Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi – Review | Blog Tour

A commendable debut.

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT

Perfect for fans of the Aru Shah books and The Chronicles of Narnia.

A middle-grade fantasy about twelve-year-old Rea Chettri, who portals into an otherworldly realm to go on a secret quest to find her missing twin brother Rohan. The clock is ticking in this fast-paced, thrilling, and exciting adventure rife with evil creatures, a ruthless villain, and unforgettable friendships.

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 fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into 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?

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is Payal Doshi’s stunning #ownvoices middle-grade fantasy debut about understanding complex family dynamics, fighting for what is right, discovering oneself, and learning to make friends. 

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi - Review | Blog Tour
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi – Review | Blog Tour

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK

I was excited to read a middle-grade fantasy book that featured an Indian as the protagonist. I am pleased to say Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is a delightful beginning to a new middle-grade fantasy series.

The book is full of adventures. The author’s imagination runs wild which results in excellent world building. Astranthia is a vibrant world full of colors, varied flora, and magic, although it is speckled with darkness too. While it has paries (fairies) and winged horses to save the day, it also has monstrous serpent-lilies and terrifying banshees.

True to a fantasy book, there are obstacles at every turn which our protagonist, Rea, bravely overcomes. And true to a middle-grade book, she needs help from her friends to overcome some of them.

Doshi has created believable characters. Rea is a courageous albeit impulsive girl, while Leela proves to be a loyal and steadfast friend. Xeranther is a chatty person but turns out to be a determined boy. I loved the villain too. She was unapologetically dark. Yet, I felt her anguish and (misplaced) anger.

I also liked how poignantly Doshi describes Rea’s loneliness and the resulting angst. She has to battle poverty, hostile classmates, absence of her father, and a mother who favors her brother more.

Favoritism towards the male child is the reality in many Indian households. I am glad Doshi captured this in Rea and the Blood of the Nectar.

One thing I would have liked more in this book is more descriptions of the town of Darjeeling. It is a beautiful hill station in my state (West Bengal). As such, in my humble opinion, it warranted a few more pages worth of description.

 Darjeeling with the view of the Kanchenjunga mountain
Darjeeling with the view of the Kanchenjunga mountain

The book resonates with the themes of selfless friendships, loyalty, courage, and finding oneself. Middle-grade children looking for an Indian main character in English fantasy novels will love this book.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi Book cover
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi

BOOK DETAILS

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy || Published on June 1, 2021 by Mango and Marigold Press

Buy on Mango and Marigold Press

Many thanks to Lonely Pages Book Tours for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.

Follow the other blogs discussing this book by clicking on the picture below.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi blog tour schedule
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi Blog Tour schedule

AUTHOR BIO

Payal Doshi

Payal Doshi has a Masters in Creative Writing (Fiction) from The New School, New York. Having lived in the UK and US, she noticed a lack of Indian protagonists in global children’s fiction and one day wrote the opening paragraph to what would become her first children’s novel.

She was born and raised in Mumbai, India, and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and three-year-old daughter. When she isn’t writing or spending time with her family, you can find her nose deep in a book with a cup of coffee or daydreaming of fantasy realms to send her characters off into. She loves the smell of old, yellowed books.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar, the first book in The Chronicles of Astranthia series is her debut middle grade novel. For more information, visit her website, www.payaldoshiauthor.com, or follow her on Instagram @payaldoshiauthor and on Twitter @payaldwrites.

If you liked this post, consider supporting my blog through donations on Ko-fi. You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Author: debjani6ghosh

I started this blog to discuss books that I read and movies that I watch. But the blog may not be purely restricted to that!

11 thoughts on “Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi – Review | Blog Tour”

  1. Great review, Debjani! I hope there will be more middle-grade and YA books with Indian protagonists in future.
    Sounds like the characters, including the villain, were really well-written.

    Liked by 1 person

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