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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Warned: The Astrologer’s Prophecy by Mahtab Narsimhan is the first book in the Eerie Tales from the East series. While his parents are away, Avi is stuck without the internet and staying with his grandfather. The only other person around is a servant with questionable motives who seems to have it in for Avi. His problems escalate when an astrologer makes an unfortunate prophecy - that death is heading his way. At first, he doesn’t believe the dire warning until other prophecies come true and he begins to fear for his life. He turns to a new friend for help. A friend who isn’t shy about sharing her opinions about what’s going on, even if it's about his family.
Mahtab Narsimhan incorporates multiple characters, each serving to move the plot forward and with roles such as the evil servant, the grandfather, the new friend, and the astrologer. The character details are fantastic, especially with the way Narsimhan builds suspense through their behavior. The servant has a villainous role with a sinister attitude such as taunting Avi and downplaying his allergy to wasps, though he also plays an important part in what’s happening in the village. A mysterious girl enters his life and opens his eyes to certain things such as the caste system there and her status within it. Her opinions and experiences have an impact on how he thinks and how he views his grandfather while also serving as a subtle commentary that is poignant and honest. Underneath these different elements are Avi’s feelings toward his parents not being there, which is seen through moments of bitterness and anger. The writing style incorporates vivid visuals through subtle details such as the phone ringing half-heartedly and comparing the servant’s movements to an elephant. Warned: The Astrologer's Prophecy blends suspense and mystery into a story that will draw you in from the beginning.