Book Review: ‘Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress’ by Sarwat Chadda

Posted: 4 August 2014 in Book reviews
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Ash Mistry and the Savage FortressSynopsis

Ashoka Mistry is a 13-year old Indian boy from England on holiday for the summer visiting his Aunt Anita and Uncle Vik in India with his sister Lucky. Before he got there, he was so excited because he loves Indian history. Now that he is there, he can’t stand it. It is to hot, humid, too many people, and many other things. All he wants to do now is go home.

But an unknown disaster of apocalyptic proportions is brewing and Ash is the only one who can stop it. But he doesn’t know it. What he does know is that Lord Savage is an evil man. He overhears him speaking with one of his men and calls him a rakshasa, which Ash knows is a demon. Ash tries to get his his uncle to reconsider, but by the time he does it’s too late. After an incident where Ash falls down a hole and inadvertently finds the relic Savage was looking for, Uncle Vik quits. As they are returning home, Savage’s henchmen (demons named Mayar, Jackie, and Jat) show up and kill Ash’s aunt and uncle. He and Lucky barely survive and largely it is because of Rishi, a man they encountered a few days prior.

Their life is turned upside-down as they now are on the run from Savage, who is actually centuries old and plan on using the aastra (the arrow that Ash found) to release Ravana (the demon king) from his prison and gain immortality. Rishi does his best to keep Ash hidden at a pseudo orphanage. Ash of course doesn’t want to stay. He is constantly watched over as well by Parvati, the demon daughter of Ravana. He is trained by the man running the home, the whole time waiting for the time to escape.

With help from a kid there, John, Ash is able to contact his parents and arrange a time a place to meet. He and Lucky escape, but things don’t quite go as planned. His dad isn’t the one waiting, rather Savage’s henchmen. The two get separated and somehow Ash kills one of the demons before he is eventually caught. He is rescued by Parvati and Rishi, but because he won’t leave without his sister, a battle ensues and Rishi ends up being killed shortly after they escape.

Now all looks hopeless. Savage has the aastra and his sister, Rishi is dead, and the demon king is about to released to turn the world into an endless hell. But Parvati isn’t going to go down without a fight. And so Parvati and Ash head off to either stop a demonic takeover or die trying.

My Verdict

So I read some of the comments for this book on Amazon and to be honest all I could think was, ‘what book are these people reading?’. One person wrote:

It’s a rollicking adventure for all ages, with lovely writing, an unusual and charming protagonist and a great supporting cast.

Honestly, I beg to differ. First I’ll start with the overall plot. I liked that. I thought it was an interesting concept although not very original since Rick Riordan has a nice hold in the mythology, Gods and Goddesses market. But still, Chadda plays with Indian mythology and that was cool. The demons and the legend the story it is built on have been very well researched. I liked the element of reincarnation as well.

But then we have the main character Ash. He is one of the worst characters I have ever had to read about. I’m sorry but there is nothing charming or unusual about him. It took my 5 books to get annoyed with Harry Potter and this series did it in the first. My main problem with the character is that he doesn’t really change at all in the book. He whines and moans the entire time. Until the end when has no choice. Even when his aunt and uncle die, he just continues on in his mopey way. I understand he is still a young teenager, but he is weak and not even a kind of weak that a person can relate to. He has no real honour or redeemable qualities. He is in all a poor example of a ‘hero.’

Most of the rest of the characters are just fine. Parvati was good, the demons were pretty cool, Rishi was alright.

As for being a ‘rollicking adventure’ and having ‘lovely writing’, yeah not really. I mean, to be rollicking it needs to be lively and amusing, neither of which it was. To be honest, not much actually happened in the book. He complained, was almost killed, hid somewhere, and then saved the day (his only actually moment of character development). Not exactly lively. And it was more eye-rolling than amusing. And the writing was pretty subpar. Yeah.

Overall, it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. I was surprised to find two more books in the series so I’ll probably give them a read since I did start the series. I would suggest borrowing the book from a library before buying it. Just a warning. Enjoy 😉

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