The Savage Fortress

( 9 )


"A fabulous, action-packed modern take on Indian mythology. I can't wait to read more!" -- Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, on THE SAVAGE FORTRESS

The gods and monsters of India roar to life in this thrilling fantasy!

After three weeks of vacation, Ash Mistry is ready to leave the heat and dust of India behind him. Then he discovers a gleaming gold arrowhead hidden in the sands---a weapon used...

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The Savage Fortress

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"A fabulous, action-packed modern take on Indian mythology. I can't wait to read more!" -- Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, on THE SAVAGE FORTRESS

The gods and monsters of India roar to life in this thrilling fantasy!

After three weeks of vacation, Ash Mistry is ready to leave the heat and dust of India behind him. Then he discovers a gleaming gold arrowhead hidden in the sands---a weapon used to defeat evil King Ravana in legend.

At least, Ash is pretty sure it's only a legend . . .

But when Lord Alexander Savage comes after Ash, the legends are suddenly way too real. Savage commands an army of monstrous shapechangers called rakshasas, who want only to seize the arrowhead and restore Ravana to power. As they hunt Ash through magnificent fortresses and brutal deserts, he must learn to work with a powerful rakshasa girl named Parvati, and find the strength within himself to fight on no matter what. Because this isn't just a battle to stop the end of the world. It's a battle to stop the end of reality as we know it.

No pressure.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
This fantasy riffs on events from the Ramayana--the takeoff point for a knock-down, drag-out adventure that draws a 13-year-old into the unfinished business of the Indian gods. A Londoner visiting his uncle and aunt in India, Ash Mistry's first mistake is picking up an ancient gold arrowhead that involves him and his younger sister Lucky in business left from India's legendary past; his second mistake is refusing to surrender the ancient weapon to the (very obvious) villain, Alexander Savage, and his rakshashas (demons). As is often true in fantasy quests, characters appear and disappear after helping or hindering the hero. The narrative arc is carried forward at first by the direct unfolding of Ash's discovery and Savage's hunt for the arrowhead. In addition, there are flashbacks that key readers in to Rama's story. These provide vital information in a highly palatable way but also take some liberties with the original legend. A rousing and breathtaking climax supports the tied-up threads of the ending. Nonstop action and likable teen characters will attract fans of fantasy quests such as the Percy Jackson books and the saga of Nicholas Flamel. There are hints that Ash may have unfinished business with India and its gods--let's hope so. (Fantasy. 11-14)
From the Publisher


"Nonstop action and likeable teen characters will attract fans of fantasy quests such as the Percy Jackson books and the saga of Nicolas Flamel."--KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Brilliantly done and definitely a highlight of my reading year so far."--THEBOOKSMUGGLERS.COM

Children's Literature - Caitlin Marineau
Action-adventure fans have a new hero to root for: Ash Mistry. This new novel by Sarwat Chadda follows a young British Indian teenager who, while unhappily trapped in the heat of India visiting relatives, finds himself battling demons and encountering gods when he becomes entangled in the machinations of an old British aristocrat named Lord Alexander Savage, who is attempting to harness the forces of evil for his own gain by freeing the imprisoned demon Ravana. There is more to the young Ash than meets the eye though, and he soon discovers that he is the reincarnation of a legendary warrior king, and battle may be his eternal destiny. The novel has the feel of an Indiana Jones tale, but rather than Nazis attempting to harness the power of the Judeo-Christian god through lost artifacts, Savage is searching for objects related to the Indian gods (notably Kali, the goddess of death), that he can use to further his own power. A dramatic action-filled book, kids and teens will be immediately engrossed in Ash's adventures, and Chadda writes with a fresh and creative voice. For many students, this book may be their first introduction to the culture and legends of India, as well as the Hindu gods, and might serve to inspire kids to pick-up a few nonfiction books on the topic after this book ends. Reviewer: Caitlin Marineau
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—On vacation in India with his aunt, uncle, and younger sister, pudgy Ash Mistry can't wait to get back home to his video games and London friends. But when his uncle is offered a million pounds to assist mysterious Lord Savage with translations from an archaeological find, Ash becomes embroiled in an overwhelming and deadly real-life battle. He realizes that Lord Savage is not an ordinary mortal and that his minions are rakshasas (demons). Determined to save his uncle, Ash unwittingly betrays himself and becomes the rakshasas's target. When he falls into a collapsing pit, he discovers a golden arrowhead-the aastra (weapon) of the ancient goddess Kali. With a splinter of it lodged in his thumb, Ash is able to channel Kali's power. But it is not enough to save his uncle and aunt, and, when they are killed, he sets out to save his sister-and the world-from Ravana, the all-powerful demon king, and his gruesome forces of evil. Chadda weaves Hindu mythology into an engrossing story of a shy, overweight gamer who becomes transformed into one of his own comic-book superheroes. Plot-driven, fast paced, exciting, and sometimes terrifying, The Savage Fortress is the ideal next step for readers who loved Rick Riordan's books about the Olympian heroes and Anthony Horowitz's "Gatekeepers" series (Scholastic). Vivid descriptions of contemporary India and flashbacks to the mythological battles of Rama and Ravana enrich this tale of a nerd's metamorphosis. Make time for this novel, because it is very hard to put down.—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545385169
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 631,021
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarwat Chadda

