The Wordkeepers by Jash Sen is the first book of the wordkeepers trilogy, a fantasy story set in the year 2028.
Anya, a fourteen year old who leads a carefree and mundane life in Bangalore, suddenly find herself thrown into the midst of a quest. Her mother is abducted and the being who appears to be her father is not really her father. She follows the instructions left by her mother in search of Kalki. The immortal warrior, Ashwatthama or the Rakshak helps her in this quest.
Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Bilal, another fourteen year old, whose father is a Muslim and mother a pahari-converted-muslim, finds that he has certain powers that none has. Though he doesn’t want to accept suggestions that he is the saviour who will triumph over the evil, he finds himself forced to accept it when he finds his close friend killed due to mistaken identity.
Tanya (and in turn Anya) is part of the ten wordkeepers who protect the Kalki from Kali. They possess a red stone for identification. Kali, who lives in the Vishasha or the red planet, wants to destroy the wordkeepers and get possession of their redstones. To aid him, he has the twins Kokh and Vikokh and the Secret Council of 12 members with special skills.
The adventurous journey of Anya leads her to many places and brings her new experiences. She meets Dhoomavati and Prince Zohrab; She disguises as a boy; She meets a long-separated sibling; She listens to fancy stories.
Does she succeed in her mission to find her mother? Does Kali manage to destroy all the wordkeepers and seize their red stones? Who is Bilal? Does Ashwatthama get relieved of his curse? On whose side is Dhoomavati? What is strange about Prince Zohrab’s toes?
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- Inspite of the numerous characters that are typical of a fantasy plus mythology story, the clarity in the narration struck me as very impressive.
- The characterization of Anya, the protagonist is remarkable. I am personally happy to see a female protagonist in a fantasy story.
- A neatly tied up plot without any loose ends for a story which mixes facts and fiction liberally. Only the pertinent questions remain to take us to the next part of the trilogy.
- The design of the cover deserves special mention. It surely gives an eerie quality and aptly contributes to the watching eyes “with the green iris and sandy eyelashes” description that appears through the book.
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- Except for two instances – when Anya wants to turn down the smell of the TV and when Anya operates her phone with voice – the author has not shown any difference in the world in 2028 from now. One would expect more considering the giant leap in technology we have made in the past 14 years.
Easy and racy read!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.