Rea and the Blood of the Nectar

Mango & Marigold. May 2021. 354p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781645437635.
Gr 4-6–Rea is upset and unhappy with her family. It is her birthday, but her twin brother is ignoring that she shares it, her Amma is making her go pick tea, and then to top it off, both newly 12-year-olds are being told not to leave the small house in their village in Darjeeling, India. Though it has always been her home and Rea’s family appears to be like all the other families there, she is about to find out she is not at all like the people of her village, and that her family holds a terrible and wonderful secret. When her brother Rohan goes missing, Rea enlists the help of potential friend Leena, who is from a large Indian family. The duo finds themselves transported through a banyan tree into the realm of Astranthia. Rea discovers that she is a princess and her family are the rightful rulers there; she also has magical control over nectar, the energy force that runs through the land. This puts her in great danger, but also allows her to fulfill her quest. The fantasy world of Astranthia is richly described with deadly lilies, talking plants, and people living in flower buds, giving readers a land in which to get lost. The plot in the middle becomes repetitive, with Rea’s quest being slow to build; the narrative does not create the suspense that readers might crave in an adventure story. Rea does go through a believable transformation realizing the good people she is surrounded by and recognizing true friendship and family, but that is revealed more through explanation than an emotionally resonant connection readers will feel. Leena, on the other hand, is a fabulous character who is well defined, and readers will feel endeared to immediately. The glossary in back is extremely detailed and helpful in explaining Hindi and Napali words sprinkled throughout the text. Use of this language throughout reminds readers that this story is taking place in India even when in a realm of fantasy.
VERDICT A verdant setting for a fantasy book that highlights the persistence of a young girl struggling with herself and her family secrets, both good and evil. A suggested purchase for larger collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing