Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress
Also published in US under the title of The Savage Fortress
Sarwat Chadda

HarperCollins Children's Books
1 March 2012 / ISBN-13: 9780007447329
Fantasy / India / Ages 8-12
Amazon US - UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Ashok Mistry is 13 years old and bored. He thought that going to India and staying with his archaeologist uncle would be thrilling, but he is not finding it quite how he imagined it to be. Uncle Vik is working for wealthy Englishman Lord Savage and has been given a hugely well-paid job in charge of a dig site. While attending a party at Lord Savage's palatial home he is sent off to look for his little sister and gets lost. What he discovers about his uncle's new patron and his staff will change his life forever and plunge him into a world straight out of the Ramayana…

I know I am always saying it, but the books around for today's tweenagers and teenagers are miles better than anything I could usually find. This is a good example of what the YA genre can produce; here there is almost non-stop excitement, a refreshingly unusual setting and heaps of imagination. On the surface, perhaps, there is nothing very atypical in a story about a boy discovering that the old stories are true and demons do walk the earth, but set it in India and you have something new and fresh. There is even time to explore a little of Ash's feelings about being too Asian in England and too English in India, but this is not made much of; this one is all about the story.

I felt that it never became too predictable and there was always something of a surprise in store about most parts of this pacy tale. The fact that Ash is such a likeable and realistic person adds to the book's appeal; he knows he is no hero but gets on with it, doubts himself and wins through all the same. I hope Ash Mistry gets to have some more adventures. Recommended for boys and girls of all ages…adult ones too!

Reviewer's Note: Some violence
Reviewed 2012