Book Review: Labyrinth

labyrinthAnthologies are not very rare in the Indian literary market these days, and yet there are few which can be counted into good ones. Litizen is a virtual platform for writers and it has come up with an interesting anthology, unrestricted to the bounds of genre. There’s gaming, ghosts, paranormal activities, beautiful con artists at job and a little magic to spice up our lives. While the stories are uneven and unequally woven, each one has a different flavour and chill. It is unfair to write them all into one; hence I’ll try to do justice to each of the 15 stories here.

Mainak Dhar’s The Martyr begins with a promise, is marred a little by typos and errors with an interesting premise and ends with a predictable climax. A little editing would have done a much better job. Aditi Chincholi’s Puppet Show is magical and spine chilling simultaneously. It is a well-crafted story with the correct twists and turns to keep you hooked till the end. Rishabh Chaturvedi, the founder of Litizen has tried his hands at fiction too. Begheera Log Huts would feature into supernatural and forest fiction clubbed into one. While the forest scenes were worth enough, the story is tad too long and gets boring midway. Shawn Pereira’s I’ll Be Back deals with a complex subject – Astral Projection. It is futile describing the details of the subject here, as it was in Shawn’s story. Too short to be classified as a short story, it began well and held my interest till an abrupt climax. Longer would have been better, is all I can say. Sym World by Aditi Chincholi is probably the longest story in this book, at 25 pages and long narrations. The plot was interesting, but it is too long to keep you glued till the end. Mortified by Jeevan Verma has a nice dose of humour laced with the Indian essence, short and delightful till the lees.

Crashing Impacts by Richard Fernandes is a poignant tale of love and hate, just like they are two sides of the same coin. It is impactful, strong and steady. Rishabh Chaturvedi’s The Night of the Wokambee disappoints at the expense of being funny. Mists of Time by Niharika Puri is easily one of the best in this lot. The intricate human relationships and their meshes become quite clear in the light of this story. Candies by Rohit Das is short, sweet and predictable. I felt the end came a little too soon though. Travel through the Night by Rishabh Chaturvedi, sadly seems a repetition of his earlier ones. When the flavours are similar in three different dishes, they tend to taste same and boring. Russkaya Rulyetka by Shawn Pereira compensates for the earlier tiny story by him. Thorough and succinct, it captures the reader throughout. Abhishek Dwivedi’s A Day of Battle is history and the epic Mahabharata recycled into something we would all understand. Farming on Facebook by Sushant Dharwadkar harps on the bitter reality that we all are aware of, but tend to neglect all the time. Written in simple words, it helps you face the real, bad world.

In a gist, I liked most of the stories and Labyrinth is more than a decent effort in the world of Anthologies. It has the right flavours and most of the dishes are cooked well, served on an exciting platter.

Title: Labyrinth – Short Stories
Author(s)Mainak Dhar, Aditi Chincholi, Rishabh Chaturvedi, Shawn Pereira, Jeevan Verma, Richard Fernandes, Niharika Puri, Rohit Das, Abhishek Dwivedi, Sushant Dharwadkar
Publisher/ Imprint: Litizen.com
Pages: 220
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Anthology/ Short Stories
Rating: 4.00 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

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