The Revenge of Kaivalya

This book is something I have wanted to read since a couple of years back. This book was self-published way back in 2011, when the author Sumana Khan used to be one of my closest friends. I met her at a fiction writing contest in 2010 and her encouraging words about my entry really helped me develop confidence in my writing abilities. I fondly remember those few months when I interacted with her and 3-4 other writers about all things writing – when I really felt like a real writer rather than just someone scribbling on one’s blog for time pass. We even planned to do an anthology together. Unfortunately that project was shelved but the idea that was seeded then remained in my mind and is nearing fruition now for me with a different group. I however could not pick up the book then as I was a bit hesitant about online transactions and not having anyone at home to receive mail. But I am happy I was finally able to pick up this book now when it has been taken up for publication by a reputed publishing house.

Coming to the book, it is a genre that is not attempted much by Indian authors – paranormal thriller. The premise of this story in itself does not have much novelty as such but it is the execution that makes this work special. The narration is just immaculate and each character has been etched with care. The descriptions are vivid: the author works on the five senses of the reader and draws the reader into situations being described in the story. I seriously felt as if I was in the jungles of Sakleshpur while reading the story. Another thing I loved about the book was the authentic scent of local Karnataka culture that wafted from almost every page – be it the descriptions of the local cuisine, the locations, flora and fauna or the history. I liked how the story was linked to real events from history. That made it feel more real. Somehow the reader tends to respect an author who has done a bit of research rather than someone who pulls history or mythology out of his posterior.

I do not want to go into too much details of the story for the fear of giving out any spoilers. Of course this is not a cliff hanger whodunit where telling who the killer is will ruin the whole story. But it is more fun discovering events along the way rather than things being revealed before their time by a spoilsport reviewer. Also this story is laid out like a jigsaw puzzle where different seemingly unconnected pieces come together as the story progresses. So I would like to just share my impressions and leave the reader to discover the story.

Characterization is another aspect of the story that is superb. The book has so many characters and each character is so well etched that one can distinctly remember as many as ten characters at the end of the book. This is a big achievement as I have read quite a few books where even one character did not manage to remain with me till the end. However I felt some of the minor characters need not have been etched to that level of detail.

Given that it is a thriller, one can’t miss the aspect of pace. For a 377 page book, it remains quite taut and there is no point at which the reader feels like putting it down or skipping through pages. Something keeps happening all the time to keep the reader’s attention.

I did feel that the plot could have been a bit stronger and the narration a bit scarier. I don’t know if the author meant this book to be a horror. Things get disturbing at times but the reader will definitely not end up wetting his pants. But overall for a first time author, I would say it is a great attempt and way better than most of the books in the Indian market. I would definitely recommend this book to any reader looking for a light read with good language and narration.


jaish_vats said...

I like books where seemingly unrelated pieces finally fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. But I am not a big fan of spooky stories :)

The Fool said...

This s not that spooky also Jaish. I like the jigsaw ones as a writer but as a reader I often get lost unless I feel really strongly about the theme to find out what is happening.

Rachna said...

This sounds pretty interesting and also enjoyed what you had to say about your interaction with the author. I will try and pick this one up. Good review!

The Fool said...

Thanks Rachna. You must pick up this one.

Sundari Venkatraman said...

Great review Karthik. I agree with all the points you have made about the book. Lovely read.

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