Bollywood Books

The Lucky 13s group was abuzz last week with the news that one of our sisters, Sonali Dev, had made the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 e-originals list with A Bollywood Affair, a book that hasn’t even been released yet (look for it in a few days—official release date is October 28). I haven’t read it yet (I’ll be A Bollywood Affairsnapping up a copy when I can), so all I can tell you is that it’s a contemporary romance with Indian characters set in Michigan.

When I went to look at the list, I was also pleased to find Susan Kaye Quinn’s Third Daughter on it as well. Although Library Journal mysteriously tags the first volume of Quinn’s Dharian Affairs Trilogy as historical romance, it is actually Indian-flavored science fiction/steampunk/romance (Bollypunk?), set on a world with two moons, six-legged animals, and three Queendoms.

The Dharian Affairs

I read Third Daughter this summer, enjoyed it thoroughly, and reviewed it here. Last Monday, while spending the day at the local Toyota dealership while they performed the 30,000-mile maintenance rituals on my car (no complaints—they must be doing a good job, the car is still serving me well after more than ten years and 186,000 miles), I finished Second Daughter, which ended on such a cliffhanger that I immediately started on First Daughter, the third book in the trilogy (immediate gratification, thanks to my Kindle).

The books are so full of twists and turns that I don’t want to give any of them away. Aniri, the Third Daughter of the Queendom of Dharia, is the protagonist of all three books, and her bumpy romance with the Prince of the mountainous northern Queendom, carries through the trilogy. Her sister Seledri, the Second Daughter, is married to the First Son of the Queendom of Samir, and her dangerous situation, and Aniri’s attempts to help her, drive Second Daughter. Seledri will be Queen of Samir one day—if she survives long enough. As problems mount, Nahali, the First Daughter and future Queen of Dharia becomes involved—but whose side is she on?

All three books are full of romance, adventure, swords and blunderbusses, and skyships. Buy all three—you won’t want to wait for the next one.

Bolly-Punk: The Dharian Affairs

After I read (or perhaps misread) a review of Susan Kaye Quinn’s Third Daughter which used the intriguing descriptive “Bolly-punk,” I bought the book expecting a romance set in an alternate Victorian India. It didn’t take Third Daughterme long, however, to realize that Dharia was not an alternate India, but an alternate world. The twin full moons on the second page were my first clue.

Mind you, I was delighted by the discovery that Third Daughter is in fact a science fiction novel (with a solid helping of romance that does not go beyond kisses), and a perfectly wonderful example of world building (there’s a map of Dharia and its neighbors on Quinn’s website). And then there were the pack animals that sounded rather like elephants—with six legs. And the matriarchal society, in which Dharia is always referred to as the Queendom.

The heroine, Aniri, is the Third Daughter of the Queen of Dharia, a few days away from her eighteenth birthday. Her sisters, the First and Second Daughters, have done their duty and married appropriately, freeing Aniri to follow her heart. That is, until the Queen asks her to consider a marriage, or at least an engagement, of convenience to Prince Ashora Malik, the heir to the barbarous northern country of Jungali, taking her on a mission to discover the truth behind rumors of a flying machine/weapon that might threaten the political status quo.

That’s right, a flying machine. Plus sword fighting automatons, long distance communicators, steam trains and ladies in corsets, tiny mechanisms, sabers, all sorts of steampunk technology. Aniri is a tough, self-reliant heroine. Ash and Jungali are not quite what Aniri has been led to expect, and old family secrets rise to the surface as she searches for the truth behind the rumors. And, by the end of the book, Aniri and Ash have discovered one more secret than they expected. The last line of the novel is a doozy!

Second DaughterI enjoyed Third Daughter immensely, and downloaded Second Daughter when it was released. I just pre-ordered First Daughter, which is scheduled to release on September 29.  More reviews to come.