Review: Rea and the Blood of the Nectar

Rea lives in the small village of Darjeeling with her Amma, Bajai and twin brother Rohan. She’s about to turn twelve and she wishes things could be a little different to what they are.

She wishes she had more friends. She wishes her Amma would tell her more about her Baba. She wishes Rohan would speak to her more and include her in things like he used to.

Life isn’t exactly perfect. Really, it’s rather dull. But when Rohan goes missing in the middle of the night, everything changes, and dull is no longer a word Rea can use to describe her world.

Her family seems to give up easily and accept that Rohan is gone, but Rea can’t. She won’t. With her friend Leela in tow, Rea visits a fortune teller and is given a riddle to solve to find her brother. It’s beyond bizarre, but she has nothing to lose, so she follows the clues into the forest and…

…falls into Astranthia.

Another world, a strange and beautiful place, Astranthia is home to both humans and magical creatures. Fairies, dwarves and an evil queen who’s kidnapped Rohan to secure her place on the throne.

Rea and Leela are faced with impossible odds. They can’t get to Rohan, the queen is manipulating their every move and there are secrets that link Rea to Astranthia’s past — secrets her Amma has deliberately kept from her and might now cost her dearly.

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is a fantastical adventure filled with magic, whimsy and imagination. Author Payal Doshi has built an extensive world and brought it to life with vibrant characters and engaging storytelling.

Rea is a real and relatable character who is flawed, who makes mistakes. She is what is means to be twelve in the real world, with too many questions in her head and dangerous self-doubt that can make her lash out at the wrong people at the wrong times. I love all these things about her. She is a true underdog hero, learning who she is and how to be herself in a confusing world (both Earth and Astranthia). By the end of the book, I wouldn’t say she’s mastered everything either, and I love this too. She is very relatable.

The world Payal delivers is also something special. It has some of the more familiar mythical creatures that we all know and love, but it’s also filled with so much new — butterfly faced sorcerers and plants that whisper secrets. It’s the perfect mix of familiar and new, grounding readers with things they know before pushing imaginations to their limits with unique beings and incredible powers, all infused with culture and place.

This is a great middle grade read for fans of fantasy and otherworlds. It’s a grand adventure in a magical land that sets up things perfectly for more tales to come. And I loved the incorporated ribbon bookmark too! Makes the read extra special.

Title: Rea and the Blood of the Nectar
Author: Payal Doshi
Publisher: Mango and Marigold Press, $35.75 (Aus. RRP)
Publication Date: 17 May 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781645437635
For ages: 10 – 14
Type: Junior Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

August 8, 2021 at 12:32AM Shaye Wardrop