Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer.
In India, she finds more than she expected. For one thing, her fellow operatives have made a truce with the vampires. For another, it’s way too hot to wear leather.
At first, it seems Anu’s biggest challenge will be evading the nice boys her aunt wants her to marry. But when children start disappearing, she discovers forces older and darker than anything she’s faced before. All of Delhi is in danger, especially the sexy stranger who sets Anu’s pulse racing.
To prepare for the coming battle, Anu must overcome her personal demons and put aside years of training. This time, her most powerful weapon will come from her mind, not her weapons belt.
As I glanced the blurb, I was not too impressed since fantasy/vampire thrillers are genres I mostly stay away from. It is futile to explain why they fail to arouse the core column of interest inside me. Perhaps I like being grounded to reality through the books I savour as well. Nonetheless, I chose to read the book solely to review it. And I have to admit, I am impressed indeed. Owing the ‘vampire’ and ‘vengeance’ mentioned on the blurb, readers would tend to assume such in the initial chapters but the plot unfolds gradually.
The protagonist Anu Aggarwal is portrayed as a no-nonsense professional guardian, who despite of being utterly professional gets emotionally involved in her profession for reasons personal. I liked the idea of the heroine being the so-called ‘coconut-type’, putting on a stern persona but having a perfectly sensible and emotional interior. She is shown as a skillful vampire-hunter with no mercy for the bloody creatures. Having confessed that I haven’t read a single vampire thriller till date, or watched the popular series of vampire movies, I certainly felt clueless about the techniques of fights and jargon used. I wish the author would have explained the background to some extent as to why or how Anu became a guardian, and how do her likes take down vampires. Little episodes about how Anu tries to cope with the Delhi culture, her doting aunt, relatives and the process of arranged marriage are well sketched to grasp the readers’ interest. Few of them are hilarious and reflect the show-off traditions of upscale Delhites.
However, these are sidetracked when the main plot takes over eventually, and there comes the tantra. Being India’s first ‘tantric thriller’, I had expected the author to elaborate briefly (oxymoron!) about tantra, sattva and the likes. The theories and jargon would cater to most Indian readers but international ones might find it difficult being thrown into a pool of tantra practices all of a sudden. The bits already explained in the book are done well, thus raising the bar for the author. The other characters in the book provide ample support to Anu in her fight towards justice. Romance is there too somewhere, on your face some times. The author tried to create perfect balance of romance and work for the guardian, lest she is distracted only by prospects of romance.
I’m not a big fan of tantra and stuff. Still ignoring that, the climax seemed a tad amateurish – reminiscent of my childhood television epic Mahabharat where arrows and missiles collided mid-air and self-annihilated. It could have been better, in my humble opinion. Overall, the author has been able to captivate his readers with the plot and lucid writing. There are no major twists or turns, but the story line is pacy. Despite a few typos, it is worth reading at least once and if you fall in the category of the author’s target readers who love the vampire-vengeance-tantric rituals-spiritual-thriller, you are in for more.
The anti-climax suggested more books in this series until I reached the last page which said the author’s website has clues to the next book. So there is a series coming, and I guess I would look forward to reading the next ones despite the theme being tantra or ‘Indian voodoo’ as it is termed.
P.S. – Oh, and I loved the idea of adding a bookmark depicting the cover image. Wish more books did the same!
My Rating: 3.75/5
About the Author:
Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under the covers, pretending to be asleep. While it would certainly affect his academic life the next day, he did go on to get degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University, so it was not all that bad.
Somewhere along the line, a poetry book and a minor textbook were published. He wishes he could withdraw all copies of said poetry book from the market. At the time, it was poignant, but now it is just embarrassing.
He’s always given more credit for his successes in life to those late-night reading habits of years ago than to the high-school academics he trudged through, and he yearned to write one of those books himself.
Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he could not help but pick this topic for his first novel.
Language: English, Author(s): Adi
Publisher: Apeejay Stya Publishing, Year Published: 2013
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 344
ISBN-13: 9788190863629 , ISBN-10: 8190863622
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This review is also shared with the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at The Tales Pensieve.