Esmes Indie Highlights/SPFBO: Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick

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I would have picked this book up anyway since I’ve already read, They Mostly Come Out at Night, which is book 1 in this series.

Although this is a ‘sequel’, it’s really more of a stand alone story in the same world IMO, although there is a cross over character by the end, you don’t necessarily have to know who he is to get the story.

I liked They Mostly Come Out at Night, it had a unique story and it was creepy and a breath of fresh air with the folk tale mini stories, but it had some areas that could have used some improvement, like the dialogue.

I’m really happy to say the dialogue in this book was great, this book is a full step ahead of the last book and it’s satisfying watching the author improve his craft, and I’m not the only one – the goodreads score for the second book is much better than the first.

Bingo: Self Published, Sea Faring


Kaimana – this is our stories MC, she’s a musician in the troupe who plays the ocarina, and she has a Knack for music. Her mother and father are both fishing Knacks, and don’t necessarily approve of her running around the Atoll with her troupe instead of being home and fishing. She has a sense of adventure which leads her through this story and a good heart, it was easy to like Kaimana and be rooting for her through the story

There are side characters, her troupe, her family and some others you meet along the way, but really this is Kaimanas story

Final Score: 8.5/10



Kaiamana has just arrived back home after 3 years in the beginning of the story, and she’s approached by a little girl who tells her there’s a taniwha living in a cave up on the mountain side. Kaimana doesn’t believe the little girl at first until it was confirmed by her parents. She decides to go searching for the taniwha who’s believed to have killed several members of the Atoll society and she had been told not to go and seek him out.

As it turns out, approaching the taniwha increased her magical powers, and she started to “spark” shortly after the encounter. The rest of the story focuses on her friendship with the monster, and the problems that causes with her society. She’s hunted down by gods who want to kill her taniwha which she names Rakau.

Final Score: 8/10


World Building:

I really liked this world he created, I can’t remember the last story that was told on an Atoll on a group of islands where people canoe from island to island of small populations. There are cannibals, monsters, and walking talking Gods. In this world the Gods walk among the people and interact with them, and there’s a god for everything, even yams. The god of Yams was one of my favorite side characters, a dejected low level sarcastic filled God of Yams, it was perfect. There were also folk stories being told within the story which added to the depth of the world.

People who have a magical ability are known to have Knacks, and it could be for anything which is so unique and charming to read about (cooking knack, fishing knack, music knack), most magic systems give people these unbelievable powers and I really like this twist on the idea of magical powers. When you start to “spark” you’re going through a genius moment of your powers, and you excel beyond imagining- creating masterpieces if you’re a music knack for instance.

Final Score: 9/10



I read this book very quickly, the book is under 300 pages and it’s meant to be a shorter more folktale like story. There were several very short folk tales used as interlude chapters that were maybe 5-6 pages long each.

Pacing Final Score: 8.5/10

Writing Final Score: 9/10


I’ve never read a book set in the Atolls before, and it’s so, so rare when a book comes off as more fairly tale and legendary in tone, it was so fresh and unique. The way the short stories were used as interludes was extremely creative as well.

Final Score: 10/10



* People who like folk tales
* People who like shorter stories
* People who like creature companions
* People who like walking talking gods
* People who like quick pacing
* People who like unique stories and settings
* People who love beautiful covers, this cover WON the spfbo cover contest


Total Final Score: 53/60 8.83/10 


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