Title- Agniputr ‘When Agni First Spoke’
Author- Bommadevara Sai Chandravadhan / Vadhan
Publisher- Bloomsbusy Publishing India Pvt Ltd
Price- Rs 299
Cover Design- Graficus
This book comes with a lot of promise especially because it is a supernatural fiction book and is published by Bloomsbury. Harry Potter fulfilled those two criteria and we know the rest of the story. The cover design is perfect with a burning house in the background which raises questions instead of uncovering the plot.
The book is about a problem that doesn’t really fall into the normal everyday laws of normalcy. It requires a certain understanding of quantum physics and certain creative liberties (of course!) to finally get acquainted to this villain. The story is of Raghuram Surya who had inherited immense wealth, respect and this ‘problem’ in his ancestral village in Gudem, Andhra Pradesh. Along side Sheila and a motley crew of people like Poti, Eshawar and Kant, our larger than life hero/ anti-hero fights this problem which could end us in a way we wouldn’t even understand.
The book reads like a graphic novel and sometimes like someone’s nightmare. The spooky bits are well done and the imagination of the author is very vivid. It is western fantasy meeting the Indian masala entertainers.
The publishing quality is of course good. Nice, off-white paper, clear font and chapters divided nicely. The book provides for a fast read.
The book is not without its problems though. The first and foremost is editing. It is almost 100 pages too long. The adjectives overflow as the author tries to keep the reader abreast with the plot and happenings. Sometimes the adjectives fit and sometimes they make sentences awkward with too many words ending with -ly. Also, the characters do not require the detailing the author has given them. Some of the characters could have been left obscure or better fleshed out via dialogue. The descriptions tend to drag.
The biggest problem aside from all this is that the character of Raghuram Surya has certain inconsistencies and is hard to empathize with. One almost feels like this is a book without a protagonist and none of the characters really stand out. It is also difficult to like any of the male characters in general. The language too is not free flowing. Certain sentences require re-readings.
The book’s appeal lies in its story and I feel it could have been much better at the hands of a better editor. There are minor editing errors like ‘where’ instead of ‘were’ which show poorly on the book. Hope they get corrected in the forthcoming editions.
Three Stars ***