Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway Programs in exchange for a promise of honest review in 2014. I decided to publish it here as well, albeit late.
The Third Daughter is a nice YA fantasy novel with elements of steam punk, political espionage and romance. It’s also coming of age story of princess Anira, the arrogant third daughter of the Queen of Dharia who is waiting for her eighteenth birthday, so that she would marry man she loves, and her metamorphosis from a careless princess to a lady who would sacrifice her love and life for her duty towards her nation.
But with the rumors of invention of a new airship by the barbarian Jungalis, as the war seems inevitable, the peace between the two nations depend on a political marriage between Anira and barbarian prince Ashoka Malik of United Province of Jungali. After the death of his younger brother and mother, Prince Malik is now heir to the throne of this mountainous country afflicted with poverty, population and infighting.
What follows is a tale of how people of two different cultures try to work together, and while doing so, learn a lot about each other. While the ending of the novel is quite predictable, the plot remains interesting nonetheless.
There is a Bollywood twist to the plot in the sense that the girl in the story is from a rich and powerful family while the boy who proposes her for marriage has a humble background. Throw in a few people who don’t want the couple to marry for their personal gains, and you have a story ready-made for Bollywood of 90s.
The author has modeled the fictional world on Indian subcontinent and has used names like Priya, Ashoka and Janak to give it an Indian feeling. Even some of the locations like Kartavya (capital of Dharia) is a directly a word from Sanskrit. However I was unable to find the meanings of the words in Devanagri Script that was at the beginning of each chapter. It seemed like random letters put together with no meaning whatsoever. May be it was just to add the “Indian feel” to the plot and could have been avoided.
This was my first experience with a purely Indian-themed Steam punk novel, and I enjoyed it. The plot is well paced and entertaining. The characters are well developed and the heroine of the story is everything other than a damsel in distress. I enjoy reading stories with strong female characters, and I am extremely thankful to the Susan for this fun read.
And yes looking forward to the second installment of the Dharian Affairs – The Second Daughter as the first book of the series ends with a nice cliffhanger.