Tara Trilogy, Book 1
Finished: May 8, 2009
First Published: 2007
Reason for Reading: the Indian mythology aspect appealed to me. Received as part of the now "in hiatus" Chapters-Indigo Top Reviewer Program.
Someone was following him.
Comments: This is a fairy tale, a myth, and a quest fantasy, set in an Indian village, all rolled into one. Tara and her younger brother's mother leaves them suddenly one night with only a hushed whisper that one day she will return. A year later her father is nothing but a walking shell who lets their stereotypical evil stepmother treat them like servants. Tara's grandfather also disappeared the same night as her mother and he was the villages' healer; now a new healer has arrived and some think he is evil but the men in town either turn to his side or disappear. Then one night Tara overhears a plan that involves killing herself and her brother and she decides she must go find her mother and face the forest and the Vetalas (which a google search compares to vampires but the descriptions both on the net and in the book remind me more of zombies) which roam within. Thus begins a journey and a quest filled with Hindu mythology to save Tara's family and villagers.
This was a delightfully wonderful book. With the rather mystical yet staid cover I wasn't sure what to suspect within its pages. The book begins very over the top in fairy tale fashion but not in a satire fashion, just in an obvious tone letting one know that in fairy tales bad thing can happen and probably will happen. The book then turns darker and there are some quite dark images pictured throughout the book, hence I would not recommend for young children. The secondary characters are never fully realized and left to play their parts in the plot but Tara is a wonderful, resourceful, intelligent, strong female character with a deep character and realistically flawed. The plot itself is steeped in Hindu mythology and this is where the whole feel and essence of the book comes from. It's not a particularly common topic in YA fantasy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Certainly well-written and a compelling read. My one main flaw with the book is that it is too short. At times it feels rushed; there are many parts that could have been extended and an extra hundred or so pages could have filled out the quest section and the final ending which seemed to hurry up and finish as time was running out. This can all be excused as first novel symptoms, but then, the book ends with an absolutely brilliant last sentence letting one know there is a sequel in the works and as I look on Amazon The Silver Anklet will be out in November ('09). Well worth a read if you are looking for a YA fantasy a little different than the norm.
*I am tagging this author as Canadian because she was born in India but resides in Toronto, ON.