October 24, 2013 by thejalebichronicles
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Genre: Fantasy Fiction
India’s literary scene is booming these days, and authors are rushing to stand at the front of the queue to gain notice. With the release of the Shiva trilogy by Amit Tripathi, the fantasy genre is picking up and Ritu Lalit is one author who, with her book Chakra aims to expand the availability of the much sought after genre for the Indian populace. But what does the novel have in store for bookworms across the country, and does it meet the expectations set by Lalit’s difficult choice of genre?
What I Liked
Chakra is well researched and delves into the powerful world of Japas and Japnis, a magical society that can mould and control the five elements, with each of the five Japa clans holding sway over one of them. Lalit brings mythology to life, throwing into focus the many misogynistic feelings that infiltrate the clans and India at large with her matter of fact narrative style and eloquent simplicity. Her straightforward style of writing would attract any reader to her work and makes concepts easier to understand. The sarcastic humour laced throughout the plot makes the reader smile. It also helps bring to the fore the natural ironies of the characters’ lives: the continuance of an ancient order ridden with inner conflict set in a modern and changeable world. The plot remains well explained and clear and the book closes on a happy note, with the possibility of a sequel glimmering on the horizon.
What I Didn’t Like
Lalit writes as if she is addressing children: with excessive repetition and simplicity. With the exposition scene in the first chapter, she barrages the reader with a vast number of characters, names and associations that are hard to understand and harder still to differentiate between. Crudeness is infused into the novel at random moments and some of her characters including her protagonists, Parineeta and Sumaira Mohan seem almost plastic: with no faults and almost too perfect to be tangible. No character detail is delved into because of the sheer number of people residing within the pages of the novel.
We’re Left With…
Lalit’s bold attempt to join the fantasy fiction foray cannot go unappreciated. However, the book does not meet all its expectations in terms of style, quality and class. Nevertheless, it still manages to install itself in the staple for hard-core fiction addicts. It remains debatable how much the rest of the bibliophile community will accept or like the book, however. Worth a read when you grow tired of your classics, Lalit has a long way to go, but seems ready to begin her journey as each page becomes better crafted than the previous one.
– Alaric Moras