Goodreads blurb: Sangeeta Rao, a beautiful, feisty reporter at Channel 7 TV in Singapore, rushes to Agra on a special assignment after an early-morning phone call. At the Taj Mahal, she meets Alan Davies, a charming Welshman. But a terrorist attack on Mathura’s renowned Krishna temple turns them into fugitives from justice and the duo must decipher a series of complex cryptographs and unearth the illustrious Shyamantaka that belonged to Surya, the Sun God, to prove their innocence. Joined in their quest by an elderly Frenchman, Anton Blanchard, the duo race against time in helicopters, motor boats and yachts. In hot pursuit are the brilliant and daring SP Nisha Sharma and the most ruthless terrorist organizations. Before she realizes it, Sangeeta is trapped in a world of betrayal, deceit and horror. Fast-paced and gripping, The Curse of Surya will keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat while you unravel one of the biggest mysteries in 5000 years.
Cliches are good, in the sense that they can be used by authors to help readers easily understand that point they are trying to make. But resorting to clichés in each and every page of your book; not such a great idea. And that precisely is the problem that The Curse of Surya by Dev Prasad suffers from. Overuse of clichés, and a reliance on too many coincidences to keep the plot moving forward.
While the premise of the narrative is interesting – that of the famed Syamantaka gem and its story (on which I have written an entire series of blog posts, read the first one here), the treatment meted out by the author to how the story moves is where it is a big letdown. For regular readers who have read the likes of Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly or for that matter our very own Ravi Subramanian, and are familiar with how the ‘thriller’ genre of books work, this book is a ‘cop out’, for lack of a better term to use.
I mean, how else would you explain the usage of the following clichés (and even some technologically impossible things) – love at first sight by an otherwise seemingly smart reporter, mobile phone signals and GPS signals working perfectly well in high seas, GPS signals working fine underwater, voice enabled radio communication within scuba diving suits, convenient use of ‘red herrings’ throughout the book and finally ending with the worst cliché of all, that of the protagonist finally finding the true love that she didn’t even know she had been searching for.
While this book is a brave and even a competent attempt by the author to marry fiction with mythology, it suffers due to the lack of a proper editorial process. I fully lay the blame for the shoddy end product that this book ends up being on the editorial team in charge of finalizing the manuscript and putting it out there on the book shelves.
A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review of the same.