About the book:
Name of the book- Tantra
Publisher- Apeejay Stya
Price- INR 195
About the author-
Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under covers, pretending to be asleep and gives more credit for his successes in life to those late night reading habits than the high school academics. Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he couldn't help picking this topic for his first novel Tantra.
About the cover and back-cover-
Tantra has a decent cover for a thriller; it promises a strong, exciting protagonist which is even more emphasized in the back cover. A no-nonsense, leather wearing, female Vampire hunter as the protagonist in an Indian thriller is something that would definitely bind your interest.
Anu, the Vampire hunter, gets her guardian post transferred from New York to Delhi for avenging the murder of her lover Brian. As she searches the streets of Delhi in vain for a stray vampire, she meets Amit, her colleague and local guardian of the place she was yet to make her own.
In an encounter with a Vampire Misra who turns out to be a child abductor. As the story proceeds, many questions needing an answer pop up- like the shady relation of the center, especially that of Suresh with vampires and the absolute shortage of guardians in the city.
Meanwhile, the family life of Anu is shown as well- her aunt Nina who is your typical Indian aunt obsessed with getting her sibling's kids married and keeps on forcing Anu to meet good matches which she tries to evade desperately. There there is Anu's childhood friend Smiti whom she tries to avoid but fails.
The mystery of disappearing children continues and it becomes evident that it was an issue that has gruesome connections than just a wayward vampire intent on sucking the blood of children. Enter the villain Baba Senaka, who is a goody two shoes preacher with a devoted fan following.
Things become darker and Anu's quest becomes something totally unknown to her and that has every possibility of putting the entire world in danger,her loved ones specially. Other characters like Pandit Grover, Dr Sharma and the mysterious Vamp Panch Chandra join the fray to help our heroine save the world from the disaster.
My views on the story-
Tantra is a thriller that took its time in picking up its pace. The first half of the book revolves in circles, as if unsure on which thread to follow till it decides upon the Baba Senaka bent on destroying the world with his Tantra from where the story gets interesting.
Tantra has a good protagonist. The fighting sequences, the encounter with Chandra on the rooftop, killing of Misra was very well executed and it makes you want to see more of Anu. Amit is a well defined character as well, though his part in the end fight could have been more elaborate.
I felt as if some conversations in the story were a bit halted; there was a feeling that they dont blend in with the situation. A few characters and instances felt out of place and unnecessary as well. The back-cover promises a heart racing chemistry between Anu and some 'sexy stranger' but that I felt was lacking in the story.
A lot of things were demanding details, like the about Brian's killing because if vengeance was Anu's motive for coming to Delhi, then the story has nothing of that sorts in print. But then, since a sequel is promised, I guess that part might be saved for it :D
Another part that needed explaining was Suresh's association with vampires which was hinted but wasn't elaborated upon.
Apart from that, Tantra is a decent read. It does deliver a good thriller, despite the slow start and the residual doubts. Some parts are excellently narrated, the tea sessions and Anu's efforts to master the Astra were a delightful read.
The ending especially comes as a exciting surprise and I would definitely wait for the sequel and to see more of Anu.
Overall I rate this book a 6.5/10. If you are bored with all the romantic flood in the bookshops and feel like trying something new, Tantra is the book for you!