The Kura (Underland – 1) by Mary Patterson Thornburg
Alyssha Dodson, a mixed-race girl from Indiana, daughter of a widowed white janitor, has just graduated from high school. Six years ago, running from pursuers bent on violence, she hid under a bridge, crawled into a dark opening – and found herself in Bandor, another country in another universe.
The months she spent there were the happiest of her life, but when she returned, she promised her father she wouldn’t go back. She’s kept that promise.
Now, though, the hit-and-run victim she finds dying on a Granville street is a man she met in that other world, and his family won’t know what happened to him unless she tells them. So she really has no choice, does she?
Mary Patterson Thornburg was born in California, grew up in Washington State, moved to Montana when she was 18, and spent many years in Indiana, where she studied and then taught at Ball State University.
Her dream was always to write fantasy stories and novels, but she didn’t get started until she and her husband moved back to Montana in 1998. When she’d finished her first story and it was published, she took off running and never looked back. She’s had stories in Cicada, Zahir, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, among other places. Two of her short stories earned honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2006, 2008), and “Niam’s Tale,” in the July/August 2010 Cicada, won the SCBWI 2011 Magazine Merit Honor Certificate. Her first fantasy/romance/adventure novel, A Glimmer of Guile, was published by Uncial Press in 2014. Her second book for Uncial, The Kura, came out in April, 2015. An Uncial Novel Byte, “Ghosts,” was released October 14, 2016, and a second Novel Byte, “Battle Royal,” is scheduled for release in January, 2017. Both “Ghosts” and “Battle Royal” are set in the Kura universe.
Alyssha once traveled to a land called Bandor while running for her life. She spent several months there and when she returned she promised her father that she would never go back. Then the medallion her brother gave her is glowing. It seems that Bandor needs her once again and she is going to have to break her promise. Then she witnesses a hit-and-run and she knows the victim. She meet him in Bandor and decides to return to let his family know of his passing.
Alyssha finds her brother, Bela Ru and learns how he has created a new government. Then there is her friend, Kardl who is now a prince. But Bandor is on the cusp of war. And there are prejudices that are similar to those Alyssha has dealt with on Earth. The only difference is these are based on ancestry as opposed to skin color. Will Alyssha, her brother, and friend be able to stop the upcoming war? Will she be able to return home to Earth?
Alyssha is a strong woman trying to find her place. She knows it is not in Indiana but is it elsewhere on Earth or maybe with her brother in Bandor. I like how although she knows she is breaking her promise to her father, she has to do something and return to Bandor. She stands up to prejudices and hate groups in both worlds and still remains a strong woman.
If you enjoyed The Kura make sure to check out the prequel Underland. This is the story of Alyssha’s first trip to Bandor. I loved The Kura so I will definitely be looking out for Underland. If you are a fantasy young adult lover this book is one that you need to check out.
I received The Kura from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.