PLOT: 4/5 CHARACTERS: 3/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/5 CLIMAX: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 3/5
“Humanity and working for a social cause, without any hidden motive, is the ultimate thing that one can do in life. Unfortunately, it is seldom seen in today’s dark times where people are callously cocooned in their selfish lifestyles…”Piyush Semwal, The Lost Faith
I seldom read action and adventure novels but that’s not because I don’t like them. It is because I don’t come across many books in that genre. I recently had the chance to read an Indian action-adventure, which going by its blurb and the cover, promised a lot of thrill and excitement. Read on to know more about my thoughts on Piyush Semwal’s debut work, The Lost Faith.
Something about the author
We all are well acquainted with the age-old adage, ‘Pen is mightier than the sword’. But how often do you come across someone who has seen both sides of the coin? How often do you come across a soldier who is also a writer?
Author Piyush Semwal is a serving Major in the Indian army. Born and raised in Dehradun, he is passionate about nature and adventure.
In the little time he has after fulfilling his duties as an Army Major and an involved family man, he likes to indulge in his creative passion – writing. An avid reader and traveler, The Lost Faith is his debut work of fiction.
What to expect?
Expect a book that takes you on a treacherous yet thrilling adventure. Expect a book where the story unfolds in the picturesque Himalayan landscape. Expect a book that has an interesting storyline and a huge set of characters. Finally, expect a book that talks about some serious environmental issues that are plaguing the Himalayas.
Who can read?
The Lost Faith makes use of a language that is rich and complex. Though the words aren’t that complicated, the book might come across as a mildly challenging read to a beginner level reader.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Ronit and Arvind are young professionals who are tasked with a documentary-making assignment. The two decide to venture to a remote temple in the wilderness which is always shrouded in mystery. The location is secluded and the place is said to be infested with ferocious wolves.
As their journey begins to unfold, they soon come face to face with unknown dangers. What follows is an adventure like never before wherein the duo find themselves getting involved with a local vigilante.
Read the story of Ronit and Arvind as they unfurl mystery after mystery – from the deadly wolf menace to the nefarious activities in the jungle, from the dubious godman to the enigmatic elephant tamer.
Are the characters good?
The Lost Faith tells us the story of a lot of characters – Arvind, Ronit, Sankalp, Dharma, Ranga, and Damo amongst others. The characters come from different backgrounds and as they meet up and acquaint with each other, they quickly get along. Though their backgrounds and personalities are quite impressive, their backstories are missing.
The reader doesn’t get to know any of them very well. Their backstories and individual perspectives are neglected and hence I did not find that connection that is so important for a reader to get invested in a character.
What about the writing style?
If there’s one thing that is glaringly missing in Piyush’s debut work of fiction, it is imaginative writing. The writing fails to catch up with such a strong and solid plot. It is quite linear and after a while, the book gets too monotonous. What starts on a very interesting and thrill-inducing note ends up getting too tiresome for the reader.
The lengthy essay-styled paragraphs combined with narrow margins and tedious discourses from some of the characters end up slowing down the book while also reducing the reading pleasure.
What did I like?
The Himalayas are home to our forests and wildlife but recent years have shown us just how harmful the combination of irresponsible tourism, unscrupulous mining, and illegal poaching can be. Though at a much simpler level, many Indians are aware of these actions and their consequences, I appreciate the way Major Semwal highlights the nitty-gritty of these phenomena.
The Lost Faith is more than just a story. It is a call for urgency; it is a call for action. By the means of a thrilling story, the author urges us to take note of and realize the drastic consequences of irresponsible tourism. In the process, he also sheds light on the importance of keeping our minds open and free from orthodoxy.
Another thing worth mentioning here is the author’s attention to detail. The author is able to paint vivid imagery of every single location and action scene because of the details. Be it the fearsome Traal, or the nefarious activities in the jungle, be it the menacing appearance of the wolves or the workings of the aerial drone – the attention to detail is commendable.
What could have been better?
As a reader, I don’t appreciate it when thrillers are written in a complicated language. This combination is quite difficult to pull off even by bestselling authors and this usually ends up bringing down the pace of such thrillers. Simple words and a generous dose of plot twists are what I was looking for, but the writing is a tad cumbersome and does not do much to excite the reader.
I would have loved it if the author had introduced different character perspectives and frequent changes in the timeline to break the monotony of such a linear narrative.
Is the climax good?
The climax of the book can be best termed as mediocre. The end is quite predictable with no twists and surprises along the way. It gives the story a befitting conclusion but that’s pretty much it.
It all boils down to the entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, I am afraid the book doesn’t live up to the expectations that it sets in the beginning. While it starts on an interesting and mysterious note, both the pace and the mystery fizzle out somewhere close to the middle mark.
In the end
In the end, The Lost Faith is a book that shows promise in terms of the story and the characters but is bogged down by an unimaginative writing and a slow pace. It is a book that has much more potential than what it actually delivers and is a book that will especially appeal to readers who enjoy nature and adventure.
The final verdict
Can be read!
Pick it up
- If the idea of a Himalayan adventure excites you.
- If you enjoy reading books about vigilantes and adventure seekers.
- If you want to read a book that lays bare the ugly side of tourism.
- If you enjoy books that address burning social issues.
- If you are looking for a 5-star entertainer.
- If you don’t like amateurish writing.
- If you don’t like books that are slow in pace.
Watch the video review here
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