In the recent years Indian literature has been introduced to various new genres; but a ‘vampire’ book in India is something that I haven’t really seen.
Adi gifts Indian literature a new age vampire story, but the how well he does it is where the question lies.
Tantra takes us on a journey through the various ‘dark’ arts of India, demons, evil sadhus and ofcourse vampires.
The story is about Anu Aggarwal, a girl from New York comes to India. Apparently she is a vampire hunter, looking for the killer of her boyfriend.
Adi has vividly described the streets of New Delhi and its nightlife, peppered with a few paranormal activities here and there, adds to the book.
The Indian vampires are also described in detail, giving them a cool new age appearance as well as the element of fear that the blood sucking creatures deserve. But vampires of our country seems more diplomatic in nature rather than vicious war loving being!
The story is quite fast paced though sometimes a too vivid description of almost everything bears it down.
Also a subplot has been included by the author, which might be aimed for some comic relief but turned out to be very unsatisfactory. It is all about Anu’s aunt’s match making hassle. This often got in the way of the main narrative.
The author, throughout the book has brilliantly used the rich Indian mythology. From tantras and bramhastras to the concept of maya, Adi did not leave any stones unturned when it came down to using the Indian mythology. The book though is free from grammatical errors and typos, thus full marks on editing.
Even with all these great attributes the book failed did disappoint at many occasions.
Most of the characters lack a back story. The readers are mostly kept into the dark even about the protagonist. How she gains her almost super human abilities, how did she become a vampire hunter? How Anu managed to sneak her weapons from NYC to New Delhi? Even it is unclear about who killed Anu’s boyfriend.
The characters in the story could have been drawn in a much better way. Some of the important characters like Gaurav and Amit could definitely have been made better. Then there are loose ends and loop holes.
Whether or not the author plans to launch a sequel is unclear, but if he does he could have left something substantial for the sequel and if he doesn’t he should have tied all the loose ends in this book itself.
Overall I seem to have a very mixed feeling about this book. The idea is original. Eastern concepts merged well with western ideas. For a debut author it is really a notable endeavor. The book “Tantra” by Adi can serve as a light reading for those interested in vampires, myths and magic, and also from a crime/mystery thriller point of view, the book is worth giving a try.