Monday, 30 July 2012
Samit Basu wrote Simoqin Prophecies when he was just 22 and published it when he was 23. Manticore's Secret and Unwaba Revelations followed 3 & 5 years later. He also writes comics.
I first heard of Basu at this years's JLF. It prompted me to buy the first of the trilogy. However with our move following almost immediately after our return from Jaipur, I wasn't getting time for much reading. Since I was heading on a road trip to Rajkot, I carried the Simoqin Prophecies with me and by the time I finished the first few chapters, I pushed in my dongle, logged onto flipkart and ordered the next 2 books in the series and they were waiting for me at home by the time I returned 3 days later.
I read all 3 books at a stretch over 4-5 days (since I still have plumbers, electricians and painters doing the rounds of the apartment, if I didn't have these botherations, I wouldn't have looked up until I finished all 3)
The good thing about each book is that, the end of the book does bring some amount of closure and does not leave the reader on tenterhooks. This would have been a really good thing for those who read the books when they first came out and had to wait for a year or so between books.
Samit Basu seems to have taken Shakespeare's "All the world is a stage and all the men & women merely players" completely to heart with this trilogy. All the characters live on a "game world" and are being played around with by the Gods.
The inspirations and spoofs come fast and strong. Nothing is spared, from the Ramayan and Mahabharath to King Kong, Alice in Wonderland to Arabian Nights. Inspirations come from world history, Greek & Indian mythology, fairy tales, Harry Potter, superhero comics, dragon tales and pop culture amongst others.
Be prepared to meet a host of different species from crow air forces, to stork couriers, to Vaanar senas. Vamans who live below the earth (for the most part) to pashans who hatch from eggs but are made of various kinds of stones. Magical, mythical creatures. Some unfamiliar and some familiar like asurs and rakshasas, but are they really as "bad" as they are made out to be?
The Simoqin Prophecies start 200 years after the death of the rakshas Danh-Gem and the departure of the ravians from this world. The Prophecy foretells the return of Danh-Gem 200 years after his death and the arrival of a hero who will slay him. The details of how the hero will arrive are also mentioned in the prophecy and powerful people get involved in engineering a hero to fit the prophecy. Are heroes really heroes or are their tales of heroism just airbrushed stories? Who is a true hero? Can heroes be created in a school meant for heroes?
The ending was quite a surprise, I was expecting something else entirely.
I started book 2 - Manticore's Secret almost immediately. In this book a lot more insight is given into the Gods who are playing this "game world". So do the God's control our destinies? Or do we even have a destiny other than to be a pawn in a God's game? What is right & what is wrong? Who is right and who is wrong? Each person / species thinks in a particular way for a particular reason. Do noble intentions justify ignoble actions?
Part 3 - Unwaba Revelations - does have some surprises, but I personally was quite happy with the ending. It was neat enough for me and did not leave me with a huge number of unanswered questions.
I don't want to give away too much of the story in this review, because these are really books you SHOULD read for yourself.
For me, the GameWorld Trilogy has been as mind bogglingly wonderful as the Lord of the Rings with loads of humour too. These books are what the teens on my gift list in the near future shall be receiving for awhile.
Rating : 4.5 / 5