Posted in Books

Book Review: Tantra, by Adi

About the author:
Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under the covers, pretending to be asleep. Somewhere along the line, a poetry book and a minor textbook were published. Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he could not help but pick this topic for his first novel.

My thoughts on the book:
Thrillers and India don’t exactly go together always. I feel when it comes to books, the pet genre is romance. So when this book came into my possession, it was a welcome change. When you read the blurb on the back cover, you do find that thrill come into your heart, your reader’s sense of the book, and that is what’s needed. However, you also find yourself wondering if the book is clichéd as the reason for the protagonist being who she is seems to be very common. All in all, the first impression off the extract sets you into the tale.

The protagonist, Anu is a vampire hunter who swears by her pleather “work outfits” (though she does switch to something a little more comfortable later). When the novel begins, we find her looking over the city of Delhi, where she couldn’t find a single vampire after hunting for a week. She meets the local guardian of Delhi, Amit, who tells her that Delhi is different from New York where she worked as a guardian before. We’re introduced to Nina who’s Anu’s aunt and the typical aunty type woman who fusses over her niece and almost immediately gets to the point that Anu needs to get married soon. (I guess there’s no shortage of people wanting to be marriage brokers though. I wonder if we could have a broker hunter someday!) Anu also encounters a vampire Misra who she sees abducting a child in a duffel bag and who she kills. Till this point, the story is a little slow, more detail oriented and such.

Afterward, she meets the big boss of the vampire hunters’ union (I’m calling it that; it’s not official part of the book). She also encounters the most powerful vampire, the head vampire Chandra (translated to moon… lovely choice of name for a vampire, Adi). When Amit finds that another child has gone missing, Anu and Amit visit the family of the taken child and promise to do their best to find the child. Through another source, we’re introduced to the villain, Baba Senaka. From Anu’s impatient attitude to try and singlehandedly destroy the villain, to their further encounters, from this point, the story picks up pace. We see the villain’s army attack the heroine’s headquarters, we see further vampires in the fray and other sources to help our heroine in her worthy cause. Can’t give away all details now, can I? Well, for the authors’ help, I’ll tell you. My favorite part was the tea ceremony between Anu and the Pandit; and the part I felt could have been lessened or avoided was the show-and-be-shown ceremony which felt out of place.

Overall, what I liked in the novel was that it promises a thriller and it delivers one, though not end-to-end. Good cover design too. The religious parts are quite interesting and the authors’ imagination and narration make it easier to read and to feel like it’s happening like a movie in front of my eyes. I liked the ending too, which seems to promise (atleast to me) that a sequel is on hand and I think it merits one anyways! Now coming to what I felt can be better… I would’ve liked it if the story started out from the Anu’s past, so that it sets the stage. Rather than just putting, “when her enemies murder the one person she truly cares about”, let it play back in her mind at the start as she sits watching over New Delhi. As common as the reason is, the flashback in her mind might have set the tone for her thirst for vengeance. And the show-and-be-shown ceremony felt unnecessary. Glad to have read the book. I enjoyed it, and I look forward to the sequel.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: Tantra
Author: Adi
ISBN: 978-81-908636-2-9
Genre: Fantasy Thriller
Publishers: Apeejay Stya
Price: INR. 195


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The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced, and is not a paid review.

Also for the First Reads challenge at b00k r3vi3ws and Indian Quills at Tales Pensieve.

(March 31st, 2013)