Maya’s father is the Raja, ruler, of the Bharata Kingdom. Her mother, one of the Raja’s many wives, died when Maya was quite young leaving her upbringing to the petty wives in the harem. For the most part, Maya is shunned because of her horoscope foretelling a promise of Death and Destruction. She gains notice from the Raja when he asks his daughter to commit suicide on the eve of her marriage. Fortunately, Maya is whisked away at the last minute by Prince Amar, who turns out to be the ruler of the Otherworld – something similar to Hades. As Amar’s Queen, she will assist in deciding human fates and keeping the delicate balance of life and death. Things go totally awry when Maya listens to lies that lead to doubting Amar’s claims and love.
The world building is complex and intertwined with reincarnation, past lives, and forgotten memories. It is steeped in Hindu mythology and my lack of this vital background knowledge deterred my enjoyment of the story. Many of the mythical creatures are not explained. The flesh-eating horse, Kamala, who guides Maya in and out of the Otherworld is the best character in the story with her sarcastic remarks interlaced with the desire for human flesh. But why a horse as a guide? While the writing is rich in descriptive prose and steeped in metaphor, without the vital background in Hindu mythology, I was distracted. Readers who have the time to read in long chunks and who have knowledge of Hindu mythology should enjoy this first in a planned series.
eGalley review Publication date 4.26.16