Review of Assam and Darjeeling by T.M. Camp

September 5, 2008
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Assam and Darjeeling by T.M. CampSFFaudio EssentialAssam & Darjeeling
By T.M. Camp; Read by T.M. Camp
Podcast Download (iTunes and RSS Feeds can be found |Here| – Approx 23 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: T.M. Camp
Published: 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / Religion / Legend / Children / Underworld /

A masterful and nuanced book, Assam & Darjeeling is the story of a quest straight into legendary, mythological landscape. Two children’s’ efforts to save their mother serves as a lens through which we see pure love, redemption, and sacrifice.

It all begins with a car accident on a snow-covered road; two kids and their mother end up in intensive care. The kids are banged up . . . but their mom is in a coma, hovering on the edge of death. Drifting in a pale, ghostly world of their own, the kids resolve to find her and bring her back.

So begins their journey into the Underworld, where the remnants of Dante, shreds of folklore, and echoes of mythology struggle to keep pace with the world above.

Demons with cell phones, ancient deities tooling around in vintage convertibles… Gods and goddesses whose pantheons have fallen out of favor, waiting tables in an all-night diner to make ends meet… A lonely queen wandering through her winter palace, waiting for spring… A little boy named Edgar who set off on his own after the Black Plague to wander other worlds above and below, looking for something he lost long ago… A congregation of souls fooled into believing they’ve reached the fields of Heaven, while the demon who ensnared them feeds on their faith and their fear…

This story will appeal to anyone who knows and loves classic Western mythology. Camp has tweaked the old legends just enough to make us puzzle about each new situation and character’s origin. When it falls into place we feel a sense of triumph for getting it right … or the need to dash to the reference books to see what unknown myth he is referring to.

One of the truest pleasures of Assam & Darjeeling is the relationship between the forceful younger sister, Darjeeling, and the thoughtful, sensitive older brother, Assam. The way that they work together to save their mother, yet often clash in the details of how they must proceed is what carries the story and makes us believe in their relationship. It rings true to anyone who has siblings whom they love but who also have the capacity to irritate beyond belief in daily life.

Camp reads his own story and his understated delivery adds to pull the listener into the story. His accents are flawless and add definition to each character. His playful side shows in the touches he adds to the very end of each podcast where his contact information changes frequently and always has a humorously mystic tone.

This is hands-down one of my favorite books of the year. I absolutely loved it and anxiously awaited each weekly upload until the entire book was finished. I only wish that it were available in printed form so that I could give it to people who don’t listen to audio books.

Posted by Julie D.

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