Bound To Stay Bound

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Booklist - 04/15/2009 The final volume in the Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy finds apprentice healer Anand and his best friend, Nisha, embarking on yet another perilous quest. They find themselves transported to a dystopian world called Shadowland, whose rulers have stolen the Brotherhood’s magical conch in hopes that its energy will maintain their ecologically endangered world. Divakaruni has enough plot here for two books, and as a result, the story feels increasingly sketchy and rushed while the characters remain one-dimensional. Still, the settings are elegantly drawn, and the many fans of the first two books will want to read this concluding volume. - Copyright 2009 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 07/01/2009 Gr 5-8 –Returning from an unsuccessful mission to contact a hermit living in the Himalayan Mountains near Silver Valley, 15-year-old Anand finds that his home has disappeared, along with his magical conch. With the help of a powerful mirror, he and his friend Nisha travel to a distant future, arriving in a land devastated by pollution and class warfare. Navigating the slums and the metropolis, the teens learn that the scientific miracles are achieved at the expense of magical objects, and the draining of the conch will also destroy Anand’s village. They forge an uneasy alliance with one of the scientists and embark on a mission to reconcile the future and restore the past. In this conclusion to the trilogy, Divakaruni continues to explore the values of honesty, family, and responsibility. Readers are likely to find his narrative heavy-handed, with a strong moralizing tone. The characters are robotic in their behaviors, but they are only there to deliver lectures on the author’s core values anyway. Both action scenes and suspenseful moments are competently done, but there is no sophistication within those passages. Dialogue is choppy at best, and may be too advanced for the targeted audience. Fans of the series will appreciate Anand’s adventure, but new readers will be puzzled by the relationship between the young Healer and the mystical conch.–Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library - Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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