This is the first book in TG Ayer’s “Hand of Kali” series, this one centered around the gods and legends of Hinduism.
Even though she’s been raised by a family devoted to the Hindu gods, Maya Rao doesn’t believe they’re real. That makes it all the more shocking when she discovers that she was born to be the Hand of Kali – her warrior on Earth to battle the Rakshasa demons who can possess people in order to do their master’s bidding and sometimes kill people just for the fun of it, so some serious evil here. Maya remains skeptical about her status even after she experiences her new-found abilities, but she soon comes to accept that what’s happening is real. She also learns that while she may have a special connection to Kali, other gods and goddesses may need her help at times and will also assist and help protect her when possible.
I’ve only read the first book in this series, so this might change, but if I was the mother of a mid-teen to young adult daughter, I could see myself giving this to her and hoping she might find some inspiration in Maya. Even though she’s still young, as Maya grows in her acceptance of her new reality, she shows a certain maturity in understanding the responsibilities that come with it. Sure, she has moments of doubt or chafes at times about some of what she’s asked to do – she wouldn’t be believable otherwise – but she doesn’t allow herself to wallow in them. She also cares about others enough that she can put their needs first and is willing to take significant risks to help her friends if necessary.
The story itself is good, as are the other main characters. The plot and subplots mesh together well and each is interesting in its own right. There are a couple of times where something that happens in one part of the book seems to be contradicted later by something else but I enjoyed the rest of what was going on enough that it was easy to give it a pass. As I’ve come to expect from Ms Ayer, the side characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional. I really liked how loving and supportive Maya’s parents are, and her friends are fun and interesting in their own right.
All-in-all, this is another good tale from TG Ayer
I love urban fantasy, and T.G. Ayer is quickly becoming one of my favorite UF authors. Her Valkyrie series (which begins with Dead Radiance is a great take on Norse lore, and Dark Sight is a promising beginning to her Daughter of Pythia series, which is grounded in Greek mythology. Likewise, Immortal Bound, the first book in her Apsara Chronicles, gets this series off to a solid start.
I was already familiar with both Norse and Greek pantheons and legends before reading the aforementioned books, but this was my first experience with anything involving the Hindu gods and their stories. I have to admit that I was a bit concerned at first about how well I’d be able to keep up with both a whole new cast of characters and a new-to-me cosmic order to boot, but Ms Ayer did a nice job of having her characters provide enough information to foster a basic understanding without resorting to the kind of expository infodumps that can kill the momentum of a story.
As I’ve come to expect from Ms Ayer’s books, the central characters are well developed, relatable, and grow nicely over the course of the story. I especially liked how the relationship between the mother and daughter evolved over the course of events. As for the story itself, there were a couple of plot points that were a rather predictable, but it contained enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, and wraps things up nicely while still leaving plenty of room for more adventures.
The only real complaint I have with the book is a technical one – it has a truly astounding number of typos and editing errors – the *vast * majority of which were minor things (like writing “fist” instead of “first” or “ember” instead of member) that didn’t impede the flow of the story or interfere with understanding what was happening. There were a couple, though, that threw me for a momentary loop – such as a character being referred to by the wrong name or a reference to an object that wasn’t actually introduced until a few chapters later. That technical issue aside, however, I really enjoyed the story and am eager to read the next installment.