Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Assam & Darjeeling Paperback – May 6, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top Customer Reviews
It all begins with a car accident that leaves two children and their mother in intensive care. Floating in an unworldly place where they can see the real world but not be seen, the kids resolve to find their mother who is not with them and bring her back. This begins a perilous journey into the Underworld where the boatman wants a coin to let them aboard for their journey down the river. Sound familiar? T.M. Camp has woven together echoes of Dante, mythology, legend, and ancient folklore to tell a tale that keeps us on the edge of our seat both to follow the quest and to identify which bits of story he is using in each situation.
We meet demons with cell phones, ancient deities driving vintage convertibles... a goddess whose is not longer worshiped and must wait tables in a diner to make ends meet ... and villains who are in pursuit of the children for ends that are hinted at but impossible to guess.
This story will appeal to anyone who knows and loves classic Western mythology. Camp has tweaked the old legends just enough to make us puzzle about each new situation and character's origin. When it falls into place we feel a sense of triumph for getting it right ... or the need to dash to the reference books to see what unknown myth he is referring to.
One of the truest pleasures of Assam & Darjeeling is the relationship between the forceful younger sister, Darjeeling, and the thoughtful, sensitive older brother, Assam. The way that they work together to save their mother, yet often clash in the details of how they must proceed is what carries the story and makes us believe in their relationship. It rings true to anyone who has siblings whom they love but who also have the capacity to irritate beyond belief in daily life.
I listened to this book in audio form first and am thrilled to see that the printed version is even more of a pleasure. One can then linger over the beautifully phrased writing that pulls the reader into a fantastical world.
I don't know if this is true for the paperback and/or kindle versions but the hardcover copy that I borrowed from the library had a lot of typographical errors. It isn't as though I've never come across this before but this book had so many that I found myself having to re-read something every few chapters to try to make sense of what was happening.
You could probably make up a drinking game for how many times someone says "I have no idea." (and it's almost identical twin "I've no idea.")
I'm not just talking about one character having a catch phrase; I'd be okay with that. I could even accept two children saying that to each other over and over again, because kids can be that annoying and unoriginal sometimes. Unfortunately, in this book almost every single character says it. The author has the two main characters constantly answering each other with "I have no idea." A queen says it, a villain says it, the character with too many pets says it etc. The author really would have done well to find another way to express his characters' ignorance.
About halfway or so through the book the plot really begins to lag. The characters get to a point in which they stop to talk, and talk, and then talk some more.
I have two other complaints, but I will warn you that they reveal some of the plot.
One minor character introduces himself as James, but then the characters just up and decide to call him Jimmy. Of course, one is a nickname for the other, but it was a bit jarring to meet a person who is called James in the beginning of the book, have one or two brief encounters with him (also towards that start of the book) and then near the end of the story have the question asked "do you remember Jimmy?"
Also, when we first meet James we are specifically told that he has "something in his hand," but towards the end we are told that he had something in his mouth.
At one point a character is revealed to be blind. This is meant to be a surprise and given the plot it makes sense for this to remain hidden until the proper moment, but it really seems to cheat the reader when you tell us that this person is able to read and write and regularly makes written labels for things and then expect us to believe that he can't see. Oh, he can feel the letters that he wrote in ink? Right.
If I recall correctly, I believe that he was said to use a light in his office which makes no sense because he was the only person who worked there and wouldn't have had any need for it. Now I might be mistaken about whether or not the book specifically mentioned a light in this place, but it was a windowless room and a sighted character was able to see in it so it is still a bit of a plot hole.
I loved the overall idea of this book, but the execution just wasn't quite as strong as it could have been.
This is a highly imaginative tale, woven from various myths and mythologies. What makes it special though, are the boy and girl. Assam and Darjeeling are wonderfully written. Very real siblings who won my heart almost immediately. The book dragged a bit in places and had quite a few typographical errors, but I had to continue because of the children. I needed to know how they fared. The creative situations they often found themselves facing were intriguing to read as well.
One of the best books I've read in years.