WRITING STYLE: 2.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
I love it when the cover of a book leaves the reader intrigued, leaves her wanting more. One such book whose cover has always intrigued me beyond measure is The King’s Harvest by Chetan Raj Shreshtha. Similarly, my first impression of Author Sarvananda Chandrashekaraiah’s debut book “A Silent Takeover” was also on the same lines – interest, intrigue, and curiosity. Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book and how was my experience of reading it.
I usually don’t like it when the blurb and the cover of a book are not in perfect harmony, but in this case, it is exactly what drew me in. The blurb hinted at an entirely different storyline, while the cover hit a different tangent. Needless to state, I had my questions and I was eager for answers, and this is where the book immediately scored some brownie points.
What to expect?
Expect a book that has an interesting storyline. Expect a book that has a decent amount of mystery combined with a surprise element thrown in for novelty. Expect a mystery that revolves around unexplained suicides, mysterious disappearances, and cryptic illnesses. Expect a book meant for a beginner level reader, one that comes with some issues of amateurish writing.
Who can read?
Since the book is written in a simple language and a style that is easy and breezy, it can be easily picked up by a beginner level reader.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Raaj Kumar, the arrogant and famous superstar of the movie industry, gets into a verbal tiff with the media on the occasion of his 50th birthday. This happens when his inability to maintain any romantic relationship is questioned by one and all. Tired of all the constant public scrutiny and media glare, he decides to take a sabbatical and escapes to the alluring beauty of Chikkamagaluru.
Suhaasini is a young and passionate media intern, who works at the tabloid Muthodlur Blitz, and is assigned the impossible task of securing an interview with Raaj. She manages to track him down and get an interview, but while researching about his past, she comes across some uncomfortable truths that start haunting her.
She finds out that every single one of Raaj’s official ex-girlfriend either ends up becoming mentally unstable or dies under mysterious circumstances. Driven with a sense of moral justice and a passion for investigative journalism, Suhaasini sets out on a path to unravel the truth. But will she succeed? Will the forces behind the scenes leave her unscarred? Will she succumb to the pressure and threats that are thrown her way?
How good are the characters?
The characters of the book are a decent bunch. They are diverse and dynamic; they have different motives and different shades, but where they all fail to impress is – when some behave irrationally, while others talk in a manner that is too detached from reality.
That being said, I love the fact that most of them have interesting backstories. I also enjoyed the transformation of Suhaasini from a naïve young woman to a woman who takes measured steps and thinks things through.
Let’s talk about the writing style
The writing is amateurish at best and is the major reason for underscoring an impressive plot. It lacks an emotional appeal and that relatable touch that the readers look forward to. To the reader in me, it felt too mechanical and unimaginative.
What did I like?
I like the twists that change the course of the book now and then, though this only starts when the reader is done reading 25% of the book. But these twists change everything that the reader is expecting would happen, thereby thrashing all the theories. The plot is also something that I enjoyed and appreciated a lot. It is unique and a perfect combination of mystery and something else (I won’t name it for the fear of spoilers).
There is a particular dream sequence of Suhaasini that adds a nice touch to the narrative and lends the story some flavor. Additionally, there are beautiful descriptions of the scenic beauty of Chikkamagaluru and the other remote locations that lures the reader. I also like that the overall quality of the physical copy is fantastic. The quality of the pages and the glossy cover adds a nice touch, while the margins and font sizes are comfortable, augmenting the reading pleasure.
What did I not like?
The conversations are where “A Silent Takeover” loses major points. They are lackluster, impractical, and unbelievably formal. How different characters interact with each other in the book is far removed from how normal people talk and behave in today’s time.
A romance that seems forced – I also did not appreciate the forced romance. The book has a solid storyline that does not need the additional boost of a romance. Including a half-hearted and impassionate romance has done more harm to the book and its characters. It dulls down the story and makes the characters appear artificial, methodological, and measured. So much so that the romance seems mechanical and robotic rather than spontaneous and intense.
At the end of the story, some questions are left unanswered. In some cases, there is a lack of clarity in terms of what happened and why it happened. There are some answers given, but they don’t seem to fit very well in the overall scheme of things.
What could have been better?
Some editing issues needed to be taken care of. Also, a little more work on the pace would have done wonders for the book. The hint of a tantalizing mystery is first given after seventy pages, and that is not recommended for a book that falls in the mystery and thriller category.
Further, certain things appear too easy to be true. For Suhaasini, everything appears to fall in place too easily, too quickly, without any indication of a struggle. She sets out to interview Raaj, a seemingly daunting task for anyone in her position but manages to do that very easily. She wants a promotion, and again, she gets that too easily. Things don’t fall in place so easily in the real world.
Last but not least, I did not appreciate some of the descriptions that the author makes use of. A huge rock on the seashore is described as “gigantically gorgeous” while the sea is described in the following manner – “The sea was plain and peaceful with fewer waves.”
Is the climax good enough?
The climax of “A Silent Takeover” is good and much better than the rest of the book. Towards the end, the book does a complete overhaul and takes on an entirely different avatar, one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The end is also unpredictable, with a nice twist that leaves us with the possibility of a sequel. The pace quickens, and the new twist relaunches the book with a distinct vigor, but I strongly believe that better writing could have elevated the book to an entirely different level.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
When it comes to entertainment, the book gives it out in a staggered manner. There are instances/places where the characters start shining, the plot moves forward, and interesting things happen one after the other. But there are also chapters when the story struggles to move forward. This is especially true in the first half of the book where the pace is a tad draggy.
In the end
In the end, Sarvananda Chandrashekaraiah’s “A Silent Takeover” shows a lot of promise in terms of interesting characters and a refreshingly original plot. Though the book has amateurish writing that might not appeal to regular or voracious readers, I believe that the author shows a lot of promise, which will only get better with each story that he pens.
The final verdict
Can be read.
Pick the book if
- You are a beginner level reader.
- You like mysteries with a slight twist.
- You love it when authors combine elements of various genres in a mystery.
- You want to support a debut Indian author.
Skip the book if
- You are a regular or voracious reader.
- You are looking for a 5-star entertainer.
- You don’t like amateurish writing.
- You are looking for a pure crime thriller/action adventure/mystery.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of the “A Silent Takeover” using the link below.