WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
There is a general tendency among people to follow the popular crowd, and become successful by following the trend. And certainly, there is nothing wrong with that, especially when it comes to books, music and movies. After all, there are considerable costs involved when you are producing any art form, and it is only fair that you would want to get something back financially, especially if you depend on it for your livelihood. But it is when the said trend is beaten to death with less than average works that consumers get fed up with it and move on to the next big thing.
For a while now, the trend in the Indian writing scene has been to write college love stories, irrespective of whether the story sounds repetitive, boring, and at the same time, without the basic editing or grammar. But then again, it is not everybody who follows the trend. Some authors like to explore and find new genres to write on. It is also especially refreshing if the focus is also put on how the presentation of the book is and removing any errors that may have inadvertently crept in while writing.
To that effect, Varun Gwalani’s Believe does a good job. It’s not your basic run-of-the-mill love story where boy meets girl in college, falls in love, fails a few examinations, and then miraculously lands a fantastic job because he is studying in a premier institute. Instead, it is the story of a bestselling author Conner White who meets Victoria in a bar, and is affected by her comment that he writes depressing novels and gets people down. Having already lost his wife, he goes to the town of Levion, where the people are being controlled by the people in charge. How Conner helps in freeing them from this iron grip is what forms the crux of the story.
As already stated, the Believe is refreshing in its plot, and the author, despite it being his first book, opted to go for a more allegorical story rather than the tried and tested love story formula. There is a lot of introspection from the characters, and it also depicts how those in power (like the politicians, law enforcement, etc.) can abuse their positions. It also shows how women continue to be persecuted in a supposedly modern world.
Being a debut author, and a very young one at that, it is fantastic to see that the narration is very arresting and sucks the reader into the story. This is something you find missing in most debut works nowadays, but Varun Gwalani certainly excels in it. But parts of the story looked lost in terms of the plot, and the reader would get the feeling that while this is indeed a good book to read, there is still something missing in terms of the plot and narration. At some places, the narration lacks the same fluidity that it has in the rest of the book and appears loose, risking a drop in the interest of the reader. Perhaps, in future works, this would be rectified by the author, but all in all, Believe is certainly a good book to read.