This is the fourth book by author Anuja Chandramouli and I’m on track with reading all of them courtesy the author.
And although I have read a few books in past 6 months but couldn’t get back to writing a review for them. The last review posted was also for the same author’s previous book “Shakti the divine feminine“.
Readers who have read my earlier reviews of the author’s work knows what my impression of author’s work is and which league of authors does I compare her with.
My review of her work is never in comparison with the Nagarkar’s and Shenoy’s of Indian new gen authors.
So the following review could be termed or interpreted as harsh but let me say that it I don’t mean to take anything away from the writing prowess of the author.
★★★ (3 out of 5)
The story begins where all hell has broken loose (literally) . The different inhabitants of hell governed by Yama are loose and want to create havoc on earth teaming up with Naganara, a necromancer. Joining him in his devious plans are hatakas and narakmayas.
The protagonist Agni Prakash who is trying to cope up with life after the death of his twin sister Varu is chosen by a silvery goddess to fight this devious plan as Yama’s lieutenant.
He gets the help of Yama’s danda, the power of fire and also the help of a woman with magical powers. His quest takes him to goddess Ganga where he asks for the girl who is to be Yama’s consort.
on the other hand, another plot written by Varu about a dysfunctional family of Yama and Yami continues.
How Agni (aided by others like Taravarsha, Minothi, etc.) help avoid the destruction and does he understands the manuscript left by his twin sister is depicted in the remaining book.
What I Think
First things first, the things that I dislike about this book:
- The cover image: – Could have done much better. The protagonist looks like an animated character. I would have never picked up this book from a bookstall with this cover image and title.
- The book title:- Again “Yama’s lieutenant” seriously?
- The protagonist:- Oh boy, Agni Prakash sounds like a name from 90s Hindi novels. At no point in the book, he was portrayed in a stronger light. Heroes are flawed and messed up, I get that but there should be some element of heroism to the character, some level of charisma, which is totally absent.
- The character names:- Some of them are difficult to even pronounce forget remembering them. Try some of these hatakas, Minothi, arakshas, Dharami,Ananthamma, Yatupava and more. By the end of the book I could only remember the names of a very few characters.
- The complicated and unnecessary usage of words to adorn the writing (examples: “When runaway emotions spewed forth like a bout of virulent diarrhoea..“, “..he was so myopic that he would have trouble finding his own butthole with both hands behind his back.” and more like this). A similar note I mentioned for her previous book as well.
Now you might be getting the impression that if so much is wrong why even 3 stars?
What I really like about the book is the author’s courage to take a plunge into writing a story so different and daring to be different than her earlier works. I always thought she would do good if she tries a different genre then mythology and although this is not a different genre altogether but it’s a pretty good attempt at fiction.
When you read it, you shall get a feeling that she is trying to create some sort of a Harry Potter work which remains with the audience and in Agni Prakash, she is trying to create a hero with whom she can write a series (which however I do not agree with).
It takes a master to understand the intricacies of mythology, build characters and weave a story around it. And that, the author has done remarkably well. There really is a story (if you like the blood and gore or not that’s different) and a decent one too. And where the book began between the love and connection of twins, Agni and Varu was actually quite nice.
There are also a few chapters or scenes such as about Sivagami Math which are good in pieces.
The idea of the book is so powerful, the author has all the arsenals and talent to write a great story. When I sit and think after finishing this book I strongly feel this book could have been a game changer in the fiction world, if handled better.
Often writers do a mistake of telling the story they want to tell in the manner they want to tell without stopping and thinking for a while that are the readers getting the story in the same spirit as they want to tell it.
And this is what I think the undoing of this book is.
However, I recommend you give it a try and see for yourself if Yama’s Lieutenant tastes right to you.