Fire from the Overworld is a complex story that follows the lives of three young protagonists as the structure of their world falls apart. The three main characters live in a rural town reminiscent of historic India. Yuvali and Héyowan are mystics and close friends who have grown up together, and Pradah is Héyowan’s older brother who will eventually take over for their father as chief of the village. The natural world has gone crazy--animals and men behave erratically, the crops are dying, and attack from roaming bands of tribeless warriors threatens the very existence of the village. It is a fight taking place on both the physical plane--Pradah is training to be a warrior to defend the village from attack--and the spiritual plane--Yuvali and Héyowan appeal to the very highest of the gods for rescue. But when the line between good and evil blur, the three children must grow up quickly and make adult choices that will change not only the course of village life, but perhaps change all the infinite worlds ruled by the gods.
Lowry’s writing style has beautiful passages of description that easily transport the reader to the kingdom of Raiya. Here's a brief snippet, when Yuvali is using the mystic powers of an ayur to travel outside her body:
The sand beneath her was liquid, or blowing in the air across the big world, skins on the surface of a great
creature who was a ruler herself, and Yuvali was like the dust in the wind around her, blowing everywhere
and mixing with the world’s winds. She loosed herself to the four directions.
Hands caught her, held her together so she could go on. Someone with her, keeping her whole. The tree
grew closer; a branch caught moonlight as a covering cloud broke apart. Buds lined the branches, and spiky
clusters of leaves. The silvery mound had a dark patch within it.
It was a cave.
Interspersed and inspired by mythology and oral storytelling, the book’s world has a richness that is the perfect backdrop to an epic story of good and evil. If you’re a fan of Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy or are looking for a YA story similar to the atmosphere of Alexander's MG-level The Iron Ring, you would enjoy reading Fire from the Overworld.
I read a lot - depending on my writing schedule, I can usually read about a book a day. Some of the books are fantastic and I would love to recommend to everyone - some, not so much. Either way, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I'm reading at the moment.