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on March 16, 2011 :
I really liked how the science fiction world influenced by Hindu culture and religion (which I know nothing about except for some vague myth re-tellings) came alive in its technical, political (I thought the discussions in the government and the way that worked fascinating, actually) and cultural aspects - I found the discussion of the unquestioned acceptance of the caste/slave system fascinating in a totally non-preachy way. The characters were charismatic, from the hero and heroine to their family, slaves and social circle. The bad guys had motivations we would find familiar - greed and megalomania.
So why do I give this book three stars only? Because I felt let down by the heroine. I enjoyed the book for the journey of exploration and discovery of the hero - Jaya showed were he came from in dialogue and thought, the experiences that made him change are clear and the fact that it takes him the whole book to accept what is and to compromise to be the man he needs to be to make Ana trust him completely - the romance worked beautifully (and totally understated).
But Ana - she was introduced and for almost all the book consistently a follower of an enlightened path (rokhin) and a competent woman in her own earthly path of mining engineer. Her enlightened abilities were not over-the-top and seemed appropriate to the setting. She argues believably with the hero, she is shown to be his intellectual equal and far more even-tempered - while she tries to convince him toward certain actions, she is able to compromise if the reasons for that are sound...
and then suddenly she breaks a promise she gave to him (where there was a point made that her honour is unimpeachable and part of her religious view of herself is honesty) without much of a thought, goes off into danger and of course has to be rescued.
And then she gets abducted on purpose by the baddies and we get THREE men who suddenly want to not only pressure Jaya because of her, but CANNOT keep their hands off her, because she suddenly is utterly desirable to them - the end boss suddenly is on major drugs, going insane and believes she can grant him ultimate enlightenment via sex.
So she gets rescued, okay, this time it was unavoidable, she is even able to turn the tables and lead the hero and friends toward the final capture, but when she realizes where the bad guy must be - does she inform the hero who finally believes in her special powers? Does she inform anybody? No, of course not - she goes towards the hiding place alone and gets almost raped twice again.
THIS is why this book is three stars only. Read this book for Jaya and his grandmother, and even for Ana - for three quarters of the story, heh.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)