Friday, February 15, 2008

the third eye

the third eye, by mahtab narsimhan

Middle Grade/early YA/Canadian/Indian mythology

Tara, and her younger brother Suraj, have been living a terrible life for the last year, ever since the night when their mother and grandfather disappeared from the village. Their new stepmother is cruel, and enslaves the two children, forcing them to do all of the housework, and to feed her spoiled daughter and herself, while going hungry themselves. Strangely, their father doesn't seem at all concerned about what is happening, and hardly seems to notice them.

Their grandfather had been the village healer, with his disappearance the position has become vacant. When Zarku, a mysterious and powerful healer with a third eye arrives in town, Tara and Suraj begin to notice other strange things happening.

Soon they realize that it is up to them to save the village from this powerful Zarku. They need to go and find their grandfather before it is too late. The two set out on a quest that soon becomes incredibly perilous.

This is a wonderful adventure story, that not only succeeds in being a great tale in its own right, but also fills a gap in Canadian publishing for young people. Based in India, and with its roots in Indian mythology, this book offers Canadian readers an accessible glimpse into this culture. The book felt both very comfortably familiar in its style, and very much of another culture in its feel. This was very appealing and made me turn the pages quickly to see what would happen next. The story moves along quickly, but gives the reader a chance to enjoy the scenery and setting.

Highly recommended for grade 6-9.

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