Masson, Sophie. 2006. Snow Fire Sword.
Described on the cover as 'epic in scale, universally human' SNOW, FIRE, SWORD by Sophie Masson is an imaginative fantasy novel set on the island of Jayangan. While most fantasy novels take place either in ancient times or the far future, SNOW, FIRE, SWORD creates a world where ancient beliefs (spirits, spirit worlds, spiritual warfare) and magic exist side by side with new pop songs and motorcycles. A combination which in my opinion can be a little confusing at least at first. It's odd to see this Asian culture with reverence for spirits and ancestors and traditional clothing side by side with motorcycle gangs and magical cars that drive themselves.
We have two heroes. Adi is a young apprentice, almost a young man, but who still has a lot to learn. Dewi, likewise, is a young girl (14?) who must prove she has a wisdom and strength beyond her years. The two are given the task of saving the world as they know it when the adults close to them are kidnapped by the mysterious hantumu. (Adi's master, Empu Wesiagi, a sword maker on his way to the sultan with the gift of a new kris and Dewi's father, Bapar Wiriyanto). Given vague instructions by a wise counselor in the city of Kotabunga, the two are sent on their way with a car and its driver, Anda Mangil. Told only that they must find 'snow fire sword' in order to have a chance to defeat the nameless unknown enemy whom even the spirits cannot see and rescue their loved ones and keep the world safe. Not knowing if these are objects or peoples, the two set out intimidated but determined.
The adventure that follows is exciting read for those willing to put some initial effort into reading this long, epic tale.