As a fantasy buff, I mostly read about fantasy world adapted from Celtic and Norse myths. It was delightful to read a fantasy story fabricated from elements of Indian mythology. While Amish Tripathi’s work is a retelling of mythology, Ritu Lalit’s Chakra is a work of pure imagination which she has woven around some of the concepts from Raja Yoga. So in some ways she can be considered a pioneer of this genre and I hope she paves the way for many more authors.
The story is about three girls with magical powers who are part of prophesy. They are caught in a gang war among multiple magical clans. The clans are like different covens of witch craft with their own politics and power struggles. Some clans and individuals want to bring the prophecy to fruition and some want to prevent the same. The girls have to navigate their way through this complex maze of intrigue and survive to the finish while coming to terms with their own powers and their role in the prophecy.
Overall the book makes a really pacy read. There is never a dull moment. Something keeps happening all the time and the entire book can be completed in one sitting. Having read so many stories set in Western locales populated with Western characters, it was a welcome relief to read a thrilling fantasy set in our own country.
Hardcore fantasy buffs may be a bit disappointed because this is more of urban fantasy wherein some fantasy elements are introduced into contemporary world. There is no elaborate world building that is the hall mark of pure blood swords and sorcerer fantasy as such. But that serves as an advantage as well from the point of view of Indian readership. In my opinion, India still does not have a market for full blown fantasy. So a contemporary thriller with some fantasy elements is something that can jell better with Indian readers.
Another thing I felt was that to some extent depth of characterization was sacrificed to accommodate more action. This again I believe was probably done keeping in mind the Indian audience’s preference that can we well gauged from the blockbuster Bollywood movies.
One good thing about this book compared to most other Indian books is the language. The language is of much higher quality compared to most Indian authors. She has also done the descriptions well and one can experience the events in the story through all five senses.
Overall I would say this is a nice and breezy read that I would recommend to every Indian reader. This book is the first in a trilogy and I look forward to its two sequels.