Blog Book Tour | “The Savage Fortress” (Book 1: the Ash Mistry series) by Sarwat Chadda an adventurous #MGLit rooted in the mythology and culture of India

Posted Friday, 12 December, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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The Ash Mistry series by Sarwat Chadda:

 Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress (Book 1)

Ash Mistry and the City of Death (Book 2)

Ash Mistry and the World of Darkness (Book 3)

Published by: Arthur A. Levine Books an imprint of Scholastic (@Scholastic)

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Converse via Twitter: #AshMistry, #sarwatchadda, & #TheSavageFortress

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Acquired Book By: I was originally going to make my debut hosting for Diverse Book Tours with the Pig Park Blog Tour, however due to a complication my tour stop was cancelled. I am still going to be reading “Pig Park” and am hopeful I can still share the interview I had given with the author. However, this particular blog tour caught my attention immediately due to the fact it was rooted in mythology and the culture of India! I was selected to be on the tour and what was special about this blog tour is how the tour coordinators gifted seven hosts with a complimentary copy of the book “The Savage Fortress”. We were not obligated to post a review on the blog tour itself but were asked to express what drew our attention to the novel. I did not realise this initially which is why when I agreed to host the tour I accepted the book in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Happily this marks my first blog tour as a hostess for Diverse Book Tours, a feat in of itself which is my continuing celebration of diversity and equality in literature. I joined the national campaign for #WeNeedDiverseBooks since it’s inception six months ago, and I have continued to show my support with tweeting about the diversity and/or equality I find in the stories I am reading. One step further is I secured permission to keep the badge in my sidebar before it became popular to do so, as much as I happily placed the Twibbon on my Twitter Profile. It is a cause knitted dear to my heart and if you click on the category “Equality in Lit” in my cloud or below this book review, you will be lead through all the posts which parallel on the topic.

In the New Year or shortly before I am looking forward to seeing the announcement of an idea Janet Ursel (@JanetUrsel) put together for all of us to participate in as it celebrates our passion for reading literature which not only gives us empathy for differences but a passion for reading a diverse array of stories. As 2015 comes into focus, you will be finding me blogging more about stories which champion the reason we have the national campaign as I have always been drawn to these stories myself! I simply have a lot to share and quite happily have a growing community of bookish souls who agree with me!

Inspired to Read:

It might not be widely known amongst my friends, but I have a particular interest in The Mummy films as I happen to adore mythological story arcs which curate an adventure for the characters! The films deal with Ancient Egypt and are a great example of how you can combine live-action with CGI effects and never feel as if the two were used too much or too little! I love the balance but I also loved how the series of three films pushed my envelope of what I consider ‘adventure’ and what technically the rest of the world considers ‘horror’! Laughs. For me, they were a brilliant psychological suspense motion picture trilogy with the key advantage of giving me just enough suspense and wicked adventure!

My reading life runs concurrent to my film life on the level that I am always quite open to seeking out stories which implore me to read them; even if I believe at the jumpstart of finding them they very well could be ‘a challenge’! When I devoured the information about the Ash Mistry series on the author’s website and then re-read the book synopsis for The Savage Fortress for a third time, my gut instinct told me I was going to be ‘okay’ reading this because how seriously intense could it get for a Middle Grade novel? Right? Says the book blogger who was afraid of the spiders in the Harry Potter films! Laughs.

The Cooper Kids Adventure series is one of the best bookish joys of my childhood because I was able to tag-along with an archaeologist (yes, I positively considered becoming one in real-life!) and go on these epic adventures with him! I loved the historical aspects of the series, and who even knew they continued it past the initial books I originally had read? It is on my long term list of bookish goals to find copies of the missing books I do not have as I would very much like to find out what happens! This is a clue that I am a booklover through and through, as I do not oft let go of a book even if I cannot read it as quickly as I would prefer! I am the same person who spent a decade chasing down used copies of a favourite YA series (the Cassandra mysteries – if you know what this refers too, do leave me a comment!) and last year I finally sorted out the missing two novels in sequence past The Purple Door!

