The Sorcerer of Mandala
Be careful what you wish for!
Long, long ago or just a year ago – depending on when you read this – the Astu Devas wake up and grant the absurd wishes of two citizens of Orum, leaving the town isolated from the rest of civilization.
It is now up to Vikram, his reluctant fiancée Ponni, and his friends, Kalla, a thief, and Bana, an aspiring playwright, to steal a fabled blood jewel and save Orum. Oh, did we mention the jewel hangs around the neck of the demonic goddess, Rakta Katteri, guarded by her devotee, the terrifying Sorcerer of Mandala? Come, enter a portal to an enchanting new world!
Age: 14+ years
Number of Pages: 240
Publisher: Yali books
Author: D Kalyanaraman (author), Raghava KK (illustrator)
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.6 inches
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The Sorcerer of Mandala, a traditional quest story with an ensemble cast, draws from the culture and philosophies of ancient India but presents the concepts from an entertaining perspective. The quirky, attractive cover art is a definite bonus.
My favorite character is Dwipada, a sage who has been working on his anger issues for tens of thousands of years (and has yet to get a grip on them) and keeps glibly dipping into technical lingo like “debit” and “accountant” from his future incarnations. Why? Because he knows all pasts, presents and futures (yes, there is a multiplicity of them in this book’s orthogonal universe), ha!
However, the strengths of the novel also become its drawbacks at times. For instance, some of the sub-plots and clever asides of the characters obscure the main conflict. And since there are no explanations for the basis of some of the threads, readers not familiar with the original stories and legends from India could get lost. Tighter and consistent editing and a streamlined plot with fewer characters would have made this a stronger story, one that would reach and be appreciated by a larger audience.
All in all, if you're looking for a story that brings you the age-old oral storytelling of the East mixed with a tongue-in-cheek irreverence of the 21st century, then this is a book for you.