When I chose to fully throw myself into writing for young’ins, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan was the first book I read for research. I instantly loved the fast pace of the books.

I jumped at the chance to promote and review The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda, which is described as a Percy Jackson with Eastern Mythology instead of Greek Mythology.

When I finally got my grubby hands on the book, I was not disappointed. In fact, no offense to Rick Riordan, but The Savage Fortress is better. Where Riordan stays within the perceived grade level, Chadda has much more faith in his readers and their attention spans and creates a much more vivid, textured world. I was also extremely impressed with how he incorporated today’s technology and teenage angst.

I enjoyed this book so much, I handed the physical copy I received from Diverse Book Tours in return for an honest review to my ten-year-old, and ordered my own Kindle copy.

Twinja book reviews has an interview with the author Sawat Chadda here. In fact, I’m going to cheat and steal my favorite part of the interview (see below). Also, Twinja is giving away a Kindle Fire, so you should definitely head over there.

Let me just tell you, I loved your “Ash Mistry” series. It was one of the first times I’d read a book that celebrated taking mythology out of the West. I’d read somewhere, Ash had been sitting with you for several years before you decided he deserved his own story. What were the turning points for you that made “The Savage Fortress” happen?

The travelling. I read somewhere writing is a great second career and heartily agree. Go out and explore. See things and wonder at them. Try this and that. Gather up experiences beyond the written word. Live a life and go out and meet people.Ash Mistry has been on my mind since 1994. I knew I wanted to do something based on Indian mythology and set in the East. At first I had a go and creating a graphic novel. I’ve a few pages of it lying around somewhere. It was great fun but didn’t really get anywhere. I’ve always been interested in Eastern culture. I lived in Hong Kong and travelled the length and breath of China, Mongolia, Tibet and of course India. It’s so radically different from here, a bewildering experience. Maybe I needed distance of time to make sense of the story and that’s how Ash Mistry came into being. It’s about a boy grown up in the gap between East and West. About how he takes both and creates a new hybrid, the best of both.

It’s the story I wanted to tell. We hear so much about the differences between people. Between this culture and that and this religion and that one, and are led to believe there is no common ground.
Rubbish. We are all human. We all want the same thing. Respect. Love. A better life for ourselves and our loved ones. Some of us live extraordinarly hard lives, and have to make extraordinarily hard choices. But going out your door and meeting these people you find that they’re not that different, not really.

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