Rea and the Blood of the Nectar
It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea's life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It's four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found. It hasn't even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan's gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortuneteller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal to an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it.Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him, and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?
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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi follows a hero's quest as a young girl races to save her brother. It all started on Rea's birthday which her twin brother decided to celebrate with a cricket match and without her. As if dealing with Rohan wasn't bad enough, her Amma and grandmother's behavior has gotten strange. Rea decides to do what she wants for a change and disobey Amma's orders to go to her friend Leela's friend. The next thing she knows, her brother Rohan has disappeared, and while Amma may be willing to accept that he's gone, Rea refuses to give up. She embarks on a search for her brother which leads to an old fortune-teller called Mishti Daadi. This sets them on a quest where Rea meets new allies and must fight against dangerous threats such as lizardmen, banshees, serpent lilies, and more in an attempt to rescue Rohan. Her quest pushes her to be heroic when an ally is in need of her help and her brother needs her now more than ever.
The beginning of the story introduces the struggles that Rea is experiencing as she's grown tired of her brother always getting his way. Rohan's disappearance is the catalyst for Rea's quest and what brings her into this world of danger and the supernatural as she sets out to save her brother. The story creates a bookend with the beginning setting up her resentment at being a twin and having a grudge against Rohan which leads through a series of events that make her miss him and realize how much he actually means to her. In a hero's quest with a fun twist, Payal Doshi creates a lesson through the monsters and the heroic feats for Rea to learn the value in her family and her brother. The quest allows her to figure out her own capabilities and discover the depths of her own bravery. The new allies she makes become her friends and companions who support her in the fight against monsters, dealing with threats, and journeying into the unknown. Doshi delivers a journey that breathes life into the fantasy genre with a hero for all ages as Rea and the Blood of the Nectar delivers a tale that is charming, witty, clever, and full of adventure.