Laldasa is Sanskrit for “beloved slave” and it's a fitting title for a story of class boundaries, racial prejudices, and the one power capable of overcoming them. It's the story of one small woman battling a political machinery over which she has no control, and one supposedly powerful man who realizes that he is as much a pawn of the machinery as the casteless woman he befriends.
It was supposed to be a simple trip to the planet Mehtar, but a series of unfortunate events leaves Anala Nadim enslaved to Jaya Sarojin, the Lord Prince of Mehtar's capital city, Kasi. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has an intriguing way of blending science fiction with Hindu culture, and Anala's servitude to Jaya contains allusions to the religion's caste systems as well as introducing a fascinating and complicated love story. Claire Slemmer has a warm, sympathetic style that makes Laldasa, despite its potentially alienating high concept, deeply human and emotional.