Written from the perspective of Zoe, an 11 year old girl, the book begins with a bang. Caught up in the overwhelming sights and sounds of India, she arrives at her hotel ready for an adventure. Unfortunately, her mother's work interferes with her plans, and she must find a way to entertain herself for awhile. Joined by a school friend, the slightly annoying and greatly impulsive Zak, these two embark on a journey that puts them in the middle of magic, mythology, and imminent danger. An adventure bigger than she could ever imagine.
I was immediately drawn in. The author captured the voice of a young girl perfectly. So perfectly in fact, that I literally felt like I was the one in the story... and could see my own daughter acting or thinking this way. Throw in the development of Zak, and their imposing antagonist "Rhino Butt," and you have wonderful character development. It was a joy watching Zoe & Zak's partnership of necessity turn into a dynamic duo. True to themselves, each character had their own voice, set of skills, and shortfalls. It was a delight watching them work together and overcome their differences.
In addition to the story, I really appreciated how the author blended in history about India, the culture, religion, dress, locations. I finished the book knowing more about it, and didn't feel as if I was learning.
This is a story that leaves an impact in so many ways. This is a book that does not disappoint. I am looking forward to the sequel.