Title: Emergence (Infernal Guard #1)
Author: S G D Singh
(And they might even be signed!)
What's it about? Meet Asha, a strong willed, well trained American teenager. Home schooled by her grandfather, Bapuji, Asha has no idea just how much her life is about to change. It all begins one night when her Bapuji is carried home by a large, odd man Asha's never met before. As Bapuji's hero proceeds to heal Bapuju of his odd wounds, Asha finds herself with more and more unanswered questions with fewer and fewer answers until Bapuji announces that it's time for Asha to go to India to live with family she never even knew she had, without him and without saying goodbye to her best friend who's away on vacation. Confused, angry and more confused then ever, Asha boards the plan and soon finds herself in India with her family Bapuji had always managed to forget to mention. With the help of her light hearted, fun loving cousin, Nidhan, Asha begins to learn how to navigate this world so different from Miami where she had grown up.
But just as Asha begins to find some normalcy in her new life on Indian soil, eager for Lexi, her best friend, to come and visit soon, Asha finds her way to the oddest location to feel at home in...and her life will never be the same as the three of them learn their true destiny as monster fighters, defending our whelm from the beings making their way into our world from the 13 other realms. And that's not all! Most members of the Infernal Guard have special talents somewhat akin to super powers, making them even bigger threats to unwanted monsters. From witches to vampires, from wraiths to shape shifting warriors, not everything is as it seems and nothing is safe.
Soon Asha not only discovers her own talents, and becomes the most powerful weapon in foiling the plans of an insane witch named Ranya. Ranya's intent on ruining life in our world, Satyr forever. It's up to Asha, her friends and their teachers to build the skills, create the bonds and use the talents they've been given and have learned to save our world as we know it. What did I think? Favorites: Favorite Characters: My favorite character was Aquilia. He swooped in and stole not just Asha's heart, but mine. I just loved how playful he is while still being fierce, protective and a pretty awesome warrior. He seemed to always make me smile, if not totally laugh out loud and I found myself always eager to see more of him. I also liked Asha alot, though I don't know if I can pin point exactly what it is about her that I love so much.
Least favorite Character: This one is easy! Ranya! While I found her intriguing and there was a part of me that wanted to like her, I just couldn't hold on to that feeling. Her actions were beyond inhumane and, honestly, made me sick. It was because of her and her cruelty that I considered not finishing the book at all as my stomach churned and begged me to prove that what was happening in this amazing universe I had fallen in love with wasn't really happening and I was just badly mistaken. I wasn't and my stomach wasn't any happier about that then I was.
Favorite Part: While I was reading this book, I came to a part when Asha is in the hospital wing and Aquilia is with her that, even as I read it, I said to myself, "This is going to be named my favorite part in my review!" I don't want to say too much, but it was cute and fun. I couldn't help but laugh. This was also one of the reasons I fell in love with Aquilia my self. However, to be honest, I really loved many of the interactions between Asha and Aquilia. Favorite Quotes: "Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected." - This quote just struck me as a piece of wisdom I have yet to fully grasp and I couldn't help but to highlight it on my digital copy. I think it stood out to me because, as a business owner, I feel like the right way is not always the easy way and a lot of people all too readily choose to go with the easy way even if it is somewhat morally corrupt. "And war is decided by the anguish of the brave. Now is when you decide. You and every Werewolf you know. You can fight for something...or you can die for nothing." (Pg. 394)- I specifically didn't pull the whole quote here to avoid spoilers but I loved this too much to not share! The battles we fight are the battles that are close to our heart. They are the battles that we are emotionally invested in. It is up to us to to not just choose which battles to fight, but when to fight them with the knowledge that we won't win every battle and we may not win this one, but at least we're fighting for something. Maybe it won't result in death but even if we do fail, we'll be able to say that we fought and we did what we could. That very idea is so incredibly relevant in my life at the time I am writing this and I just had to honor it's significance. "Training the body without the mind and spirit leads to fatal mistakes." (g. 247)- We seem to focus on the body or the mind, but how often do we make our bodies, our minds and our spirits a priority? I liked it because this quote reminded me that it's the combination of all three that makes us who we are, not just one or two of them. In order to truly be the best we can, we have to make sure that we are training, strengthening and taking care of all three! My other thoughts... There are a ton of characters in this book and a lot of mythical beings on top of that. To be honest, sometimes it was hard to keep them all straight, especially since the character names are representative of where they are from. While I loved that the names were culturally accurate, they sometimes interrupted the flow of my reading as I tried to figure out the pronunciation of them. On more then one occasion, I ended up just shortening their names to something I could pronounce like Bapuji turned into "Bap" in my head. I also felt like some of the characterization of some of the characters suffered a little due to the sheer amount of characters. Nidhan is one that comes to mind. While I love him and was really glad when he decided to join Asha as a member of the guard, I feel like there was just something missing from him and I'm not sure what it was. However, I also liked that there were so many characters because It added a sense of reality to a world filled with shape shifters, seers and healers fighting creatures we're taught are just myth. Even though the Infernal Guard is supposed to be an elite group with few numbers, it's a world wide organization with a number of head quarters all around the world. The idea of "few members" grows when you consider that "a few members" including many generations world wide would have to be more then just a handful.
This all feeds in strongly to a rich environment within a remarkable universe full of culture, diversity and reality while supporting a world where mythical creatures are not always what we've come to expect and anything is possible. A world where people transforming into magnificent creatures of the wild in just seconds becomes completely normal and psychological warfare with the use of magic and illusion is to be expected. The many layers of detail mixed with events all somehow combining with the perfect recipe of what we know as real in our world and what is unique to theirs comes together to create a universe I long to explore again and again.
And we must not forget the humor. Yes! The humor! It's a rare treat when I find an author who has just the right sense of humor to leave me laughing out loud in a dark book enough times to walk a way feeling like the book was funny as well as dark, deep, layered and emotional. To say that, "I laughed. I cried. I loved." while reading this book seems cliche but is so true! Ms. Singh found the perfect recipe to balance it all in just the right way to leave you enjoying the emotional roller coaster ride, pumped full of adrenaline without feeling over run by any one aspect or emotion for too long.
The truth is, there is so much in this book that it's hard to truly do it justice, especially without spoiling anything. The universe that Asha finds herself in is truly rich and engaging, pulling me in with an iron grip once Asha, Lexi and Nidhan find their way to head quarters. It is true that I found the beginning of this book a little slow, but I came to recognize it's necessity and value in the story as I read on. The "flaws" I found in the story were evened out at the very least by the aspects I loved about it, leaving me enthralled and more then a little emotionally invested in the world I have become a part of.
By now, I guess you've probably deducted that I loved this book and, you'd be right. While it's not perfect, it's even better then I could have hoped and I am so terribly thankful for the opportunity to read this book and share my thoughts with all of you. This is, in my opinion, a must read for anyone who enjoys some urban fantasy with a unique twist!
What do I rank this book?
I give this book a
5 snow leopards