Title/ Shanti And The Magic Mandala by F.T. Camargo / Author/ F.T. Camargo / Publisher/ Lodestone Books / Publishing Date/ October 2014 / Length/ 337 Pages / Genre/ Young Adult Paranormal
This book follows six teens who have been told that they have been chosen to save the world from dark magic. Though the kids are living in New York City and Brazil they represent different cultures and religious belief systems and several different countries. It turns out though that they are connected in ancient ways and this isn’t the first time they have taken on this task. They are set on a hunt for an ancient artifact that in the wrong hands will destroy the world and all that is good in it.
There is much that is good about this book. I am always thrilled when I see lit for young people showing how multiculturalism is a very good thing. This book goes one step beyond though. Each of the kids in spiritual in their own way and deeply involved in one of the world’s ancient major religions. The author has done a fantastic job of demonstrating that following the basic tenets of one religion doesn’t preclude respect for other religions and when stripped down to basic tenets, they are not so different. In today’s culture of extreme prejudice it is a welcome story line. I did have an issue with the name of the opposing organization, since it focused on only one of those religions. I felt that since we were dealing with an ancient cult, so to speak, that a more generalized term would have worked better.
The story is definitely unique and offered many interesting twists and turns as we followed the kids on their adventures around the world. Still, I think at times the author tried to add too much to the story. It may have benefited from being a series of books. There were story lines that could have used some expansion or explanation. For instance Shanti has an affinity with dogs, yet when the dogs are rescued she is outside. It was never fully explained why Helena’s experience was so much more tragic than the rest of the kids. By contrast Antonio would have seemed to on just be a fun vacation. Also, the plot line with Shanti’s teacher started beautifully and then just seemed to become nothing more than a convenient plot device that coincidentally tied together at the end with Helena’s godmother, who quite frankly seemed like she should played a greater part in the story as well the way she was set up in the beginning of Helena’s story.
For all that the story left me wanting for just a bit more, I really enjoyed reading it and sharing the adventures with these kids. This Bookworm awards “Shanti and the Magic Mandala” 4 Tomes.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review in conjunction with B00k R3v3iw Tours.
Read an Excerpt:
Shanti was the first to smell the smoke. She paused in her frantic packing. “Do you smell something burning?”
“Yes, I do,” Lelê said, worried.
It was getting noticeably hotter in the room. “Look, there’s smoke coming in under the door!” Antônio cried. Black smoke was slowly seeping beneath the door and into the room. Lelê ran to the window.
“The door won’t open,” Shanti said, struggling with the lock.
“Neither will the window.” Lelê was close to tears.
“Let me try, Shanti.” Antônio grasped the doorknob, applying his strength to it. Even as he fought with the lock, the smoke and the heat were rising.”
“They did it. We’re stuck in here,” Helena said, coughing.
Antônio hammered on the wall. “Nasir! Itai! Tadao! Help us!”
“They want to kill us,” Lelê cried, shaking with fear.
Looking intently at Helena, her voice ringing with determination, Shanti declared, “But we’re not going to let them succeed!”
“Get away from the door,” Antônio said, kicking at it.
Hearing Antônio’s call for help, Nasir and Itai had rushed to the door, only to find it locked. Tadao tried the window. “It won’t open,” he said, fearful. “The window’s locked.”
“We can’t get out. What’s happening?” Nasir said, with an edge of panic.
“It’s black magic,” Itai said, trying to help Nasir break down the door.
Just then, an image of the book came into his mind. He ran over to his backpack, still on top of his bed and upended it shaking everything out.
Suddenly there was a loud noise, like an explosion — the door swung open. Flames and gouts of heavy, black smoke poured into the room. The whole hallway was on fire.
Tadao pushed at the window again, but it defied his efforts to open it.
Itai reached for his book. It was illuminated once again. He stood up and held the book with both hands, opening it. A bright light shone forth from the page it had opened on and he saw another name, formed with three Hebrew letters. Seitel, another of the 72 names of God. Itai knew that the Angel Seitel was able to create a protective shield. He closed his eyes, forming an urgent prayer, reaching out to connect with the angel, shutting out the mayhem around him for a few moments. Opening his eyes he gazed at the three letters from right to left for a few more precious seconds. Then he closed the book, replaced everything else in the backpack and hoisted it on his back. He picked up the book, holding it in his right hand. “Grab your backpacks and follow me.”
Nasir stared at him with an expression that clearly showed concern for his sanity “Itai?”
“Follow me,” Itai repeated with certainty.
“What? What do you mean?” Tadao almost shouted.
Nasir took his backpack and positioned himself behind Itai. “May Allah protect us!”
Watching Nasir, Tadao did the same. Itai took the closed book in both hands, pointing it towards the fire, as they approached the door. The book emitted an increasingly intense light. Gradually, a large shield began to form, surrounding the three boys.
“Wow! It’s a light vehicle, a merkaba!” Nasir said, reverently, his gaze locked on the intense white light of the forming shield.
“Incredible!” Tadao said, forming his own silent prayer, Thank you, Lord Buddha.
Steadfastly Itai moved towards the door now engulfed by large flames. He advanced out of the room, into the hallway, the light shield in front of him, and as he moved, he created a clear path, the shield pushing away the flames, heat and smoke. He stopped in front of Shanti’s bedroom door. The wood was charred and blackened and the ancient lock had popped free, leaving the door swinging brokenly. Their friends had crowded at the back of the room, near the window, trying to get away from the thick, choking smoke. “Grab your backpacks! Get behind Nasir and Tadao!” Itai shouted.
“We’re coming!” Antônio said, grabbing his backpack and walking swiftly towards the door.
Lord Ganesha, please open those paths, Shanti prayed, putting all of her faith into the prayer.
Within moments, the three were in place. The light shield began to grow sideways, eventually forming a large cube of light, protecting all of them. They crossed the hall, safe from the flames. As they went down the stairs, they heard the roof collapsing behind them. The reception area had been completely destroyed by fire, but again they passed through the devastation completely shielded from the heat and flames. They reached the door leading to the outside. Itai wasted no time in pulling it open and they poured out of the burning building.
As soon as the last one of them stepped onto the street, the old pension began to collapse, turning into a huge bonfire.
About the Author:
F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect and author, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”
For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey.
– Winner of 2014 London Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
– 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards: Bronze Medal at “Young Adult Fiction – Spirituality” category
– 2014 New England Book Festival in Boston: Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.
– Winner of 2015 Paris Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
– Winner of 2015 International Book Awards in the category “Fiction / Young Adult”.
– Winner of 2015 New York Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
– 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
– 2015 San Francisco Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
– 2015 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles: Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.