Review: Chasing the Avatar

Chasing the Avatar by Jovan Jones

Sadly, I give this book a 2.


Maya is an educated and highly successful black woman who is somewhat lost in her life. In search of meaning and higher purpose, Maya latches on to Cha Ma, a believed avatar for the Hindu goddess Kali. The story that follows is a recount of any and everything Maya is willing to do to reach enlightenment, but then there’s also the presence of Maya’s Christian praying parents.

Initially the idea of this story had me more than intrigued. I read a few pages in the bookstore just to get a feel of what the narrative would be like, and what I sampled, pulled me in. Unfortunately, trying to read the whole story wasn’t so exciting.

So, here’s the good. The descriptions in the book are amazing and full of life and emotion. Seeing the difference and, oddly enough, the seminaries of worship and praise rituals between the Hindu faith and the Christian faith were astounding. If someone were completely foreign the ideas of Hinduism and Christianity, they may have trouble deciding which they’d prefer, given that both are depicted in such a powerful way in the beginning of this book.

My favorite parts of the story quickly became the passages describing Maya’s day to day encounters while staying in India, but they didn’t remain my favorites for long.

Also, the contrast of Maya’s adventures in India and her parent’s struggle back home started out as this epic spiritual battle that was entertaining to see unfold, but alas it didn’t end that way.

The bad came on so slowly, I almost didn’t see it until I realized that reading the story was starting to make me angry. Everything in the beginning of this story was so powerful, and vibrant, and new, but after a while everything became repetitive. The back and forth spiritual struggle, while entertaining at first, became monotonous. Maya didn’t start off the story being an especially likable character, but she was an interesting character with a spiritual dilemma that many could possibly relate to, but after a while, she just became annoying.

I could go on debating the many aspects of this story that I truly appreciated in hopes not to turn others away, but in the end, I just didn’t enjoy this reading experience. For anyone who’s read any of my other reviews, it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that I was also annoyed that this book had no conclusion. It leaves you hanging on for the next book, but it doesn’t exactly leave you with a cliffhanger. I also have to be completely honest and admit that I’d already started skipping around through the book when I discovered the ending was lacking.

I have a feeling that my tendency to read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi may have had something to do with why this reading experience was so unpleasant, but I’m not putting all the blame on that. I’ve been expanding my reading horizons lately and this book just didn’t keep my attention, even though it had so much potential.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book unless you happened to be interested in religious mash-ups and spiritual warfare, but I do have a few people in mind that I’m going to share this with.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.