I had a good feeling about The Savage Fortress – even if part of me was telling my head how much I can get freaked out about certain things, my heart was telling me ‘you can read this! your going to love it!’ – thus started my bookish journey towards soaking inside the first novel of the Ash Mistry series! And, yet I have only disclosed half of my reason to read it! You see, I have had a dearly beloved appreciation and passion for the art, culture, and food of India! I spoke about this interest of mine whilst I blogged my ruminations on Losing Touch. I have mentioned at times I enjoy reading about World Religions but I am unsure if I mentioned this includes Hinduism and Buddhism? For all of these reasons I was wicked happy seeing this blog tour pop up as it truly felt like an unexpected gift of joy had alighted in my life!

Blog Book Tour | “The Savage Fortress” (Book 1: the Ash Mistry series) by Sarwat Chadda an adventurous #MGLit rooted in the mythology and culture of IndiaThe Savage Fortress

The gods and monsters of India roar to life in this thrilling fantasy!

After three weeks of vacation, Ash Mistry is ready to leave the heat and dust of India behind him. Then he discovers a gleaming gold arrowhead hidden in the sands---a weapon used to defeat evil King Ravana in legend.

At least, Ash is pretty sure it's only a legend . . .

But when Lord Alexander Savage comes after Ash, the legends are suddenly way too real. Savage commands an army of monstrous shapechangers called rakshasas, who want only to seize the arrowhead and restore Ravana to power. As they hunt Ash through magnificent fortresses and brutal deserts, he must learn to work with a powerful rakshasa girl named Parvati, and find the strength within himself to fight on no matter what. Because this isn't just a battle to stop the end of the world. It's a battle to stop the end of reality as we know it.

No pressure.

Read an Excerpt of the Novel on the author's site

Places to find the book:

Series: Ash Mistry, No.1

Also in this series: Intangible, Beneath Creek Waters

on 24th September, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 292

The author introduces “Ash Mistry” via HarperCollins Children’s Books

About Sarwat Chadda

Sarwat Chadda has lived and traveled throughout the world, from China to Guatemala. He’s been lost in Mongolia, abandoned at a volcano in Nicaragua and hidden up a tree from a rhino in Nepal. Not to mention being detained by Homeland Security in the US and chased around Tibet by the Chinese police. Maybe he just has that sort of face.

Anyway, now he’s trying to settle in one place and stay out of trouble. Hence his new career as a writer. It’s safe, indoors and avoids any form of physical danger.

Throughout his travels, Sarwat has soaked up the myths, legends and cultures of far away places. Now, with the Ash Mistry series, he aims to bring these unfamiliar tales of ten-headed demons and blue-skinned heroes back home and put them beside the exploits of Achilles and Thor. His heroes are Prince Rama and the demon-slaying Kali. Isn't it about time you met them too?

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An introduction to a series : Ash Mistry:

I am generally a bit on pins when I start a new series (either for Children’s Lit or Adult Lit), as I never know quite what I am going to find inside the covers! I get such a rush of wicked excitement bubbly through my veins, I can just barely not compress the bursts of hyper joy to actually settle inside the stories themselves! Reading became such an excellent adventure to new worlds, different lifestyles, and unique timescapes; I never quite could contain my initial reactions! Writers have a way of introducing you to the world in a very interesting manner because it is through their characters we find reflections of ourselves, of people we know, or people we have yet to become introduced too.

I appreciated how the story is anchored by Ash, how his sister provides comic relief and how he has been given a bit of foreknowledge in ascertaining what is right, wrong, and middle of the ground. He might not always make the right choices, but he is a forward thinker. He understands the scope of things but he also can see past an illusion for what something truly is instead.

Although Ash Mistry is a strong character I had hoped this was going to be more of a family centered adventure series rather than finding a way to have Ash as the title lead character by dissolving his family out of the context.

My Review of The Savage Fortress:

A snake charmer opens the story inside The Savage Fortress, and this particular book blogger has a bit of an aversion to snakes yet it has weakened over the years as she has met a few boas she has been duly charmed by! This charmer in the story had a cobra, and the manner in which Chadda expressed the snake’s disdain on Ash was quite classic! In a few short sentences I felt as though I had transported myself back into my own childhood whilst I was reading the Cooper Kids Adventure series or any number of wicked awesome stories for young readers where the writers gave you a lightning clip of action on the precipice of an adventure! To say I was hooked inside the narrative at this jump gate is putting it quite mildly!

