(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Iron Ring has superbly developed characters who are fun to spend time with, wondrous events, fearful dangers, and a complex exploration of what one of the characters calls the "twilight" between right and wrong. The premise on which the story is built seems simple but becomes ever more challenging as the tale advances. King Tamar of Sundari is visited by Jaya, ruler of Mahapura, a land in a valley in the Snow Mountains of the far north. In a game of chance, Jaya wins Tamar's life and commands Tamar to come to him in Mahapura. This would be a dull quest if there were not complications, and there are many, involving cantankerous birds, a kingdom of snakes, the king of the monkeys, and many other wonderful beings and places. The novel has romance, drama, action, and suspense, all set in a richly detailed context that exemplifies the essence of the ancient Indian culture, with the cultural standards and expectations presented fluidly as coherent parts of the plot.

(The entire section is 168 words.)