Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review - "Vanished"

Since I started this blog, I’ve probably read more mysteries than I had in the previous *mumblemumble*years of my life. I have stated time and again that mysteries just weren’t my thing, but I keep proving myself wrong by coming across stories and characters that pique my interest. Mysteries are such a popular genre across the board that the middle grade world is lousy with them, and I’ve found that some are really quite remarkable. The latest who-dun-it I have discovered in this fantastic line is Vanished by Sheela Chari.

Neela has received from her grandmother in India a wonderful gift: a beautiful veena, a traditional Indian string instrument, with an extraordinary dragon carving on the handle. Neela has been taking lessons on her teacher’s practice veena, and is thrilled to have one of her own, especially one so special. What her grandmother and her parents have failed to mention is that Neela’s new veena carries a curse, and when it disappears from a church closet, Neela finds herself dragged into wide-spread search with threats appearing from all sides. Is the curse real, or are there human hands behind all Neela’s trouble?

Before reading Vanished, I had never heard the word “veena”. Now I’m interested in finding out more about veena music and musicians. A good book can do that to you, and I find that most good books I read lead me on some manner of information chase, which is a good thing. Stories don’t end just because the author says “The End”. And Chari’s story kept me thinking for a long time after I’d closed the book. Her characters, especially Neela and her foe/friend Lynne are very well drawn. They move the mystery along at an appropriate pace. Overall, I was delighted with the mysterious elements of this story: the disappearance of the veena, the shadowy curse, the international intrigue. All of it was put together marvelously to complete the package.

Vanished by Sheela Chari
2011, Disney Hyperion
Library copy

No comments:

Post a Comment