Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Synopsis: 12 year old Anand is a poor slum dweller who works in a tea stall in Calcutta (sorry to all purists - it will always be Calcutta to me). Everything changes when he is entrusted with a magical conch and is told by a magical wizard that it is Anand's duty to take the conch to its rightful home in the Himalayas. The only problem is that another powerful and evil wizard wants the the conch and its powers for his own - and he will stop at nothing to take it from Anand.

Assessment: It is exciting to read fantasy that instead of being set in Europe (particularly medieval Europe), is instead set in another country within the context of their traditions. In this case, the story is set in modern-day India, and incorporates traditional Hindu ideas. But you don't need to know one thing about India or Hinduism. All you need to do is pick up the book and expect an exciting page-turning read. Danger and adventure greet Anand and his companion Nisha at every turn, and every reader will find that once hooked, they won't be able to put it down.

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