“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory.” – J.R.R Tolkein
Fantasy, I think, is a very tricky genre to write. While one has the creative liberty to build a world of their own, it is important to ensure that one’s reader is on the same page, if not on the exact same word.
As a reader too, one is needed to invest in with an open mind and embrace the absurdity that magic sometimes can feel. The Children of Destruction by Kuber Kaushik comes across as an honest attempt to create a fantastic fantasy novel, but falls short just a little before it crosses the winning line.
About the story
Now, I am going to tell you this as best as I can. The story is about a group of children (sort of the chosen ones, with emphasis on how that isn’t really as cool a thing) are brought together by circumstances to bring a back a book that was stolen by this group called the Black Rangers.
You can read the blurb on Goodreads here. (I strongly recommend you do.)
Now here’s what is confounding about this book. It is a very, very well written story, with good world-building and character sketches. What really stood out for me was that for the protagonists, the author does not launch into elaborate descriptions of how they look and what they wear. Every character is revealed to you eventually and in just enough words that give you a picture but also leave things to your imagination.
There is Alice, who is already confounded and almost frustrated with her identity before she realizes she can do ‘things’. There is Kharsan who is still taking his time to understand that he has a brother who can do ‘things’ and the situation with his father, when he and the said brother need to run away from people who want to kidnap the said brother. The said brother is called Adam, and he is incredibly adorable. There is Violetta, who has inherited a shadow, other than her own, and she calls him Shade. There is Kit, who is a fox when she is not an impeccably dressed, extremely attractive woman.
I’d say, quite an interesting mix of characters.
I should have seen the attack from the shadow-monster coming. It’s been almost two whole days since I was randomly attacked by anything.
The story starts of really well, well enough to get you and keep you out of a reading slump. The dialogues are well-written; some of them are so brilliantly witty and sarcastic.
I loved loved loved Alice and Kharsan who are both so sarcastic and yet so different. These are also the two characters that stay in the forefront more than the others. The pace is good and the story is filled with hooks.
Now here is the disappointing part. The story, so well done in the beginning and with such well written characters, fails to come together in the end. I am not going to elaborate on this more, because that can lead to spoilers, but I am seriously hoping that there is a part 2 that give context to every loose end, and a lot of them in there, in the story.
And in spite of all this, I am going to give this book 3.5 / 5 because of the writing and the characters. Some really good work there.
Thank you, Srishti Katiyar from Penguin India, for sending over a paperback copy of this book for me to review. The views expressed herein are my own; there has been no monetary compensation involved.