WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
As more and more Indian authors continue to explore the genre of Fantasy and delve into alternative realities, author Shreyas Adhikari brings us a formidable front-runner: The Scarlet Turban. Based in a world far from ours, the book
“Betrayed by the very monarch that he had sworn to die for, Suleiman finds himself treading the dark path of rebellion with vengeance in his heart. His journey is filled with foes lurking in every shadow, broken alliances and near-fatal battles. Aided by a mysterious God and very people he once fought and slew, Suleiman must use swords, sorcery and muskets and risk everything he has lived for – achieve his one goal.”
The plot of The Scarlet Turban offers us a somewhat typical, promising story of a young man fighting for vengeance, fighting against all disparities. But does it stand out?
Certainly so. The one element that can make sure that a commonly used plot point doesn’t sink the book is the writing. The writing is remarkable: the author uses his knowledge of the language to maintain a smooth flow throughout the book.
The book moves from one scene to another, from one act of bravery and strife to another effortlessly. The book is in the first person, speaking from the point of view of Sulieman of
But this ends up getting monotonous by the end. Throughout the book, every fight, every person, every experience is narrated with the same rigid and angry voice.
An alternate reality means a world of different names, places, species. In such books, the author needs to warm the reader up to this alternate reality!
The Scarlet Turban starts with the first chapter titled Pogrom’s Aftermath and introduces the reader to the Jinn, the protagonist and the Gods. I thought the characters will be explained eventually, but they were most certainly not.
It is one thing to trust the reader’s intellect and weave the explanations into the writing for him to pick up – but it another thing to simply carry on with the book as if the reader already knows about this new world! The lack of a proper introduction made me quite confused and tampered with my experience of reading this book.
There are innumerable new names and places throughout the book. Even with a proper introduction, I’m afraid this would have exhausted me, as it did without one. This is only a subjective experience – perhaps someone fond of the genre of Fantasy wouldn’t have noticed these small elements that bothered me throughout the book.
As you read through the book, you will find the narrator’s mind often clouded with something called the Agha’s Voice. Arguably my favourite part of the book, this voice guides him and accompanies him. It’s an essential and a warm touch to the otherwise cold, focused Suleiman. Every chapter is well structured and ends on an exciting note – you immediately move on to the next chapter to find out what happens even if you meant to keep the book away for the day.
The best part about this book is its subtle parallelism with reality. I’m not sure whether the author meant to do this, but the book weaves a story that, despite being incredibly different to a regular day in our lives, can be compared to the emotional journey of a man.
It’s the story of a lonely warrior looking to avenge the death of his loved ones. There are battles to be fought, enemies to be slain, lives to be taken. The Suleiman is born as a Jiesran but has felt like a Restani all his life – fighting to belong and fit in. The journey of this Atishbaaz pieces
A book of this sort is a promise of exciting adventures, fights that make you hold your breath and deaths you will lament over. Be rest assured of every one of these when you pick up The Scarlet Turban.
With the intention of not giving away the biggest spoiler, the ending is splendid. You have to read the entire book – and the ending makes sure you read the next one. If you’re at the edge of your seat with half your nails chewed off by the end, then you only have the author to blame!
The story of a brave warrior and his companions, a winding journey, the wise words of mentors and a single focus: revenge. Antagonists that range from humanoids to animals to Gods – The Scarlet Turban will give you everything you will ask for from a Fantasy novel.
If you’re not particularly into this genre then this book won’t be my first recommendation to you. But if you’re a well-seasoned Fantasy devourer, then The Scarlet Turban is a necessary addition to your bookshelf!
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Scarlet Turban at the link below: