A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the minute details introduce American readers to India's complex system of social levels. Principles of Hinduism (simply explained) pervade in this well-written story.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A girl is born during a cyclone. Surviving villagers blame the female infant for the death and destruction. As the girl grows, she is isolated until a great master of Indian classical dance recognizes her extraordinary talents. This lyrical story encourages readers to ask how and why some people are accepted into society and some are not.
Is it any good?
The slow and descriptive literary rhythm of this meditative story line captures mature readers. Suzanne Staples' main character, Parvati, faces young adulthood in a way that feels familiar to many young readers. Is friendship and love more important than self-realization? Must a girl make sacrifices to learn her art?
Staples is known for her meticulous research: She lived in India for four years and returned there to finish the book. Her stories are so dense and her descriptions so involving, some readers may give up -- but the author does provide a useful glossary. SHIVA'S FIRE is most gripping in its tense scenes of the cyclone destruction and of a tiger's attack. The author often builds drama in a way that unnerves the reader for many pages.