The truth may be out there. Sometimes it’s quite a ways out there, and sometimes the price for finding and telling it can be very high. Ariel Paiement’s novel Bane of Ashkarith tells the story of a young couple’s quest to discover the truth about their culture’s religious beliefs—a journey that takes them to a haunted city deep in the jungle, and then into great and tragic events that occurred in the distant past. The result is a story with complexity and even pathos. Though Ashkarith hurries the reader past some paths that might otherwise have explored intriguing narrative terrain, it gives glimpses of this unique secondary world that prove intricate and compelling. Overall, this tale of fantastical archaeology is well worth the trip.
Best for: Young adults and older.
Discern: Some sensuality within marriage, as well as heroes who seek truth yet easily accept a counterintuitive historical account that incites their quest.