might mistake these inaccuracies as fact.
That said, the book’s inaccuracies might not be a deal breaker for some people. It is for me. There are other issues. The author starts off the third paragraph with “The Turks” which brought to mind lines like “Those people”. He could have easily replaced the word “Turks” with a racial or ethnic slur and the sentence would have read exactly the same way. Also, whenever the author refers to the culture and people in the sample, it is always in a negative light. This was enough to turn me off.
I would not buy this book unless all of the inaccuracies were fixed and the author offered an apology to all of those he has offended with this work. From the author’s comments defending this steaming pile of crap, there won’t be one coming. Harcourt Children’s Books should never have been an accessory to this literary crime.
Finally, there are no deserts in Turkey. This is a fact, not an opinion.