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The Savage Fortress Hardcover – October 1, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-On vacation in India with his aunt, uncle, and younger sister, pudgy Ash Mistry can't wait to get back home to his video games and London friends. But when his uncle is offered a million pounds to assist mysterious Lord Savage with translations from an archaeological find, Ash becomes embroiled in an overwhelming and deadly real-life battle. He realizes that Lord Savage is not an ordinary mortal and that his minions are rakshasas (demons). Determined to save his uncle, Ash unwittingly betrays himself and becomes the rakshasas's target. When he falls into a collapsing pit, he discovers a golden arrowhead-the aastra (weapon) of the ancient goddess Kali. With a splinter of it lodged in his thumb, Ash is able to channel Kali's power. But it is not enough to save his uncle and aunt, and, when they are killed, he sets out to save his sister-and the world-from Ravana, the all-powerful demon king, and his gruesome forces of evil. Chadda weaves Hindu mythology into an engrossing story of a shy, overweight gamer who becomes transformed into one of his own comic-book superheroes. Plot-driven, fast paced, exciting, and sometimes terrifying, The Savage Fortress is the ideal next step for readers who loved Rick Riordan's books about the Olympian heroes and Anthony Horowitz's "Gatekeepers" series (Scholastic). Vivid descriptions of contemporary India and flashbacks to the mythological battles of Rama and Ravana enrich this tale of a nerd's metamorphosis. Make time for this novel, because it is very hard to put down.-Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

Starred Review, School Library Journal
On vacation in India with his aunt, uncle, and younger sister, pudgy Ash Mistry can’t wait to get back home to his video games and London friends. But when his uncle is offered a million pounds to assist mysterious Lord Savage with translations from an archaeological find, Ash becomes embroiled in an overwhelming and deadly real-life battle. He realizes that Lord Savage is not an ordinary mortal and that his minions are rakshasas (demons). Determined to save his uncle, Ash unwittingly betrays himself and becomes the rakshasas’s target. When he falls into a collapsing pit, he discovers a golden arrowhead–the aastra (weapon) of the ancient goddess Kali. With a splinter of it lodged in his thumb, Ash is able to channel Kali’s power. But it is not enough to save his uncle and aunt, and, when they are killed, he sets out to save his sister–and the world–from Ravana, the all-powerful demon king, and his gruesome forces of evil. Chadda weaves Hindu mythology into an engrossing story of a shy, overweight gamer who becomes transformed into one of his own comic-book superheroes. Plot-driven, fast paced, exciting, and sometimes terrifying, The Savage Fortress is the ideal next step for readers who loved Rick Riordan’s books about the Olympian heroes and Anthony Horowitz’s “Gatekeepers” series (Scholastic). Vivid descriptions of contemporary India and flashbacks to the mythological battles of Rama and Ravana enrich this tale of a nerd’s metamorphosis. Make time for this novel, because it is very hard to put down.–Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City

"This fantasy riffs on events from the Ramayana—the takeoff point for a knock-down, drag-out adventure that draws a 13-year-old into the unfinished business of the Indian gods.

A Londoner visiting his uncle and aunt in India, Ash Mistry’s first mistake is picking up an ancient gold arrowhead that involves him and his younger sister Lucky in business left from India’s legendary past; his second mistake is refusing to surrender the ancient weapon to the (very obvious) villain, Alexander Savage, and his rakshashas (demons). As is often true in fantasy quests, characters appear and disappear after helping or hindering the hero. The narrative arc is carried forward at first by the direct unfolding of Ash’s discovery and Savage’s hunt for the arrowhead. In addition, there are flashbacks that key readers in to Rama’s story. These provide vital information in a highly palatable way but also take some liberties with the original legend. A rousing and breathtaking climax supports the tied-up threads of the ending. Nonstop action and likable teen characters will attract fans of fantasy quests such as the Percy Jackson books and the saga of Nicholas Flamel.

There are hints that Ash may have unfinished business with India and its gods—let’s hope so." - Kirkus reviews

