As a child in Kathmandu, Asha was bitten by a dragon and gained the ability to hear the souls of all living things. Years later in India, she uses her strange gift and her training as an herbalist to save people possessed by ghosts, poisoned by legendary beasts, and tortured by the cruel doctors of Ming. And to fight the occasional bear or tiger, of course.
With the help of a beautiful blind nun and a sleepy little mongoose, Asha confronts both victims and predators, including the man who stole her childhood and killed her lover. But when she journeys into the west, Asha discovers that there are fates worse than death and there are human monsters that can only be defeated by a woman with the strength of a dragon.
Asha, the kick ass heroine!
In this book we meet the most awesome character, Asha, sort of like Cain from the TV show Kung Fu but only if he were tougher, still in the Orient and a chick! We meet Asha as she wanders through the land, helping those she can, but seemingly directionless in her wanderings. She comes upon a sort of Buddhist nun, asleep in and literally enmeshed with the secluded forest around her. When she frees the nun, Asha gains a traveling companion and an interesting counter point to her dark and brooding nature.
As we learn more about Asha and her past, we realize she’s traveling with a purpose, to avenge herself on the evil man who calls himself a healer but is little more than a mad scientist spreading destruction and death in his wake.
The World As We Know It
I adored the world building in this book! Starting off with the premise of Earth and then taking a sort of alternate reality view of it, Joseph Robert Lewis crafts a world unlike one I’ve ever read. Part mythology, part fantasy, with even a hint of Steampunk, the Other Earth saga is set in a richly conceived and lushly described landscape. I loved the allusions, in both name and story, that Lewis weaves into Asha’s story and those of the people she meets. With hints of Homer’s Odyssey and the Bhagavad Gita juxtaposed against early technology and elements of fantasy, Lewis makes this unusual mix work. It’s ornate and absolutely fascinating.
First Things Last
Of the three genres mixed together in this series, Fantasy, Historical Fiction and Steampunk, which is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments!
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