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02 February, 2018

#BookReview :: Awaken (Shakti Trilogy #1) by Ashok Banker

The Haters are coming to destroy all life on Earth. It is not a question of if, but when.

The Brahmaand has already rung the warning bell and the awakening of the Preservers has begun. Kiara unexpectedly finds her skin covered with golden fur and her sense of smell extraordinarily enhanced; Saumya is suddenly able to go from Ahmedabad to New York in just a step; and Sia’s songs have the power to do things she had never imagined possible.

First in the thrilling Shakti Trilogy set in contemporary India, Ashok Banker’s action-packed and brilliantly imagined Awaken introduces our unlikely heroes who must discover and harness their superpowers before they can protect and preserve the Earth from the wrath of a menacing alien invasion.


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Awaken is told from the points of view of its three protagonists, Kiara, Saumya and Sia. At the beginning they are just normal girls with everyday problems till their latent powers start to ‘awaken’. Three girls belonging to three different backgrounds must come together to not only help each other but also to fight a much larger threat.

The blurb of the book was appealing to me. I found myself attracted to the idea of a fantasy novel set in contemporary India with three girls as protagonists. 

The author has put in much effort into setting the background and developing the characters. This being the first book of a trilogy, I expected as much. The three girls have three distinct voices and personalities which was interesting to say at the least. Their individual struggles were something I could feel and understand, if not empathize with. They felt very real. The other thing that attracted me to the book were some of the issues handled by the author. It was great to see the author bringing up the problems of a transgender in our society alongside couple other problems. Brownie points there for the book.

But that is all that is good and exciting about the book. Having read a couple of other books by the author, I had certain expectations from him. For instance, the language in the book felt very juvenile. I did consider the fact that the author has stepped somewhat out of his comfort zone, but writing about young characters in contemporary India doesn’t necessarily require such juvenile language. Even the monikers used felt childish. Also, while I understand the need to perfectly set the stage in the first book of a trilogy, I felt that the story did not progress much in this book. In fact, it kind of left me feeling that I had read only half a book. Being such a short read, I wonder if the story of this trilogy can actually be told in one book…

All in all, the book left me feeling disappointed and dissatisfied. I am not sure whether I will be picking up the sequels.


Review Copy received from Pan Macmillan India

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