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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
Chandraka has always been able to see the Rakshasi, the hideous monster from Indian folklore, since the fateful night it invaded her home in Virginia and took away her father. Since then, horrific visions have plagued her, along with the auras of every ill-intentioned person. The situation escalates when she meets a strange fortune-teller who foresees death and destruction in her palms. Following her mother’s mysterious death, Chandraka travels to her ancestral home in India with her sister. Here in the dark forests lies a malevolent force wreaking havoc on the Lambadi populace. Can Chandraka vanquish the evil and restore peace? What secrets lie in the jagged lines of her palms? Sathya Achia’s debut novel, In My Hands, chronicles her journey.
In this novel infused with South Asian folklore, we meet shape-shifting monsters, wise sages, mythical deities, and sentient weapons. I loved how Achia upheld the core Hindu beliefs of reincarnation and the immortality of souls in her story. The epic battle between good and evil reminded me of those in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Achia impressed me with the underlying concept of yin and yang, showing how the most abhorrent creatures could have some light in them. When unfortunate circumstances forced an innocent soul toward darkness, they deserved our compassion, not outright hatred. Achia presented her readers with a strong female lead. When given a prophesied future, sixteen-year-old Chandraka shied away, doubting her capabilities. Yet, keeping in mind the plight of the Lambadi people, she chose to carry the burden. Her gradual transformation from a feisty teenager to a level-headed warrior princess was admirable. In My Hands is a tale of unleashing one’s dormant potential that will charm anyone who appreciates mythology and folklore.