Sarwat Chadda is the author of the YA novels DEVIL'S KISS and DARK GODDESS. A former engineer, he is very glad to now be constructing stories and not ductwork systems. He lives in London, England, with his family. Visit him on the web at and @sarwatchadda.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    So Libby is immersing herself in the world that is "Percy J

    So Libby is immersing herself in the world that is "Percy Jackson." Have to say Im a little jealous, because she knows Im a big fantasy buff, especially with the YA category. While Im attracted to the series, what steers me from it for the time being, is that it takes until the "Heroes of Olympus" for characters of color to be a main focus.

    I was looking for a book series that gave me people of color of my heroes now! 

    It just so happened, as my sister was reading it, she fell upon this after researching whether there were books with fantastic elements with non-Western settings, and she suggested it to me, seeing how I typically connect with with South Asian characters(Being Afro-Cuban, we typically face and understand colorism, and my aunt's husband is originally from Northern India, so Im typically invested) I thought I'd give it a go.

    I rarely say this, but this book is an AVATAR STATUS book. I don't easily distribute this term to any book. My favorite show of all time is "Avatar: The Last Airbender", and naturally I've fallen in love with "The Legend of Korra" as well. Many things have to be present for a book to even be in the same sentence as Avatar. A main character who is a person of color. A main character who gains amazing abilities, and a villain who is a worthy antagonist. 

    The Savage Fortress has all three!

    The Savage Fortress follows the exploits of Ashoka Mistry, a British 13 year old, of Indian descent, visit. He's visiting his aunt and uncle in India, and hating every minute of it. Until his uncle receives a job offer that changes his life, and everyone around him, forever.

    I found the pacing worked well with the story. It's told in third person, but I was surprised that it doesnt take the humor away from the characters. I typically prefer first person, especially with a main character as funny as Ash, but it works well with the story. I think I really only struggled with the chapters that weren't present day. There are chapters told from a past life of Ash, and while they're obvious(written in italics)and short, I preferred the present time to the past, even though towards the end, the chapters with the past life cleared up many things for me.

    The world-building is absolutely amazing. I already have an interest in Hinduism, mainly because there are many shared ideals in Buddhism(shout out to all the Buddhists)but I recognized many things I've learned about Hinduism in this book. I admit, I really cant say I know a whole lot, as there are many(I mean SOOOO many)gods in Hinduism, but I was so glad when it highlighted my favorite goddess Kali. I've read a series in the past/present whom had a different incarnation of Kali, but this book did her much better justice!

    I was sitting at the edge of my seat what would happen with Ash, and how his story would conclude in the end!

    I loved Ash. Im not British, a boy, 14 or of Indian descent, but Im basically Ash Mistry XD It should also be stated that he often gets referred to as the Indian "Percy Jackson." That couldn't be more wrong. He is just uniquely Ash Mistry, and he in his own league.

    There was great character development with Ash, and I related to him well, especially because he was so close to his sister, Lucky. I think what I loved about Ash most, was that he had to work at being a better hero, and even when he wasn't ready, he was still willing to risk himself to save his sister. One thing I was glad his character didn't overlook, was how he was seen, versus how he saw himself. As a person of color, you're almost never just "British." For my case, "American." You have to be Cuban-American, British-Indian, etc. You're British-ness can never be seen as the same thing in comparison to a white person's. 

