Sunday, May 4, 2014

Blog Tour: THE REVENGE OF KAIVALYA by Sumana Khan

My Review

It’s about three and a half decades since I read a book belonging to the horror genre. I read The Exorcist and The Omen in the past and they kind of maimed me for life. I used to be fascinated by horror stories but not after those two. I even feared my own shadow for a long time. 

I don’t quite know what came over me when I decided to review The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan. I was fascinated with the blurb and said ‘yes’. Do I regret it? Not at all. Read on to find more.

To begin with, I must compliment the author on her flawless language. It was a pleasure reading excellent prose by an Indian author. I can’t say the same of all the books that I have read in the recent past. 

The story begins with the murder of Kencha, who is an expert at tracking animals in the jungles of Karnataka. He’s offered a job with a foreign TV channel when he saves a firang TV journalist’s life after he’s bitten by a snake. Unfortunately for Kencha, he meets a terrible death in the forest.

Young and handsome Dhruv is a forest officer who inspires loyalty in those who work with him. Along with Dr. Bala and Dr. Nithya (husband-wife team of mobile doctors), Dhruv does his best to find out how Kencha was killed. What they uncover is too incredible and terrible for words. 

Neel is the spoilt son of a rich diamond merchant. He wastes his life away living in a grand penthouse by himself. He is visited there by The Shadow that gives him the creeps. VJ is Neel’s best friend, who would not think twice about using his friend to make money. Neel meets Arundhati at the gym and falls for her unaware that she’s married to Ved and has a son to boot. 

When VJ gets to know that Arundhati is filthy rich, he decides to have her son Momo kidnapped for a ransom as he is in urgent need of money. For this, he hires the unscrupulous Matchu who no one has seen. VJ loses courage midway and decides to call off the kidnapping. But will Matchu agree?

Then there is Tara, the 35-year-old para-psychologist. She knows a lot about paranormal activity – theoretically. But can she face a real possession of a spirit?

Shivaranjani is the unfortunate one. Her father’s Indian while her mother’s American. Having grown up in the USA, the young woman arrives in Karnataka to visit her parents-in-law along with her husband Ravikanth. Her holiday turns into hell on earth – so much so that her husband believes that’s she’s all set to take off to the other world. 

Inspector Shakti Rao is a completely fascinating police officer who becomes a police woman by happenstance. How and why you will have to find out when you read the book. 

There are loads more characters in the novel and believe me when I say that the author has penned them so well that there is no question of the reader getting confused or mixing up the people. Each character has a role to play and he/she does it well. 

A thought came to me while I was reading the book – we are horrified of spirits, at least the bad ones. But what about the horrible human beings that roam the earth? I was fascinated by the way Sumana Khan weaves the story of Kaivalya’s ghost from the 16th century and terrible people like Matchu and Paramesha – sketching the way their horrible minds work.

The novel so reminded me of old books of fiction – many Tamil ones that I have read and some English too – where the story takes off at many points into brief tales that make short stories by themselves, like small rivulets going to meet the main river – a fascinating way to write. It does not detract from the main tale in any way, only enhances it. 

What I liked best was the positive way the author has handled the horror fiction and brought about a lovely end that leaves the reader happy and in no way horrified. 

I don’t want to say any more as I fear that I might let out spoilers. The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan is a beautiful tale penned by an excellent author that is a must read if you are interested in peoples’ stories. 

I go with 5 stars for this book. 

Disclaimer: I received The Revenge of Kaivalya from author Sumana Khan in return for my honest review as part of the Blog Tour conducted by The Book Club.

The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

The Blurb

Deep within the womb-like forests of the Western Ghats, an entity manifests itself at the malevolent moment when the ocean rises to devour hundreds of thousands. Kencha, an unwitting witness to Its birth, is soon found dead – his body branded with a strange message written in Halegannada, an ancient version of modern Kannada. Even as Dhruv Kaveriappa, Chief Conservator of Forests - Hassan division investigates Kencha’s death, he senses an unseen danger in the forests of Kukke, Bisle and Sakleshpura. Animals drop dead; plants wither away and just as he feared, the forest claims its first victim. Shivaranjini, on vacation in Sakleshpura, suffers a devastating tonic-clonic seizure moments after she returns from a visit to the forest. Soon, she begins to exhibit a bizarre personality disorder. Perhaps there is an outbreak of an unknown rabies-like disease? Or, as ridiculous as it seems, could it be a case of tantric witchcraft? 

The truth unfolds in a dizzying maelstrom of events - a truth far too terrifying to comprehend

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Meet the author

The Author's Thoughts

In the early stages of my manuscript, I knew the title of my novel had to be the name of the principal character. And it could not be just any name. It had to fit into the storyline - from a time perspective, as well as setting the atmosphere. It had to sound ancient and also define the character. Tall order!

As I read up on the history of Vijayanagara, I hoped to come across a good, strong name...but history, largely, is about men and their wars and conquests. I hoped to select a name from our puranas. But nothing clicked. What about our stotras? Maybe the lalitha sahasranama? Or ashtalakshmi stotra? One evening I sat mulling on 'Kausalya'...thanks to the most famous line 'Kausalya supraja Rama purva sandhya pravarthathe' from the Suprabhata :) I went to bed with that line in my head.

The next morning, somehow, ‘Kausalya’ had transformed to ‘Kaivalya’. I did not remember coming across the name in any of my previous research. Curious, I looked up what ‘Kaivalya’ stood for. And was fascinated.   Read More ........
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  1. Interesting. The number of characters is confusing. I will take your word, that in the story they all stand clear :)

  2. Ah, Suman's book has been on my to read list for a very long time. Horror fiction however is not my fav genre, hence maybe the delay. I must get around to it soon. You've done a very fair review. And yes, I do agree about all those anti social elements that roam the face of this earth. Someday, we will learn to rid ourselves of those ghosts, too.

    1. Hi Cafe Tiara, thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. I am also afraid of the horror genre. But this book is definitely worth a read :)