What makes a book successful? Is it the content? Is it aggressive marketing? Spreading the word? A favorable recommendation on social networking sites? A little bit of all these, I would say.
I made a mental note to myself to read Tantra by Adi after a friend recommended it on Twitter. Besides, the book shop I often go to had this book prominently on display. The third factor was the pricing. It was reasonably priced at Rs.195/-. If I discovered after reading that the book did not match up to my expectations, I would feel thankful I did not spend too much money on it.
As I found out, I had nothing to fear. The book works beautifully.
Anu Aggarwal is an ace ‘guardian’ of New York City. Guardians are people who fight vampires. Her boyfriend, Brian, has been killed by some vampires. It is clearly an act of revenge on her. The clues to their whereabouts point to New Delhi. She opts for a transfer and comes to New Delhi with a private agenda of finding Brian’s killers.
She finds Delhi very different from what she had expected. Her ace skills are often found wanting. For one thing, in New Delhi it is not the vampires that are the number one menace. It is a deeper, darker cult, that is behind kidnapping and killing of little children. She is up against dark powers that may just be beyond her capabilities.
The social life in India is also something she needs to get used to. Her aunt thinks she is a lawyer who works for an NGO. Like a typical Indian aunt, she is keen to get Anu married, and starts matchmaking. She feels a disconnect with her childhood friend Smiti, who is overly obsessed with her love life. Anu’s counterpart in Delhi, Amit, is half-hearted about his job as a vampire hunter, he seems more inclined towards normal life.
Very early on, she has a run-in with Chandra, the chief Vampire of Delhi. All the knowledge that she has accumulated so far, about vampires and men, get a knock. She has a lot to learn, she finds.
Gradually she finds her heart yearning for this ……. (add)
The story is told in a clear, uncluttered style, and you settle down comfortably to reading it with ease, taking things as they come. For once, I found myself NOT jumping ahead or trying to guess who the good and the bad guys were.
The USP of the book lies in its fast paced action, and there is plenty of it. There are chases, fights and hand to hand combats. These are described with conviction, and keep you glued to the pages.
We have plenty of books set in Mumbai, not so many in Delhi. It is good to read about the characters moving around in Greater Kailash, Vasant Kunj, Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Metro Station and auto-rickshaw rides.
There are so many likeable characters here. Amit, Anu’s Delhi counterpart. He is funny and sweet, and often critical, but always supportive. Chandra, the chief Vampire of Delhi, is so not Edward Cullen. He is much more of a man, full of dark knowledge. And there is Nina, Anu’s slightly interfering but affectionate aunt.
There is precious little information about the author on the book covers. He has studied in Stanford and Harvard, and has written a poetry book and a minor textbook. He prefers to go by the name Adi.
Adi has piqued our interest by this book. As the book ends, it is clear that a sequel is in the offing. There is no doubt in my mind that I will pick up the next in the series.
This book is published by Apeejay Stya Publishing. They have done a good job of producing this book at a low cost. It has an interesting cover as well.