Did you know that a Vampire hunter is also called a Guardian? Did you know there were Vampires in our very own New Delhi? Th latest book I read, Tantra, seems to tell me so… and a lot more. The back cover of the book suggests that Anu Aggarwal is a no-nonsense guardian and is out to seek vengeance for her lover’s murder. To be honest, Tantra by Adi is the first ever Vampire story that I have been able to put myself through, not because have an affinity for the modern day suave Vampires but more so because the book focuses on a lot more than just Vampires and guardians.
The back cover does little justice to the content of the book but when it comes to surprises, I can assure you damned well, that there are many between the lines. Though Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves and the Undead are not something that can be swallowed when followed by an Indian address, but I somehow managed to read till the end of it. If I can, so could you; isn’t it?
This is a story of an Indian Vampire hunter, Anu Aggarwal who comes to New Delhi from New York in search of the vampires who killed her boyfriend. Anu finds herself in a situation quite different from New York. Not only have the Indian hunters and guardians reached a truce with the Vampires but the only other guardian hunter in Delhi appears to be an obnoxious fellow who barely likes his job. Problems begin when Anu kills her first Vampire in India only to discover that Vampires are preying on children.
The real problem is when she finds out that it is not the Vampire panchayat who is controlling the blood-suckers but a Baba Senaka who is using Tantra to gain supernatural powers by sacrificing children. She uses Sattvic method as opposed to Tantric to fight the wrath of the uncontrolled chain reaction of Tantra and what lies ahead of her is pure mayhem. Numerous sub-plots keep you afloat all the while, yet ‘Tantra’ is the soul of the story.
Adi makes an honest effort with this supernatural thriller. For someone like me, who has never been interested in Twilight or Vampire Diaries, a face-off with Vampires was a first. Though Adi omits some necessary details for first time Vampire-hunter-readers like me (like what is the Shift and how it works) but manages to pull of something unique. Though the first 50 odd pages that are meant to set a tone are a little hard to tolerate but the story just gets better with the introduction of Tantra and once Adi has you in his cobweb, it hard to let go until you reach the back cover.
The situations, if I may warn you, are purely fictional and you have to take everything on its face value. Anu’s character is well written and so is that of Dr. Sharma. Baba Senaka is touted as the Mogambo like figure with a mysterious aura and lives up to all the expectations you would have from him. . The sub-plot about her aunt trying to get her married to an arranged apt groom is realistic, but in a thriller, it seems a little stretched unless she uses her Sattvic Vidya there. Where Adi falters is, I feel, in giving a decisive end to Anu’s quest for her ex-boyfriend’s killers; that being the only sub-plot where Adi fails to impress. Packed with surprises and a very deep understanding of Sattvic and Tantric forms of tapasya, Adi delivers a story packed with enough drama to not regret having spent your money on this book
Recommended? Yes. To be read in one sitting? No, most definitely not.
My Rating: 3/5
Had the first fifty pages been better, the rating would have definitely escalated.