RATING: 4 ON 5
“God is the embodiment of that vastness, the source and the end of everything. There is no good. There is no evil. It is all an illusion manifest.”
Indian authors and thrillers is not a very common notion. Unfortunately lesser known Indian authors perch themselves on the branch of love stories to see how the world of readers embraces them. So when I first saw the book “Tantra” by Adi, frankly I was a bit surprised with the prologue and wanted to read the book as soon as possible. No high hopes, cause of the perceptions I had, but way too curious to know about a female lead, who fights with Vampires, in a book named Tantra (black magic).
Anu Aggarwal, a US returned, Indian Delhiete girl, lives with a nagging but loving aunt with a mission of getting her niece married before Anu gets to say the word marriage, is a no nonsense guardian whose soul hobby is hunting down the demons of night – Vampires. But Anu has a looming sadness and desire for vengeance veiled under her “go for the kill attitude”, for her now dead boyfriend Brain. This reason brings her to the city of Delhi where she has to put her past aside and learn life is not just shades of black and white, right and wrong, there is more to every story, every being. The story soon transgresses form simple vampire-human track to a much explored and engrossing paranormal narrative.
The story starts with Anu sitting alone, gazing at a sleepy Delhi and ends with her defeating the darkness that thrived under the spell of moon with many allies she never thought she would have. The character of Anu is woven beautifully in threads of life, and as the story progresses the character is strongly emerges to be more than just a trained killer. It easily reminded me of one of my favourite fictional female leads of all time “NIKITA”. Her journey of how she started off alone, made a friend then two, her fight with herself about what to believe and what to not, learning from her mistakes, understanding anything can be true, trusting friends and foes, caring for a family she always pulled herself away from, this is the journey of Anu and she surely takes you everywhere with her through the book.
1 - It is a fast read with simple and flowing prose. Hits off with the main story with the 3rd chapter itself. If you have 2 hours in a day or 3 tops, for a book, I bet you can’t keep the book down till you finish it.
2. Focus on the storyline and the connectivity rather than all the characters keeps you gripped till the very end.
3. A strong female lead with normal and paranormal issues is a welcome change and hence the book strikes the curiosity chord of a diligent reader.
4. A considerably good balance of witty lines, funny punches and serious dialogues.
- A few grammatical errors here and there which will irritate the grammar police. For example: page 184 3rd last line “keepings its memories”.
- Not a lot of background and a lot of things are left to the understanding of the reader. Though it tickles imaginative side of many, some readers might find it disconnecting.
- Selection of places for meets and events. Though it is not a big issue, it made the story seem a little fake from a reader’s point of view, a bit overdone as almost all of the places her high profile 3 or 5 start places of Delhi.
Overall it is a pleasant read and a very good first attempt by the author. I would have given it a 3.5 star but because I could connect it so strongly to Nikita I had to give a four *guilty me*. A potential series is what I see with this book as the first, and if it turns out to be true would be waiting eagerly to see how much tantra percolates and settles itself in our protagonist’s life. The book is an intense paranormal thriller sprinkled with witty phrases, garnished with strong puzzling characters and the intention of proving “tantra’ is not all wrong nor are the creatures we dread so much, there is always more to what we see and understand; it is all perspective. It is sure to appeal to a young reader base.
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