Book Review: Dark Things
Fantasy fiction, a scarcely explored genre in Indian writing in English; not a genre that Indian readers will pick up easily to experiment for we are badly burnt by the incredibly out-worldly and impossibly illogical stories we are fed on our television, all in the name of fantasy. When Dark Things arrived from Hachette for review and the moment I saw ‘Fiction/ Fantasy’ on its back cover, my shoulders slumped. Being a blue blooded Indian reader, I have absolutely no confidence in the fantasizing abilities of Indian writers. Did Dark Things manage to change the opinion?
Well, let me just say that the novel is 353 pages of teleportation to Atala, Aakasha and Prithivi, ofcourse while being on Prithivi.
Dark Things traces the story of Ardra – a yakshi created by the mysterious, conniving and dark queen – Hera. To seduce humans and steal all their secrets while kissing out their life force is what Ardra was created for. She was created to be a monster without a heart. But her chosen victim, on that blood moon night – Dwai survives her bewitchment. Her mistress, who always knows when she has secrets, does not turn up to retrieve the secrets from her. Then there is the enigmatic Dara, the monster slayer who kills every yakshi he can find but spares Ardra. But stalks her thereafter. Atleast she believes that he does.
With her failure to bewitch Dwai, Ardra’s world starts falling apart and questions start appearing to her. How did a mere mortal withstand a yakshi’s bewitchment? Why did the monster slayer let her go? Why did her mistress never meet her on blood moon nights? What monster was locked away in the tower wing of the palace of Atala and why did it affect Ardra so much? What dark magic were Hera and her old witch up to? Questions that readers seeks answers to as they plunge into the tale.
Sukanya Venkatraghavan is an Indian author and yes, she can write fantasy boy! In Dark Things she weaves a tale that is pregnant with imagination and details, fills every gaping hole Ardra’s world poses and holds the reader’s attention. The story moves at a steady pace, answering or posing questions as it moves. In 353 pages, the author has managed to create a world as well as engage the reader on the ride. And it is a ride worth going on.
Venkatraghavan hooks the reader within the first chapter and the clutch is released only on page 353. It is well fantasized and well expressed between the pages. Brownie points to Asma Kazi for the gorgeous cover. It stands out.
Not a masterpiece but pick up the book on a weekend; it’s a breeze. If you enjoy fantasy, this will thrill the reader in you.
Read the reviews of other books rated 4 stars by Team TP HERE
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