    I was glad Ash didn't ignore he was seen as not quite one or the other, as in India, he was seen as very Western as well. He was too Indian to be English, and too English to be Indian, and that's feeling a lot of non-white, or first-second generation citizens feel, even when they born and raised in*insert country here.*

    His backstory is awesome. While Ash is only 13 years old, he discovers *gasp* he is "The Eternal Warrior." Thus he has lived many lives over and over again(much like Avatar/LOK). So he's the human avatar sharing the one soul of many warriors, so essentially anyone we get a glimpse from the past with, is Ash, just from another life. The hero Rama, from the Hindu epic Ramayana, is the life The Savage Fortress focuses on, but in time, Ash will discover just how many others he's been.

    Ash also gets points for being a martial artist! He ends up studying an ancient Indian martial art(commonly known now as Kalaripayattu)which is said to be one of the first martial art forms. Even though Ash starts a little chubby, he doesn't lose weight easily, he loses it through hard work. That may or may not please parents, but I find that fitness is one of the safer ways to lose weight, and martial arts I think is the best way for children to break out of their shells, and promote healthier lifestyles.

    Lord Alexander Savage is the villain, and let me tell you, he provides the perfect amount of conflict. Even when I like a book, particularly in fantasy, my one complaint is always the villain. I like a villain to have goals, even if those goals make sense to them. It's one thing to take over the world. But what will you do with it once you have it? Lord Savage was a wealthy, self righteous, immortal sorcerer, whom lived his existence in agony. While he has immortality, he has yet to perfect it, so he ages with his immortality. Many of us couldn't imagine living past 120. Imagine living past 200! It's as if he's a corpse, barely holding on.

    His goal is to rise the demon king Ravana, in exchange for his youth, and more power, but many of these goals are at the cost of Ash, his family, and many bystanders in India. But I liked Savage because he not only brought fear out of me, but also humanity. This is the right way to write a villain. If the dude is just twirling his mustache, cackling at the train tracks, what are his other goals? Their goals should mean something to them, and that is what I found refreshing about Lord Savage.

    There really aren't any complaints with editing. It's an industry standard, and because it's short, it gets to the point without dragging on too much, but manages to still keep all the light, dark, and hilarious moments, so I have no issue with writing style. It's third person, and while I don't prefer it over first, it works well for the story.

    I dont think I need to tell anyone that the diversity is on point. Ash is British of Indian descent, and since he is spending the summer in India, most likely every character expect for Lord Savage and a few of his goons are Indian. Ash and his sister Lucky are British, so their mannerism is much different than the Indian children they encounter(He even earns the nickname "English" for his Western mannerisms) and many of the characters they encounter let them know it.

    The characters that should out the most were Parvati, the daughter of the demon king Ravana, Rishi, a sage whom became allied with Ash and Parvati, and John, a little Indian boy Ash and Lucky befriended living in a safe haven/hell. They were all different ages and different kinds of personalities.

    Rishi was an old,yet buff XD powerful sage, who'd saved Ash too many times to count. Without giving too much plot away, he is able to give Ash the power he needs to make it to the end of the book. Parvati. There's a lot you can say about her. For one, she's the demon-human hybrid princess of Lanka. Much of her goals or intentions are unreadable, as she is a demon after all. But She and Ash share a common goal. To kill her father. For that she makes one of the most powerful ally

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Really awesome book


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2013


    Wow sooo cool you will be really intrested if u read rick riordan this is the best book ever seriously

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013


    I LOVE IT! I am hindu and pra to shiv. So basically i kniw everything about it! I emailed sarwat if the storh about the arrowheads were real or not... he said it is not real and that he made that up! AWESOME BOOK THOUGH! GOOD JOB SARWAT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    The savage fortress

    I was amazed by sarwat chaddas book the detail and word choices were amazing i cant wait to read another one of sarwats books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013


    If you like greek , Roman, and egyptian mythologyvyou will love this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Love this book!

    It reminds me more of Red Pyramid than Percy Jackson though. I hope there's a sequel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012


    It is good book but not like Percy Jackson or the others read this book for an exciting thrill PS the cover includes Porunga lol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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