There’s a girl sitting at the edge of a building with a blood-stained dagger in her hand, on the cover of the book. A vampire Hunter Anu Aggarwal. She comes from NYC to New Delhi to avenge the death of her boyfriend, Brian. Interesting premise, yes? NO, very big one that, here’s a review of Tantra by Adi.
In this long-winding tale where the author has elaborated on the unwanted bits and many questions have been left unanswered. How was Anu chosen to fight vampires, where does she get her super-human strength? There is an obscure reference to her getting drugs as a child, but only that. Who is she falling in love with? The friend and co-vampire hunter Amit or the pops-in-and-out-but-does-nothing Gaurav? There are some people who guide her throughout the book, to fight the villain Baba seneka, who kills innocent children in the city, and no one else spots the connection between kidnapped/killed children and him except them.
Ok back to where we started: heroine comes to New Delhi. Does she start off finding the killer? No. Instead she tries to fit into Indian culture, agrees to meet prospective grooms, hangs out in Posh clubs for no apparent reason and forms alliances with the very Vampires, whom she was recruited to kill as part of job responsibility and all!! The saint baba Senaka could potentially bring down the entire city with the energy he has channeled. Our heroine has to save the city from him, with the help of mildly (or majorly) grey characters (see before). How she manages to do that forms the rest of the story.
As the title suggests, the majority of the book is based upon Tantra which is a mechanism to channel your energy to make certain things happen –Mind over matter. Some explanations provided for certain mythological occurrences were interesting; but apart from that it mostly was too much hocus-pocus, in the words of the narrator herself. Certain ridiculous scenes with a vampire entering a temple to die – that too our heroine knows that he has entered the temple because he has left his shoes outside. Hello? Even if targeted for young-adults, aren’t the ant-elephant jokes stale already?
The reader is left in the dark about the fate of most of the characters introduced – the cousin Smiti, the Vampire Chandra, and in the end does not even think about finding who killed Brian. Perhaps the author plans to write a sequel, but in that case at least this book should’ve been left in a cliffhanger so that we go back and read the sequel if ever there is one.
This is nit-picking, but the editing was such a major irritant – so many grammatical and other errors creep up. Even the very first line of the book says pleather, instead of leather. The cover heroine holds a dagger; however in the book she uses stakes – no reference to a dagger anywhere!
As a first-time author, Adi has tried to introduce a new genre to Indian Fiction, but somewhere lost in its multiple plot-lines and the end result can DEFINITELY BE SKIPPED.