Kayla's Reviews > The Savage Fortress

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
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's review
Jan 05, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: arcs, reviewed
Read from August 23 to November 22, 2012

See original review on darkfaerietales.com/reviews

You've probably heard of Greek and Roman mythology (Any Percy Jackson fans out there?) Or maybe even a bit of Norse mythology (Thor, son of Odin, a.k.a. Chris Hemsworth *sighs*). But have you even thought of India's mythology? Sarwat's The Savage Fortress gives you just enough information to wet your pallet in this enjoyable adventure-filled novel for middle-graders.

While in India on a vacation to visit his Aunt and Uncle, Ash Mistry accidentally comes across an arrowhead in the middle of a excavation site. But it's just an arrowhead, right? Only, when Ash first touches it, he saw a vision from the past--of the last battle against the evil demon king Ravana. The arrowhead holds in his hands is actually the blessed arrowhead of Kali--the goddess of death. But Lord Alexander Savage is also looking for the arrowhead in order to release Ravana from his iron prison. Now Ash has a sliver of the arrowhead in his thumb, a little sister that's been kidnapped and an immortal rakshasa that claims to be on the good side. Add the responsibility to save the world from a bloodthirsty demon king, and it makes for an eventful summer.

The Savage Fortress gives a creative twist to India's mythology. There are relatable characters and some absolutely cooky characters. Overall it's a fun (and really graphic, violence and gore wise, for a middle school book) fast-paced novel that has a lot of potential. I think Sarwat does a great job in creating the busy Indian streets and markets. The world building was great throughout. But the main highlight of the book was the characters.

By far my favorite character is Parvati. She's a rakshaska that has a secret--or more like nobody asks so she doesn't tell. Although she has a sketchy background, she helps Ash as he tries to save the world (but honestly in my opinion, Parvati is the heroine because she has the actual ability to Ravana and Ash just happens to be there at the same time). This strong, determined character has been reincarnated for thousands of years, failing each time she tries to help the hero. But this time, she's going to stop Ravana, with or without the destined hero.

Ash is a very normal character. He has no special powers or talents. In fact, he's a bit chubby and out of shape. He's a character that happens to be in the right place at the right time. This makes him very relatable, and his point of view is realistic. He's completely petrified when it comes to fighting an unstoppable demon. But he has a responsibility to his little sister that allows him to plow on to overcome his fear. He may not have the best fighting skills, but he has the perseverance to keep getting back up.

The humor in this book is probably my second favorite part of this book. It's focused toward a younger audience, so new adults and probably some young adults might get bored with this book. But overall it's great for middle schoolers. Also note: like I said before, there are very graphic blood-and-gore scenes in this book, but nothing rated R. Just a warning to parents.

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