ASHA IN TIME (review)

A Backwards Story is happy to help conclude The {Teen} Book Scene's tour for ASHA IN TIME!  Check out the tour schedule to see the list of events. A Backwards Story previously interviewed author Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney to kick off the tour!

NOTE: This post should have gone up yesterday.  With how busy I've been for the holidays [I haven't even posted on here in a week or so and had NO reviews the week before that...!  More proof in point?  I usually read 3-5 books a week.  In the past TWO weeks, I have read two was 100-odd pages, the other 200-odd pages.  Yeah....], I didn't have time to write a review until tonight.  I'm sorry for the slight delay!!!

NOTE: I wouldn't personally classify this as a teen book despite the main character's age.  I could see this being a book listed as adult fiction alongside historical Egyptian authors such as Michelle Moran.

Author: Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney
Release Date: Out now (May 31, 2011)
Publisher: Self-Pub
Received: Received from The {Teen} Book Scene for review


She was special. Her parents knew that; though it was not her sable hair, her wide amber eyes, but the fact that she had memories of things she could not possibly know. She remembered the palace of ancient Thebes, the palace pharaohs and queens had walked in. Finally, on her thirteenth birthday, she would find out where her memories were born. She would return to ancient Egypt to get her answers, but she had no idea that he was waiting for her.

She'll have to use all her wits and wiles to find her way in Egypt and into his heart without destroying herself.

I don't know as much about Egyptian culture as I'd like to.  That's one of the greatest things, to me, about historical fiction.  It doesn't matter how little I know (or retained in my grade-school days); by reading, I can still suck up all that knowledge--albeit in a fun way!  Author Mandy Nachampassack-Maloney spent months researching Egypt in order to create her world and it shows.  Ancient Egypt sprung off the pages of ASHA IN TIME, allowing me to envision the people, the culture, the buildings, the objects.  When I finished reading the book, I wanted to know more about the characters I'd spent so much time with, especially the fate of real-life Queens Isetnofret and Nefertari.

ASHA IN TIME starts off slowly, in our own contemporary world.  We find out how little Svana comes to be in our modern age and witness the way she grows from a newborn into a thirteen-year-old.  On her birthday, the amulet she always wears begins to glow and she is pulled backwards through time into Ancient Egypt, the land in which she was initially born.  She is given back her old name, Isetnofret, and must learn a whole new life away from the technologically-enhanced creature comforts she grew up with.  The reason for this shift in time period is quite sad, but I'll leave you to discover this element of the book on your own.  As Isetnofret grows up, she falls in love with Prince Ramses and the two become intrinsically entwined.  The novel occasionally shares a passage in the point of view from a secondary character, giving insight that Isetnofret would never otherwise be able to divulge to the reader.  While this could be distracting since not all of the characters were major or often mentioned, some of these moments were still worth reading, such as the segment from Asarsit's perspective that added an extra layer of richness or the passage at the end that had me fully on Nefertari's side despite the impossible predicament she found herself in with Isetnofret and Ramses.  I do wish Isetnofret's mother Solanda came back into the picture toward the end because she faded into the background after propelling much information along, but other than that, I liked that most of the story was from Isetnofret's point of view.

I will admit that, at first, I thought this might turn into a DNF book for me, which I haven't had yet on a blog tour.  The book begins slowly, from Solanda (Isetnofret's mother)'s POV and takes a while to unfurl.  I at least wanted to get to Egypt.  Once there, the book still had its slow moments, but had enough richness to keep me, and eventually, all of the political intrigue and full characters kept me hooked until the end.  I like the way Nachampassack-Maloney fleshed out historical Egyptian rulers.  She humanized Ramses and showed the softer side of a nation's ruler.  She brought out an innovative history for Isetnofret, a queen with very little information lining Egypt's history books.  She focused on a minor character such as Nefertari and slowly developed her into a major character and made readers truly care about the queen's plight.  She even managed to tug on the heartstrings while exploring true heartbreak and the limitless bounds of true love.  Another thing that made me falter when I began reading was the odd structure of the e-book.  I don't know if it was just my copy (I checked it on both my nook and my computer via Adobe Digital Editions), but for some reason, each page goes from a sentence or two in bold text to a few normal ones, then back to bold again.  I'm used to seeing a line of bold at the beginning of a chapter and that's it.  I also have a bad habit of skimming ahead when I'm involved in a book to see what's at the bottom of the page or the next page and then going back and reading from where I left off (yes, I'm impatient...), and my eyes kept getting attracted to all the bold bits, making it hard to stay where I was and not jump ahead and back again.  (But that's probably just a weird me thing.)  While ASHA IN TIME does have its flaws, it does a beautiful job of bringing Ancient Egypt to life and at only 99¢ on Kindle and $1.99 on nook, it's worth a chance if you love Egypt and/or history.


This cover really intrigued me and made me want to read ASHA IN TIME.  I love the coloring and the Egyptian symbols.  At the time, I didn't know much about the book.  Now, I think the cover could be of Isetnofret as she moves from our century to her native one.  It also represents the sensuous nature of the Egyptian culture.  

I really like the way all the elements come together on this cover.  It made me pick it up and give it a chance.  How about you?


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