Rea and the Blood of the Nectar (Chronicles of Astranthia #1)
Mango and Marigold Press
Published June 15, 2021
About Rea and the Blood of the Nectar
It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found.
It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it.
Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is Payal Doshi’s stunning #ownvoices middle-grade fantasy debut about understanding complex family dynamics, fighting for what is right, discovering oneself, and learning to make friends.
This was a really fun book to read! I have been hearing such great things about it for so long that I was a little nervous about reading it. I tend to have that anxiousness about books that have a lot of hype around them. In this case, though, I was not disappointed.
I felt like Rea was easy to identify with. She’s a loner but also lonely, and that absolutely resonated with me, especially in thinking back to my own life at that age. She’s also smart and motivated, though her trust issues kind of trip her up sometimes. I loved that the story explored her relationships with others and gave her opportunities to grow both as an individual and as a friend/sister/leader.
REA AND THE BLOOD OF THE NECTAR is full of playful moments. Sometimes they verge on being a bit cheesy, but I kind of liked those moments, too. It was nice to read a book that was both rich and beautiful but that didn’t take itself too seriously and embraced the silly and fun, too. That made it really fun to read.
The pacing of the story seemed pretty even to me, too. I felt like the stakes kept going up, and the tension definitely built as the story progressed toward the moment where Rea had to confront her antagonist.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12
Rea and her family are Indian.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used twice.
Rea follows her mother to a woman’s home who can predict the future. Later Rea and her friend visit this same woman for help themselves. Rea discovers an entrance to another world in which she and a few others have the ability to use magic.
Some brief battle scenes and brief references to torture.
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