It’s always wonderful to see the passion for writing fiction being developed from a young age, and also to see that passion being transformed into books. Fantasy seems to be the genre that comes up more often than not, and that’s most likely the influence of reading books like Harry Potter. Anusha Subramanian was the first young author I read, and whose writing I loved. I came across another talented youngster through the review of this book given by a friend, and the young author was kind enough to give me a copy of his debut work for review. So let me start off by saying thanks and congratulations on the debut in the world of books.
Appearance of the Krito is the first novel in The Swords of Darkness series.
In a parallel world, Ichiro Umatsuki seems to lead a normal life on Spirit Island, a big island with a huge population and many cities. He and his siblings do well in school, are trained in archery and sword fighting and wolf killing etc. He has friends, and he is bullied too. Nothing indicates that the fate of the world is in his hands until his birthday comes and his parents leave him a gift, and on opening it, his life turns upside down. A letter states that his parents are dead. They were spirit warriors who battled the Evil Soul, and lost. Ichiro and his siblings are thrown into a quest, one they must complete if they are to revive their parents. They are left 4 spirit fruits which give them special powers. They have to train with those powers for a year before beginning the quest to find the other spirit fruits and increase their capabilities before the battle with the Evil Soul. This book starts the quest with the siblings’ visit to find the first spirit fruit and the battle with the guardian of that fruit.
Swarnim’s tale sets the tone for Destined to Die, which is the next in the series (as said at the end of the book). It puts into perspective the aspects and characters of this parallel world we are to be a part of in The Swords of Darkness series. It shows us the strengths and weaknesses of the teenagers, and their adversaries. And with a simple, yet entertaining narration, he also manages to bring the world, with a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, alive. The influence of reading fantasy, and also watching cartoons, is very much noticeable. There are these touches of The Fantastic Four that made me smile. There is pace, there is excitement, and there is a sense of danger for sure. It makes me interested in what is to come from him in the rest of the series.
What I feel Swarnim can look at is editing. The pronunciation of names needn’t be in the narration itself, given that there is an appendix for that. There are places where the same phrase tends to repeat, and words are unnecessarily pluralized, or in the wrong tense. And the narration feels very casually conversational. It kind of dilutes the sense of danger for me. And it felt hurried through. These are small details that go unnoticed in a debut work by a young author, I suppose. Though it doesn’t take away from the whole storyline, it would help the work if it were looked at perhaps.
Overall, this is a debut that makes me eagerly await the sequel from a very talented author.
Title: The Appearance of the Krito
Series: The Swords of Darkness #1
Author: Swarnim Kalbande
Publisher: Partridge / Authorsolutions
Price: INR 199
(24th November 2014)