ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Books that have a generous dose of action-adventure always excite me. I am not a voracious reader of adventure thrillers, but every once in a while, it feels good to pick up something that is all about combat and warfare. Just when I had started to read Commando by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal, an opportunity to read another book about conflicts and combat came my way. Read on to know more about my thoughts on Sivakumar S’s “Major Rudraksha”.
About the author
Author Sivakumar S is a stroke survivor who currently lives in Hyderabad with his family. As a professional, he has had thirty years of experience in the corporate world, working in various sectors like management consultancy, international tax and audit consultancy, pharma research and development, and oilfield refinery related services. “Major Rudraksha” is his debut work of fiction.
What to expect?
Expect a book that promises a lot of action and adventure. Expect a book that has a lot of combat and warfare. Expect a book that takes you to the hinterland, in the dense and deep forests of Naxal infested Dantewada. Expect a book that is a short read that can be easily read in a single sitting.
Who can read?
Since the book is written in an easy language and is a short read, it is best suited for beginner level readers.
At the first glance, it is the editing that strikes you. Instead of a regular blurb that acquaints the reader with the plotline, the book has a blurb that is spelled out in bullet points. To say that it is unclear and it defeats the purpose of the blurb would be an understatement. Editing mistakes in it are quite visible, and the bullet points don’t get the job done.
The cover of the book is gorgeous, though. It does a much better job of illustrating the content of the book. One look at the cover and the reader would come to expect plenty of battle scenes, combat missions, and action-adventure. It also creates a sense of intrigue and anticipation in the mind of the reader.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Major Rudraksha is the team leader and chief strategist of an elite NSG commando group that has previously fought in many tense and high-risk combat situations. His team comprises of highly skilled experts including –
George Arul – nicknamed Boozey, he is the second in command and a sniper par excellence.
Rajendra Verma – also known as Hammer and is an expert in hand to hand combat.
Bhooshan Singh – is also called Boom Boom by his team and is the weapons expert.
Idris Habibullah – nicknames Eyes, he is the electronics expert of the group.
Together, the team of elite NSG commandos called Pandavas, and they have been deployed on a discreet and highly sensitive hostage rescue mission that will take them to the thickly forested Dantewada region.
But the mission is not as easy as it seems and would require strategic planning and constant alertness on their part. The enemy is well trained and experienced, and it possesses a deep understanding of the difficult terrain that puts it in an advantageous position.
How good are the characters?
The characters are an exciting bunch. Jovial, fun, and always brimming with excitement, they always lighten up any place with the sheer magnitude of their enthusiasm. They are like action heroes who always hold the reader in awe of their expertise and their combat skills.
What about the writing style?
In line with the works of many debut Indian authors, “Major Rudraksha” has a narrative style that is amateurish at best. There is considerable work that needs to be done in terms of developing character backstories, gripping narrative style, and plot defining twists. That being said, the writing does show promise and great scope for improvement.
What did I like?
I love the setting of the story. A high-risk mission in the middle of heavily forested Naxal territory of Dantewada is a setting that I loved reading about. The cherry on top is the NSG commando unit that is sent on the mission. I must say that the idea itself is quite captivating.
The action begins early on
The book starts with a bang, and the action begins soon after. This makes it an interesting read right from the very beginning.
What makes it real?
I love the way the book introduces one to the world of intense combat situations and high-risk missions. From ascertaining the risk factor to mapping the perimeter, from outlining a master strategy to the positioning of guards, from the use of high-tech gadgets to optimum utilization of manpower – the book gives us detailed insights into how such missions are carried out. It also shows us how cross-functional such teams can be and what kind of group dynamics are required for such missions.
Indulges the emotional reader
Action is not the only thing that the book delivers. It also shows us a more humane and relatable side of the commandos. In SivaKumar’s “Major Rudraksha” we see their emotional sides as well. We see them laughing with their friends, loving their family, and missing their parents. We also realize the kind of sacrifice the soldiers and their families both have to make. Being a commando means being away from your wife, children, and parents, and that’s a great sacrifice for any human.
What could have been better?
There are many characters in the book, and all of them have interesting personalities and great potential, but the reader is left wanting more information. There is an evident lack of character profiling, background stories, and other relevant information that a reader needs to get invested in a character.
What did I not like?
The narrations are quite diary-like, terse, and chronological in their approach. This is usually a difficult way of storytelling and requires a great deal of creativity and skill on the part of the writer to make it work. In “Major Rudraksha” it falls flat and becomes quite monotonous and tedious after a point.
The editing needs work too. There are a few mistakes that catch your eye now and then.
It gets irrational at times
There are some instances in the story where the reader is unable to believe the events as they occur. The case in point is when the dreaded Naxal leader is caught too easily, it seems too convenient and anticlimactic. Further, another scene in which a female officer Kanika Das seduces a trapped Naxalite to make him spill out secrets is also quite hard to believe.
How good is the climax?
The climax is good enough and brings a decent closure to the story. As the conflict intensifies, the action-adventure also increases. Right before the showdown, there is palpable tension in the air, and the heightened awareness leaves the reader alert and invested. Needless to state the climax does a good job.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
The fast pace and a generous dose of action scenes make the book a decent entertainer.
In the end
In the end, “Major Rudraksha” is a book that delivers some and misses some. The interesting plot and a crisp storyline lend a fast pace to an already racy read, but the writing style leaves a lot to be desired. I firmly believe that with time and experience, the author’s writing would surely get better and better, and I wish the author all the best for his future endeavors.
The final verdict
Can be read.
Pick the book if
- You like books that are short and crisp.
- You are a beginner-level reader looking for a book under a hundred pages.
- You like books that have a generous amount of action and adventure.
- You enjoy books that can be read in a single sitting.
- You like books that have a great deal of combat and warfare.
- The idea of a life-threatening mission in the middle of Naxal-infested jungles appeals to you.
Skip the book if
- You are a regular or voracious reader.
- You don’t like books that have amateurish writing.
- You can’t read books that have editing issues.
- You are looking for a five-star read.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “Major Rudraksha” using the link below.