When Rea has a fight with her brother on their 12th birthday and he goes missing, she decides she’s going to do whatever it takes to save her brother. This leads her on an adventure where Rea learns family secrets, what friendship is, and that she might not be the as forgettable as she believes. Set in India with peeps of Indian tradition, this is a pretty solid debut and start to series.
What I enjoyed most about Rea was her personal journey . Rea initially is a tad bit unlikable and a little “woah is me.” As we progress through the narrative, we get to see Rea grow as a person and discover her self worth. She was never a weak character but her strength masked a lot of insecurity. Watching her gradually overcome her insecurities was great to see. This is one of my favorite themes in middle grade novels and I felt overall that this was executed well. The world building was phenomenal. When we get to the fantasy world it is described in a way that you can see all of the beautiful colors, smell the town and flower. Enough of the world was revealed where you have a good grasp, but there is enough there to discover in subsequent books.
The pacing of the book was a little slow for me and didn’t always engage. I found myself at times waiting for the next big thing to happen. I wanted a little more balance of self reflection and plot. The big plot points are definitely enough to keep you interested though and the look at familial relationships is always a delight. While I liked where Rea’s arc ended in this story, to get there was sometimes a chore.
Overall, this is a good start to the series and I definitely would recommend it. With the focus on a different culture than we generally see in the genre and a brown main character. If you enjoy adventure and finding yourself I would say go pick this up when it comes out. I’m interested in checking out the next book.
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed are my own.****
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