Latoya Laska’s Mikin

Title: Mikin
Author: Latoya Laska
Published Date: March 7, 2022
Page Count: 222 pages
Price: $0.99
Reviewer: Gwendoline SK Terry (9 April 2022)

A young scientist Neo was forced to make a hyper jump with a small scout ship because of a terrible problem in their spaceship. The only companion is a robot, Pipi. At the end of a long hyper jump, they landed completely unfamiliar but incredibly beautiful planet Lipil. Before Neo knew it, he was being held captive by the inhabitants of Lipil. Neo is handcuffed and thrown as food for the terrifying animal Gogo.

Disobeying the customary law of Lipil, Nehi comes forward at the last moment to save Neo. As Nihi is an inhabitant of Lipil and she broke rules, she has to stand on the court for breaking the law.

What happened to Neo and Nihi in the end?

Review – may contain spoilers!
Despite the somewhat clumsily written description, ‘Mikin’ appeared to be a promising romance. The cover was cute and, after a quick look on Amazon and Goodreads, this seemed to be the author’s debut novel so I wanted to give it a shot. Besides, it was only 99 cents, so why not?

Unfortunately, the novel was written in the same lumbering manner as the description. The writing doesn’t flow – it’s almost robotic – as though it’s been translated badly into English. It was incredibly difficult to focus on the storyline because of the tenuous grasp of syntax and grammar, the clunky narrative, and the constant mistakes. The story is filled with frequent errors (names without capitals at the beginning, capitals where they needn’t be, etc), and awkward phrases like “Neo swallowed in his mind”, “Nihi’s teeth sparkle with happiness”, “it feels very cold because it is too cold”, and “Are there any symptoms that Khattak can attack us?”. There are multiple moments where the author uses ‘symptoms’ rather than ‘indications’ or ‘signs’. Though the words are synonymous, I feel the sentence would sound better with one of the latter two words.

Time and time again, the spaceship ‘Critive’ is mistakenly written as ‘Creative’, ‘Mikin’ as ‘Micken’, and one character’s name (Olivia) completely changes to ‘Prima’ within a couple of sentences. A few sentences transformed from description to dialogue without the latter being defined with speech marks, and the narrative tense was jarringly inconsistent, frequently jumping from present to past. There was even a moment where the entire perspective changed – instead of “Neo saw an apple-like fruit”, the author wrote, “I saw an apple-like fruit”. There were many repetitions that went on for entire paragraphs – for instance, when Nihi is first introduced I couldn’t go a single sentence without reading about her or someone else’s eyes. I get it, they’re different shades of green, they’re pretty – enough with it already!

As for the storyline, the romance (this is a Sci-Fi romance after all) was clichéd love-at-first-sight. I don’t mind clichés, but love-at-first-sight is my least favourite trope. The bickering between the two robots, Linda (a hologram) and Pipi (a medical robot) was not as funny as I assume the author intended it to be, and I found myself rolling my eyes throughout the majority of the dialogue between the pair. Their conversations make them sound like squabbling children rather than intelligent robots. Something else that bothered me was the fact the MC was injured and floating in and out of consciousness for the majority of the book. I was also uncomfortable with the fact Nihi, the love interest for Neo, was 17, while Neo seemed to be a fully grown man, and the author pushed that the two shared an incredible, enduring love when they spent only four or so months together in total.

The author did a good job of showing the language barrier between Neo and Nihi at first, but that problem was quickly resolved within thirty minutes of the pair sitting in a boat together, (the first time they were able to truly spend time together since meeting), thanks to Nihi’s species being able to immediately memorise the pronunciation and meaning of every word they hear. While the book is advertised as a romance, it has a tragic ending – personally, I love tragedies, but a sad ending doesn’t usually fit the bill for a romance novel. I was not expecting the ending at all, but I liked it.

Despite all this, I believe ‘Mikin’ is a promising story, it just needs a thorough inspection by a line- and copy-editor. From the descriptions of spaceships, the world, and the non-human species the author developed, the author seems intelligent and obviously has a great passion for Sci-Fi.

I loathe giving books 1-star reviews, especially since, as of the time of my posting, this will be the first review for ‘Mikin’, and it seems to be the author’s debut novel, but I feel like it is unfortunately necessary. My issues with the book are almost all grammatical and syntactical. The way the book is written gives the impression that English is not the author’s first language and it was translated. I found a Spanish version of the eBook available on Amazon, but I can’t speak or read Spanish to tell if that book is filled with errors like this one. If the English version is a translated story, the author NEEDS to find a better translator so the story isn’t so difficult to read. There is a lot of potential here, but the story needs more work/better translating to make it readable (in English, again, I can’t say anything about the Spanish version). I urge the author to have a professional line-editor, copy-editor, and proofreader examine this book and make the necessary changes – or find a better translator.