WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
What is the storyline?
The Wickerman Chronicles is a series of hilarious short stories chronicling the various adventures of a character named Vikraman. While the adventures are not continuous, in that they do not follow a sequence of timelines or similar settings, but are all concerning Vikraman and different absurdly comical situations.
The book ends with a novella, in which a village is terrorised by a tiger and the president approaches a retired hunter to get rid of it. How that finally turns out makes for a really good story.
How are the characters?
One of the positive things about The Wickerman Chronicles is that each short story has its own vivid range of characters. From the Spanish bullfighter to the famous wrestler to guest appearances from Yama and Vetal, it is a book filled with rich characters throughout. Every story has a different setting, filled with its own set of situation-based comedic episodes.
In each story, Vikraman more or less comes out on top, using his wile and wit to handle the situations he finds himself in. Granted, there is no continuity for this character in each story, but that is beside the point. In each instance, Vikraman does brilliantly to ensure that he escapes the situation he more often than not stumbles into because of his own actions.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the first story in the book, “El Murcielago”. It introduces us to Vikraman in the settings of Jallikattu.
The Writing Style
The writing style is very crisp and the humour is straightforward. There are occasions when you laugh out loud, and others where you couldn’t help but get behind the main character. Even the novella at the end was written in a way that would elicit laughter.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the first story in the book, “El Murcielago”. It introduces us to Vikraman in the settings of Jallikattu. He comes face to face with the bull Mankinatan, but is unable to prevail, leaving the champion’s honour beaten and injuring himself in the process. How he regains his pride forms the backbone of that story, giving an insight on how Vikraman, in the stories ahead, would manage to get out of the tough situations he finds himself in, leaving you laughing in the process.
Was the climax good enough?
All the stories in The Wickerman Chronicles had very good endings – I personally enjoyed the endings of “A Wrestling Match” and “The Spotted Tiger”. Even the novella at the end, “The Tiger Hunt”, had a very well thought out climax, springing a surprise that the reader will most likely not anticipate. The way the hunter plans to catch the tiger in the village is riveting, but the end takes the cake for how the story gets a major twist.
I would most definitely say The Wickerman Chronicles is an entertaining book. All the stories are funny, and while every mishap and absurd confrontation may not make the reader laugh out loud, the reader will end up enjoying the entertaining stories of Vikraman and the many scenarios he ends up finding himself in. While sometimes the humour does feel like it’s an inside joke only the author is privy to, the rest of the book is very enjoyable. “The Tiger Hunt” is an added surprise, and though it is not exactly a laugh riot, it still keeps you turning the pages to see how the hunter finally gets the tiger and help the village from losing all their cattle.