I had read magical women earlier this year, that was edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. One of my favourite stories from this collection of beautiful stories about fierce women was also by her. So when I spotted this book in Crossword, one of the bookstores in Pune, I knew I had to buy it! I mean look at the cover, it was almost as if I had been bewitched by that beautiful and dark natured Yakshi myself!
In short, the story revolves around four major characters – Hera, the evil queen of Atara, Ardra, the Yakshi who is central to the storyline, Dara, the unbelievably handsome monster slayer who has secrets of his own, and Dwai, the human who is immune to Yakshi magic and is looking for answers of his own.
I was drawn into the story from the first page, and luckily, had a holiday in between so I could immerse myself completely in the story and finish it within a day! It is so good, the way the author adds in all the different twists, the way she tantalises is readers with little snippets of secrets, but never gives us the whole story, until towards the end of the book. I felt like a Yakshi myself, reading this book, because I was lusting for more secrets. My desire to know the past and the future of these characters had been tremendous! I loved the author’s writing style – so simple and yet so elegant and spooky.
I’m not sure if there are any sequels planned for this book. But the amount of world building provided in the book seemed just about right for a one-book story. Beautiful descriptions of Aakasha, and eerie descriptions of the passage on the river of death and Atala, made me wish to see an artist’s illustrations of these😊
I was also impressed by how the author has twisted stereotype roles by making the heroine the hero, by drawing a thin line between monsters and Gods. This was a story where the monster was a hero and that was such a refreshing concept for me. My favourite characters were the shadow creature and Morana, although they have small roles in the story. You’ll know who they are when you read the book 😉 But I would’ve liked to read about Dwai a little more, about his past and his character, since he felt a little neglected towards the end – minor complaint 😁
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it to readers who are looking for a single-book fantasy story that will hold their attention, a story inspired by Indian mythological characters 😊
Questions to you guys:
Which Indian author do you think writes good fantasy today, that I should check out?
Do you prefer books with gray characters? Which is your favourite book which had a morally gray character that you actually rooted for?