Chadda drops you so fully into the setting of the story, you nearly forget your sitting down reading the novel rather than walking alongside Ash and his sister Lucky! India is represented as a 13 year old boy and his 10 year old sister might find the country whilst sent on a Summer holiday to live with their Aunt and Uncle. The differences their everyday world in India vs their life in London recanted to each of them was a vast sea of disappointments on the surface but even as they missed certain things, India still held them in awe. Ash was quite the typical teen boy who wanted to game with his mates, eat copious amounts of junk food, and not feel burdened by heat, exhaustion, and a foreign landscape which confounded him more than enlightened. I enjoyed hearing why he loved visiting the castles and the palaces, as even in my own readings and research I must admit India has created a living tome of art and architecture.

Ash is quite the independent young man who is willing to explore a site on his own, but he has a heart of gold when it comes to his sister. It was whilst he was exploring the Savage Fortress (here this refers to an actual place) as named for the man who took it over (Lord Savage) he came upon a chance meeting between his Uncle and Savage. The conversation was foreboding to Ash, as the peripheral overview he had of the room yielded caution rather than curiosity. The conversation which proceeded his Uncle’s revealed one strong clue a heap was amiss in regards to Lord Savage! He was consulting with an immortal demon and the kill by the bridge of a water buffalo was this particular demon’s fault! Ash’s mind lit with such an intense alarm of fear he wasn’t even sure what he should do first! Like him, I wasn’t even sure what he should do! The creepy bit to the revelation is how the mask of normalcy at the Fortress was so cleverly hidden behind an agenda of evil!

I had a difficult time continuing to read after the devastating loss of Ash’s Aunt and Uncle; I felt it was not needed to have such a horrid death written just after his Uncle had agreed to what Ash was attempting to tell him. The first bits of the story were what enthralled me but as I shifted forward into the story itself, I felt it was pushing to force the inertia of the story forward. I appreciate Children’s Lit to be rooted in coming-of age or in an adventure of self-discovery, but I am not akin to needing to see such intense climaxes back to back. I thought for sure Ash and his Uncle were going to become a team to take on Lord Savage and find a way to beat him at his own game. I very much appreciate seeing families in Children’s Lit because most of the empathsis in literature is outside the scope of family. I couldn’t will my heart to continue reading and I felt saddened to say, when I reached page 74 I was just disappointed.

Fly in the Ointment & a note on Content:

(esp in regards to age of a potential reader)

Of course there were a few scenes I had a bit of a wrinkling of ill in reading, as my thoughts on the scene matched Lucky in the first one to arise where a vulture was eating it’s dinner at the very same time the Mistry family was arriving at the party for Lord Savage! Yes, it was quite unsettling and a bit ick, but somehow I have a feeling the boys reading the series might say “so that’s what it sounds like!” as I remember the boys in my science classes who were mad curious about stuff like that! Aye. (this refers to page 8)

I did feel Chapter 7 might be best for children who are not sensitive to battle scenes and sequences of mythological intense insight – it was alright for me because Chadda generalised the section. He gave the details needed to set the scene of a horrific battle between mortals and immortals (the humans vs the demons) as a flashback sequence yet he tempered the graphic nature of what was happening by writing in broader strokes. Personally I appreciated this as although I read both Children’s Lit and Adult Lit; oft-times the battle scenes are a bit too much for me to read. Until I reached page 59 and felt one paragraph might have gone a bit too far for a Middle Grade novel. I never remember a book I read when I was a young teen that explicitly mentioned what happens to the dead in such a fashion as this; so I do advise caution on how old a child is to read this novel. I would recommend this to teenagers between 16-19 simply due to the visuals.

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This book review is courtesy of:

The Savage Fortress Blog Tour via Diverse Book Tours

I am going to be hosting more exciting blog tours in 2015 on behalf of:

Diverse Book Tours

Be sure to follow my Bookish Events for (2014)  + esp (2015)
to follow my bookish journey!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress”, Author Biography, Author Photograph of Sarwat Chadda, Book Synopsis, Blog Tour badge & DBT badge were provided by Diverse Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. The video introduction of Ash Mistry by the author via HarperCollins Children’s Books had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Tweets on Twitter in regards to “The Savage Fortress”:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Friday, 12 December, 2014 by jorielov in Action & Adventure Fiction, Ancient Civilisation, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Brothers and Sisters, Children's Literature, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diverse Book Tours, Equality In Literature, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, India, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Juvenile Fiction, Literature for Boys, Literature of India, Middle Grade Novel, Siblings

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