Book Review: The Tantric Curse
On an amavasya night, a night without the light of the moon, an eight year old girl walks into Saktidham, a sadhanasthal, a place where pujas are conducted. To most people, it would have seemed like Rhea had lost her way and ended up there. But Satya knows that her arrival is not a mistake, it’s more like a homecoming. She has lost her parents, and in Satya and Krishnam, she finds a new family. She is admitted to the same school Krishnam goes to, and in due course, she becomes a part of her new home. When Krishnam goes away, Rhea finds it hard to accept the distance. The distance, however, increases the love between the two. The lineage of tantra has been cursed, as Satya knows. But Rhea is the first and only woman in the lineage. Could that change the curse? Or will the curse claim Rhea as a victim too?
Though there are characters like Krishnam and Satya who are given prominence, the novel mainly has one protagonist. That character is Rhea. The author tackles the character of Rhea very well. She is portrayed first as someone who could see the future in her dreams. Whereas these dreams would rattle most people, Rhea, all of eight years old, is portrayed as calm and accepting of the paths that fate (or destiny), takes her on. Through the novel, we see the little girl grow up. The process of growing up is portrayed in detail, as is her encounter with tantra, and her lessons at the sadhanasthal. The emotions she goes through are also given due importance. The crush she seems to have on Krishnam is shown, rather than told.
Though the parts after the introduction of Dr. Vishnukant felt out of place. Talking of character sketches Krishnam’s character is secondary. He weaves in and out of the storyline during the first half of the book, is absent for most of the second half before reappearing. Other characters like Neel, Satya and friends of Rhea are also not dealt with in much detail.
I like it when the storyline keeps the pages turning quickly. The pace of the narration in this novel though seemed to waver. At times, it held me with its narration for long periods of time. After some time, it began to drag.
The tantra aspect of the book was something very different from what I had thought it would be. It was a mix of science and spirituality, rather than an excess of the latter. Tantrics too were shown in a different light; as normal people with a gift. Perhaps that was intentional, perhaps it was not. I would have liked it if the aspect of tantra was taken more head on. Without that, it seemed more like the story of Krishnam and Rhea rather than of tantra.
I feel that The Tantric Curse is a decent novel. It is narrated in a simple language and keeps the pages turning, even though the pace wavers. It has an interesting cover design, and I couldn’t see any editing mistakes that stood out. It is something that I might read again.
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