Title: Down and Out in Kathmandu
Series: Yes, Adventures of Zelda Richardson, #1
Author: Jennifer S. Alderson
Publisher: CreatSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published Date: July 28th, 2016
Rating: 3 Stars
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a review during the Mystery Thriller Week Event. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Synopsis (From Goodreads)
Overworked computer programmer Zelda Richardson is teetering on the edge of burnout. Inspired by a girlfriend’s trip around the world, she sublets her apartment in Seattle, Washington, buys a backpack and flies to Kathmandu as a volunteer English teacher – determined to make a difference and find herself whilst doing it.
She can’t wait to immerse herself in Nepalese life – wear a Sari, eat with her right hand and wipe with her left – but becomes overwhelmed by its foreignness. Despite the power outages, lack of running water and difficulty in learning the language, she sticks it out, wanting to prove to her friends and family – but mainly to herself – that she can survive without the luxuries of home.
One distraction is the charming Ian, the sexy Australian backpacker whom she gets to know on arriving in Nepal. When her students laugh her out of the classroom and the headmaster publically humiliates her, Zelda flees to the tourist district of Thamel to drown her sorrows with Ian.
What follows is every traveler’s nightmare as they find themselves entangled with an international gang of smugglers who believe Ian and Zelda have stolen their diamonds.
Can Zelda find a way to get the smugglers off their backs and her Nepalese students to respect her, before her time in Kathmandu is over?
This book has been on my radar for some time when I came across it in a Goodreads giveaway. I was fortunate enough to come across it again during the Mystery Thriller Week. Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited to be able to reach out to the author and read her novel.
I am an avid adventurer! I love everything about going out and traveling the world, getting lost and finding yourself. I was totally jealous of Zelda Richardson’s ability to leave everything behind and start an adventure. I can really get behind her need to experience the nitty gritty of the culture. However, Zelda’s naivety of the touch western culture has on just about everything was her downfall. The second downfall was how angry she got at anything that did not go her way! She came off often as privileged and entitled. However, she was still a very likable character, whom I felt really grew as she continued through her experiences.
I kind of adored Ian, despite his obsession with getting high…but hey, he was on vacation. He was very chill, and just kind of wanted to have a good time. I think he was very good at smoothing Zelda’s sharpness.
I have to say I wasn’t too thrilled with the middle of this story. It drags on a bit with very little action, romance, or even adventuring. You get to see Zelda interacting with her students and her new family, but most of the time she is whiny and feeling sorry for herself, granted the family wasn’t so great. Ian was the one who did all the adventuring but his parts were small. I would have loved to see more of the Nepalese setting.
However, the ending was amazing. It was fast paced and I had no idea which direction it would go. I am very happy with the outcome, and I can’t wait to read more of Zelda Richardson’s travels!