"If the heat and the crowded streets of Varanasi weren’t bad enough, thirteen-year-old Ash Mistry finds out that India’s holiest city is home to a fortress of demons, effectively putting the kibosh on what he though would be a fun summer vacation. Pudgy Londoner Ash discovers that Lord Savage, a wealthy businessman leading an archeological dig in Varanasi with the help of Ash’s uncle, is actually marshaling an army of rakshashas (demons) to take over the world, but his plans hit a snag after Ash picks up a legendary arrowhead and begins to suspect that he may be the reincarnated soul of Rama, India’s greatest warrior king. With the help of a former demon and several other reincarnated souls, Ash prepares to take on Savage and perhaps even the gods themselves. A classic hero’s quest, this action-packed story has its protagonist making the transformation from portly, brainy everyday kid to courageous, physically strong warrior with relative ease. Chadda wisely keeps his hero’s mental state the same, however, so even after Ash has proven his abilities, the boy is racked with self doubt and frankly resentful that this lot has fallen on his shoulders, two traits that will make him immediately relatable to a young reader. Graphic fight scenes leave little to the imagination, describing in cinematic clarity just what happens when one is attacked by a twenty-foot crocodile-demon hybrid. The incorporation of the Ramayana legend serves as a basic introduction to Indian deities; fans of Riordan’s Kane Chronicles, Indiana Jones, and the like will appreciate this non-Western take on fantasy adventure." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545385164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545385169
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
79%
4 star
21%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 19 customer reviews
While written for the YA crowd, this book should appeal to adventure-seekers of any age.
Teacherrates
Chadda has knocked this one out of the park with a well written, fast paced, adrenaline filled story that never allows the reader to feel bored.
Michelle Henriques-Wilson
I typically prefer first person, especially with a main character as funny as Ash, but it works well with the story.
Guinevere.BlancaWelsh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shveta Thakrar on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews, but for ASH MISTRY, I had to. You see, I'm South Asian myself and have been waiting for a book (or many) like this, where people who look like me get to go on fantasy adventures, too! Even better, this novel brings to life the stories I grew up hearing, such as episodes and characters from the epic Ramayana, while creating something new in the process.

Ashoka, or Ash, as he prefers to be called, is from England and doesn't think much of his heritage. He's happy to enjoy his video games and fast food, and while the stories his uncle Vikram tells him about Hindu lore are exciting, they're just that, stories.

Or so he thinks. Ash finds himself trapped in India, at the mercy of a fellow Englishman, Mr. Savage, who desperately wants an ancient artifact that everyone thought was just legend. And that's when the fun begins, because Ash quickly learns his life is much, much bigger than he ever thought. Or to put it another way, he's had more lives than this current one, and as a result of past reincarnations, it's his destiny to stop Savage in the man's world-threatening quest for immortality. After all, as the tagline says, "Heroes aren't born; they're remade." (If you want to know what that means, read the novel. :) )

What thirteen-year-old boy is ready to deal with that? Ash isn't, not initially, but what makes this novel really sing is the author's willingness to go dark. Ash loses his Indian family to Savage and uncovers a power he doesn't want at all. Worse, Savage effectively isolates Ash from his parents back in England, so there's no one to help. Alone, Ash must either accept his role and shed his current identity as British middle school student, or the world will be destroyed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CAS on December 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
4.5

Well, would you let your child watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? The yes or no there is really your answer to whether this is a good book for your family.

Yes, I enjoyed reading it. Yes, I hope it does develop into a series and I would happily read the next story.

I am a 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom teacher in a small rural school where the population is about a 70/30 Catholic/other Christian mix. I pre-read just about everything before it goes on the shelf, and yes, I will put this on the shelf.

I purchased this book from the Scholastic book order where it was advertised as an `Indian Rick Riordan'.
Yeah... sort of.

What may be a flag about this book is the same sort of thing that was a flag for Temple of Doom. Very reminiscent of the removing hearts from living people stuff. Characters who die in this book often do so with somewhat extreme gore and in a brutal way. Separately, at one point relatives of the main character are crushed alive in a vehicle--not graphically, but kids might find it a little terrifying.

I'm not going to say the types of death does not serve the story, but it is uncomfortably unfamiliar. This isn't the Brothers Grimm and you feel it.

Of course, the unfamiliarity is one of the best things about the story. I know a little Indian mythology from A River Sutra and having read through parts of the Bhagavad Gita (and the Temple of Doom - although I had no idea the stuff in that movie had any sort of relationship to actual mythology, what a surprise!). This story is written from a position of great understanding of India, its religion, its culture, and its people. Woo hoo!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So Libby is immersing herself in the world that is "Percy Jackson." Have to say Im a little jealous, because she knows Im a big fantasy buff, especially with the YA category. While Im attracted to the series, what steers me from it for the time being, is that it takes until the "Heroes of Olympus" for characters of color to be a main focus.

I was looking for a book series that gave me people of color of my heroes now!

It just so happened, as my sister was reading it, she fell upon this after researching whether there were books with fantastic elements with non-Western settings, and she suggested it to me, seeing how I typically connect with with South Asian characters(Being Afro-Cuban, we typically face and understand colorism, and my aunt's husband is originally from Northern India, so Im typically invested) I thought I'd give it a go.

I rarely say this, but this book is an AVATAR STATUS book. I don't easily distribute this term to any book. My favorite show of all time is "Avatar: The Last Airbender", and naturally I've fallen in love with "The Legend of Korra" as well. Many things have to be present for a book to even be in the same sentence as Avatar. A main character who is a person of color. A main character who gains amazing abilities, and a villain who is a worthy antagonist.

The Savage Fortress has all three!

The Savage Fortress follows the exploits of Ashoka Mistry, a British 13 year old, of Indian descent, visit. He's visiting his aunt and uncle in India, and hating every minute of it. Until his uncle receives a job offer that changes his life, and everyone around him, forever.

I found the pacing worked well with the story.
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