Author: Deepa Agarwal
Age group: 10-14 years
Published by Hachette India
I am posting this review on behalf of my daughter Prisha Ambi (9 years old) who is an advanced reader.
It’s a wonderful and a gripping story of a girl, Selentra, who is blessed to possess an unusual power.
Story in short
In the village of Kote, females are forbidden to read and write. Only the Blessed Child can lift the taboo and free their country from the rule of the Ag-yanees. The problem is, they don’t know why the Omniscient One (their God) chose a girl to be the Blessed Child. Doesn’t he know that girls aren’t allowed to read or write?
During her brother’s first letter day (an assessment), something inside Selentra forces her to go to Dumor (the third eldest brother) and scribble something on the pad. She really doesn’t know what she is doing, it just happens by mistake. Tarash the priest quickly removes another Pad and gives it to Dumor. Then Tarash goes away to the Holy One (a higher form of priests) to tell him what has happened. The Holy One orders him not to tell anyone and makes everyone forget it.
Five years later when Selentra turns 12, Dumor becomes friends with an Ag-yanee who is their enemy. The Ag-yanee sells gem stones near Dumor’s school. The man’s name was Karz. Karz has given Dumor a valuable charm free of cost. And the boy has hesitatingly accepted it. He hides it in a wall in the kitchen. Karz also secretly receives an information by the Holy One’s doorkeeper.
While Dumor studies at school, Selentra continues her own studies by her own without anyone noticing her. One afternoon Laylee (the second eldest sister), Rahma (the eldest sister) and Dumor visit a storyteller who tells everyone about the she-guardians and how the blessed child is going to save their country. Meanwhile Dumor thinks of the mysterious squiggles drawn on a corner of their courtyard. He knows that Selentra is special and she is the one who has made the squiggles. But he still hates his little sister because of what had happened five years ago.
One day, when Selentra was outside, Karz kidnaps her! He wants to take her to the Ag-yan government. But why a poor weaver’s daughter? It is because he thought that Selentra is the blessed child, and he is right indeed. Karz runs and runs, he is proud of himself, he is going to have a humongous award waiting for him. But instead, the Omniscient one leads him to a nasty surprise.
Back at home, Murok (Selentra’s father) is making a search party for finding Selentra. When Karz reaches the secret tunnel, which leads to Ag-yan, his neck started to hurt a lot. He suddenly felt dizzy and fell on the ground. Selentra who escaped the man’s tight grip, ran as fast as she could, when, halfway through the path, she meets her father who takes her home safely. Arambah (Selentra’s mother) who is incredibly anxious, is very happy seeing her daughter back home.
After Tarash hears about the incident, he quickly informs the Holy One. They both know that the blessed child is in grave danger. The Holy One decides that Tarash should take the child away. So, after the Ag-yanee kidnapping Selentra incident, when the three girls, Laylee, Ramha and Selentra go to visit a well for water, Tarash hides behind a tree nearby where he is able to spot the child. He pounces on her and makes her unconscious. When Selentra is away from her family, Tarash tells her about her being the blessed child. Selentra reads great books which are written in an ancient tongue with ease.
If she learns to sing the Sacred Hymns, a border will get created and all the wealth and riches will return to Kote. Selentra stayed with Tarash for many days. Suddenly, the Ag-yanees declare a war. Tarash takes Selentra to a cave which has the sacred tombs. The next day Selentra acts weirdly and at the last moment the Ag-yanees start the war. Wow, wow, wow, Selentra recites the Sacred Hymns wonderfully. Something is blocking the war! The war stops and Selentra, The Gift of God becomes a great chief and rules wisely.
I highly recommend this book to everyone because, boy or girl whoever it is, God made us all humans and we have to treat each other equally.
I love this book because it makes me feel that I’m a part of something. This book itself expresses it wonderfully.
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