The expectation about a book is different when it comes to books in a series. The second book is judged by the quality of the first. If the first was up to the mark, the expectation from the second is that it’ll be equally as good if not better. If the first was below par, the expectation from the second is that it addresses the flaws of the first while making sure it is up to the mark.
The first book in the Saga of Agni was one of my favorite reads, and the first from this publishing house that I had read. The sequel taking two years kind of makes this read almost standalone, because the plot and characters of the first were beginning to fade away. It helped that there was a recap, but would’ve been brilliant if it had come a little sooner.
Let me try to give you a brief idea of the book. It happens in two kingdoms, Land of the Rising Sun (LRS) and Land of the Setting Sun (LSS). We pick up from the prequel, and join Agni and Vrish on their quest to cross from the former into the latter. Agni is still haunted by the loss of the girl he loved, Vrish’s sister Malini. Yani, son of King Adhirath is trying to understand his own past. On another side, there’s the Princess of Leu, Lysandra and her battles, both for Leu and to prevent her uncle’s elder son Demetrius from taking the throne.
I stick with what I said in my review of the first book. One of the strongest points for this book is Arka’s narration. It has just enough in it to traverse the line between plain and magical, which is good for a fantasy. I like the characters and the choice of a courageous princess too. The book does its part to answer some questions which are left open at the end of The Secrets of the Dark. And it does justice to keeping both kingdoms LSS and LRS involved well. Expectedly, with Agni’s quest, most of the action is LSS oriented, but I liked the splits as opposed to that in the first book. On a side note, if the publishers are planning a reprint of the first book, I would definitely recommend they stick to the cover style of this book for that reprint. The cover design of The Rise of the Grey Prince is beautiful, much better than the prequel’s.
On the flipside, I felt the book to be confusing. This, I feel, is because of two reasons. First, as I mentioned earlier, the first book was released two years back, and the scenes have begun to fade. It’d be good if the two books are read back to back. It’ll sit much better than reading this book alone. The second reason is that there are parts where the storyline goes into what feels like a flashback. It’s much unexpected, and leaves me wondering what is happening. The ending is slightly abrupt as well. The list of characters at the end of the book could’ve been fully done, rather than give only the characters newly introduced. It’d help a new reader know a bit more of each character. And I’d definitely say the book can be edited much better.
Read the story for the story, forgetting to notice the small details, and you’ll enjoy it. I’d say, in all honesty, that the caliber of the book has dropped down a notch from the first book, so I hope the third one in the series brings a wonderful conclusion. And I hope, for the ease of the readers too, that it comes sooner than two years down the line.
|Title: Rise of the Grey Prince||Series: The Saga of Agni #2|
|Author(s): Arka Chakrabarti||Genre: Fantasy|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9789382665311||Publisher: Srishti Publishers|
|No. of Pages: 230||Price: Rs. 150|
(© 14th March 2015)