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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi follows a hero's quest as a young girl races to save her brother. It all started on Rea's birthday which her twin brother decided to celebrate with a cricket match and without her. As if dealing with Rohan wasn't bad enough, her Amma and grandmother's behavior has gotten strange. Rea decides to do what she wants for a change and disobey Amma's orders to go to her friend Leela's friend. The next thing she knows, her brother Rohan has disappeared, and while Amma may be willing to accept that he's gone, Rea refuses to give up. She embarks on a search for her brother which leads to an old fortune-teller called Mishti Daadi. This sets them on a quest where Rea meets new allies and must fight against dangerous threats such as lizardmen, banshees, serpent lilies, and more in an attempt to rescue Rohan. Her quest pushes her to be heroic when an ally is in need of her help and her brother needs her now more than ever.
The beginning of the story introduces the struggles that Rea is experiencing as she's grown tired of her brother always getting his way. Rohan's disappearance is the catalyst for Rea's quest and what brings her into this world of danger and the supernatural as she sets out to save her brother. The story creates a bookend with the beginning setting up her resentment at being a twin and having a grudge against Rohan which leads through a series of events that make her miss him and realize how much he actually means to her. In a hero's quest with a fun twist, Payal Doshi creates a lesson through the monsters and the heroic feats for Rea to learn the value in her family and her brother. The quest allows her to figure out her own capabilities and discover the depths of her own bravery. The new allies she makes become her friends and companions who support her in the fight against monsters, dealing with threats, and journeying into the unknown. Doshi delivers a journey that breathes life into the fantasy genre with a hero for all ages as Rea and the Blood of the Nectar delivers a tale that is charming, witty, clever, and full of adventure.