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Shiva's fire, book review

Nina Muralidhar

Suzanne Fisher Staples, the author of 'Shiva's Fire' is also the writer of two other wildly popular books, 'Shabanu' and 'Haveli' . The cover and the title of the book enticed me to read and review this book.

Shiva's Fire is the extraordinary story of Parvati, a young girl born in the small village of Anandangar in South India. On the day of her birth many tragic events occur. A terrible storm hits the small village on the first day of the monsoon season, leaving half the village in ruins. Parvati's father is trampled by a frightened herd of elephants. Parvati, her mother and her two brothers had to live with her father's brother and his family. Although there are many near disasters, Parvati's life is cheerful.
One day a Guru comes to the village and Parvati to learn Bharata natyam at his Gurukulam in Madras. Parvati is honored and joins him at the gurukulam. There she learns that she was born to dance. Though it involves very strict training and separation from her loving family, the gurukulam becomes Parvati's second home. When Parvati goes to the King's palace, she meets a gentle-eyed boy who charms and mystifies her. There, Parvati must make one the most decisions in her life between love, and dancing.

Shiva's Fire appealed to me for various reasons. As a student of Bharathanatyam, I can relate to many of the situations Parvati faced. Although the book was very well written, I found some details unnecessary and some parts puzzling. I would still recommend Shiva's Fire to young adults looking for a good read.

About the reviewer
Nina Muralidhar, 12, is a seventh grader . She writes from Lexington, MA.

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