Wednesday 10 May 2023

#bookreview: Tales of Polynesia: Folktales from Hawai'i, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa

Tales of Polynesia: Folktales from Hawai'i, New Zealand, Tahiti, and SamoaTales of Polynesia: Folktales from Hawai'i, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa by Yiling Changues
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a somewhat frustrating read. I went in hoping to really like it because I generally like folktales. I like reading old origin/creation myths, finding out what makes a culture gel together, what kinds of stories they tell each other, and how these make up who they are as a nation.

Most of the stories were fascinating, but they were a really hard, dry, and boring read. I mean, these are pretty much fantastic and fantastical stories, but struggling through unending sentences just made me want to give up. I feel like... pulling together a bunch of old translations into one book and giving them really fancy illustrations wasn't enough to keep my attention.

Maybe I lost out a little on the reading experience because this was an ebook ARC and the formatting really sucked (footnotes that only appeared several pages later instead of as a pop-up; illustrations that were somehow split into multiple images; Kindle only shows black & white images instead of colour; fancy drop caps don't show up; random line breaks, page numbers, headers and footers appearing haphazardly in the text) but... that really shouldn't change the experience of the stories themselves?

I just felt like the stories needed someone to edit them for a better flow, and probably to slightly more modern English, instead of just using centuries-old versions. I don't think these need a "retelling" in the way everyone is retelling folktales and making them into whole novels, but they do need a bit of a rewrite for readability's sake.

Or maybe I'm somewhat at the end of my interest in the folktale style of storytelling.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from the Chronicle Books via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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