Goodreads Link: The Dragon and the Lotus (Chimera #1)
Author: Joseph Robert Lewis
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Wow, this was one of the most original fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time. I loved the way that the author blended Hindu, Buddhist, Persian, and other myths with original ideas to create a world full of magic on an epic scale. The steam punk elements were surprising when they showed up later in the book, but they also fit into the whole world created here. Alternate history is also woven into the core of the story for a rich, complex tapestry that’s still beautifully done. Makes it look easy!
And I have a new favorite character: Asha, the herbalist with a unique ability. She struggles with rage, sorrow, and even love, while showing compassion for others. She has a wonderful friendship with the nun, Priya, who tries to balance Asha’s rash anger with calm patience. I loved following their adventures through different lands and predicaments.
But after many smaller episodes, the book holds a deeper plot that slowly emerges, until Asha has to face more deadly enemies and larger scale problems than helping one family or village. What starts small and slow becomes a very epic story by the end. I definitely look forward to reading more of this series and finding out what happens to Asha in Alexandria. ( I hope she goes to the Library!)
I highly recommend this book for all lovers of fantasy who want something new with diverse characters and cultures. No generic Western European castles and dragons here!