PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4.5/5 WRITING: 4/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4.5/5
“And who do you think you are? A monster slayer? A god? And why do you think people listen to monster-slayers or gods? It is because they fear them more than monsters themselves.”– Vamsidhar Chaturvedula, Fight Story
It is not every day that you read a story that leaves you spellbound; that serves you a never-heard-before concept in a unique manner, that serves you action-adventure with elements of drama, philosophy, fantasy, and essence of mythology blended in a contemporary fiction format.
But even after nine years of extensively reading and reviewing books, I am happy to say that even to this day, I am regularly wowed by this new breed of Indian authors who try to bring something new to the table; who try to attempt something bold and unique and succeed well in their endeavors.
To know about one such book, read on for my review of Vamsidhar Chaturvedula’s Fight Story, a book that offers something different and unique to its readers.
What to expect?
Expect a story that revolves around the art of fighting. Expect an action-adventure that is bound to wow action lovers. Expect a well-written book that tells the compelling story of two unrivaled fighters. Finally, expect a book that serves entertainment in generous doses.
Who can read?
Since the book makes use of a simple but rich language and a creative (yet uncomplicated) manner of storytelling, it can be easily picked up by any category of readers (even beginners).
The summary of Fight Story aka the story as it goes
Strength is his superpower and he is forever in the quest for victory over evil. His heart beats for the downtrodden and he wants to remove the shackles that bind men to the whims and fancies of power lords, who only exploit them for their selfish interests.
He is Veer Bhadra and he wants to change all that. Permanently. He is the man people create legends and cults after.
He wants to fight such corruption. Fight such evil, fight such decadence, even if it takes everything that he has got. But in this game, in this delicate dance, of life and death, does his unconquerable strength make him a god or a monster?
Is his fight liberating people or shackling them even further? As he looks for clues, that constantly remain a mystery to him, he finds his answer in one man – Karthik.
On the other hand, we have another young man, who from a very young age, never understood what fight meant to him. Why does he love it so much and why does it consume every part of his being? He is a formidable fighter, one of the only two people in the world to have completed the impossible Vajrayudh module. He has never been beaten and yet there remains a constant question deep in his heart. Why does he love fighting so much?
He is Karthik, the name feared in global arenas; the best amongst the best, the champion of the champions.
But amidst his struggle to find meaning, to find his place in all the wins and deaths, he meets – Veer Bhadra – the answer that he has been looking for.
Where will this fight take them?
“Gods and monsters: they are just the different names people give to justify their clinging to something higher, to hide their inherent weakness-driven pathetic behaviours. They will form cults after you. They will blindly follow you. You think you are liberating them, but all you are doing is binding them stronger.”
The book contrasts the journey of two unparalleled larger-than-life characters who both come from vastly different backgrounds and are shaped by entirely opposite life experiences. Yet they both have something in common – their courage, strength, and skill for a fight. One wants to avoid it and the other wants to face it.
If I am being honest here, I am not a big fan of action stories and so initially Fight Story did not come across as a book I would want to read. But here the cover and the blurb did a great job of piquing my interest. And so, I sat down to read it, and wow! Was I impressed with what I read?
It’s hard to believe that the book comes from a debut author. The carefully constructed plot and the inventive writing style belies the author’s writing experience. But what surprises you the most is how a story that is predominantly about fighting does not just serve you action.
Once you start digging deeper, the book carries so much more. Yes, it is action-oriented, but at a higher level, it is both spiritual and philosophical. Multiple subplots run parallel to each other and yet as is seen most often, the story in no way appears confusing.
From the blurb itself and also from the prologue, it is clear that the story would ultimately and inevitably move towards the fight between Veer Bhadra and Karthik. But what makes the book click are the carefully crafted personalities of these two characters.
We are not told just how phenomenal and great they are, but we are shown. And as a reader, there is nothing better than a book that shows and not tells you the story.
Beginning from their childhood, we see how strong they are. Their charismatic and magnetic personalities are carefully crafted through various adventures, misadventures, and the experiences that shape them.
The setting and the background are so rich that they create a world and a subplot of their own. If you look at it one way, the two stories are complete in themselves, offering the reader the experience of reading a two-in-one novel.
Not just in India, but the story takes you to the fighting worlds of Japan, Mexico, and the world over.
The stark contrast between the rich and poor elevates the story and runs like a social commentary about the world that we inhabit. This contrast also becomes a plotline in itself. The divide is as much evident in the fighting world as it is embodied in the characters of Veer Bhadra and Karthik.
In Adrian, Rayudu, and Vasanth Kumar, we see antagonists who have magnetic and dynamic personalities of their own. There are always both forces at play, the good and the bad remain fairly balanced throughout the story.
I would never expect to read a fight story that would impart life lessons that are both practical and philosophical. But here we are. As a reader, you also feel this essence of spirituality which runs as a subtle under theme throughout the book.
All in all, Fight Story is a unique tale that must be read by anyone looking for ‘zara hatke’ content. Don’t go by the notion that it is just an action story, for it would be one massive understatement. I believe it has something to offer to everyone.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Fight Story using the link below.