Originally published 2015-08-26: Nala’s Story by Mark Gardner | Book Review Wednesday
Mark Gardner is the kind of author who keeps you coming back for more by feeding you bit by bit of an engaging tale. That’s what he initially did with Nala’s Story over on his blog, Article 94. I followed each entry into this novelette like a hound with the scent of blood on her nose. I wanted more.
My first look at Nala was in Mark Gardner’s novel, Champion Standing. When I read that book, I knew he had crafted a tale that lent itself to many off-shoots, sequels, and prequels, so I wasn’t surprised when he started work on Nala’s Story.
Nala and her sister live their lives as slaves in the Han Dynasty. A chance encounter at a bazaar leads Nala on a mission to keep her sister safe from evil, while learning that not everything is as it appears to be. Can she save her sister and herself before it is too late?
Nala is a slave. In the beginning of the story, she is in the possession of a sleazy slave trader along with her sweet, optimistic sister, Hazina, and a full harem of other young women. Taken from their homes, they are abused and terrified.
Nala is the only one whose spunk and rage stands apart from the others, and it makes her a shiny target for the kind of derelicts who would trade the lives of people for money.
It’s this attitude that gets the attention of the infamous Champion Standing, and leads Nala down a path that changes her life and her perceptions.
Will she be successful in her fearless pursuit to assassinate their captor — and release them all? Or will she be drawn further into the darkness, where girls are kept as possessions, beautiful gardens are full of poison, and no one is who they seem?
I give this story a five of five stars. I highly recommend Nala’s Story to anyone who loves adventure, fantasy, or historical fiction.
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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.