PLOT: 3/5
CLIMAX: 2.5/5

“The world began to fade. The trees began to disappear. He knew he was dying. Then why were those faces becoming clearer? And there she stood by a ghastly trunk, watching him…”
Nag Mani, The Green Room

My musings

I don’t read a lot of horror fiction. The reason being the sleepless nights that follow once I am done reading them. But Halloween was just around the corner when I decided to pick this one up and even though I don’t celebrate, I really wanted to get into the spooky mood. So here I was, browsing on my Kindle for Indian horror fiction and that’s when I came across The Green Room by Nag Mani. Read on to know more about my thoughts on the book and about my experience of reading it.

What to expect?

Expect a book that is essentially meant for beginners. Expect a book that has a pretty simple and straight forward plot. Expect a book that is basically a high school romantic drama and horror fiction rolled into one. Finally, expect a book that is okay for a onetime read.

Who can read?

Since the book is written in a simple language and a breezy style it can be easily picked up by a beginner level reader.

Let’s talk about the storyline

Rohan Agarwal is in love with Chandni Joshi and his happiness knows no bounds when he discovers that they will be together in a school play. But everything is not as smooth as it seems. Chandni isn’t into him and she hardly notices his love-struck eyes which always seem to be looking in her direction.

In order to impress Chandni and get her to notice him, Rohan decides to take upon a dare that requires him to sneak into the infamous Green Room of the school; a place that is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a schoolgirl.

Since Rohan doesn’t believe in ghosts or anything supernatural for that matter, he decides to take upon the dare and visits The Green Room at three am in the night. It is there that he discovers something that was never meant to be found.

Very soon, weird things start happening around Rohan and he finds himself starting to believe in the ghost stories that circulate all around him. There is something sinister that resides in the Green Room and Rohan is shell shocked to find out that the same play had been canceled once before due to some mysterious and supernatural occurrences.

So, what is the mystery of the Green Room? Is it really haunted by that pale white girl in a tattered old uniform? If yes, then what does she want and what has Rohan got to do with it?

How good are the characters?

The characters are pretty basic. They don’t stand out or make the reader go gaga over them. They manage to act according to their age and make mistakes and learn from them along the way. The way the innocent romance pans out is sometimes endearing and sometimes annoying (because it takes the focus away from the horror element). While most of the characters are pretty standard, I enjoyed reading about the mysterious ghost that haunts the Green Room.

What about the author’s writing style?

The author fails to maintain the pace of the book. What starts on a very interesting note dulls down pretty soon. I like the fact that the author makes use of many subplots to keep things spiced up but he soon loses focus and that makes the reader in me unhappy.

The plot itself is good enough. An unsolved case of a disappearance, old school histories, reported hauntings, and a dare gone wrong together makes for a heady mix that is enough to tease the reader. Had this aura of mystery been retained a little longer, the book would have turned out to be a fantastic read.

Is the book spooky?

When it comes to spookiness, the book manages to scare the reader in the first half but as the story progresses, the surprise and horror elements fizzle out. What remains, in the end, is very predictable and not much scary. While the characters and the plot do their bit, the writing itself fails to support the horror quotient.

Let’s talk about the climax

The climax is pretty predictable. It pretty much gives itself away long before the story nears its conclusion.

Is the book entertaining?

The book is short, crisp and quite mysterious throughout the first half. An overbearing sense of impending doom and a sinister undertone keeps the reader engaged quite well. It is only in the second half that the pace and mystery falter and the book exchanges its horror tag for that of a young adult romance. Still, I would like to insist that the book is entertaining in its own sweet way.

In the end

In the end, The Green Room is a pretty decent book for somebody looking for mild horror. Set in a centuries-old boarding school of Nainital, the book certainly gets the backdrop right. After all, there is something hauntingly beautiful about the lonely forests and the desolate roads of Himalayan towns. It is a book that will definitely speak to a large number of young readers mainly because of the young romance and high school drama angle. In short words, it’s a decent one time read.

The final verdict

Can be read.

Pick it up

Skip it

  • If you are looking for a really spooky book.
  • If you are looking for something more serious.
  • If you are a voracious reader.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Green Room using the link below.