Having enrolled in the Book Reviews Programme by Blogadda.com, this is the first time I have been selected to review a book. The book is titled "The Land of the Wilted Rose", by Anand Ranganathan. The cover, as you can see from the image on the left, has only an almost-dry rose on a yellow-ochre background. I felt very excited when I received the book... and when I opened it, I was in for more surprises.
There was a handwritten note from the author (Anand Ranganathan) which added a personal touch. And a welcome note from the website, personally signed by Founder and CEO, made me feel very good.
Now the book.
The Land of the Wilted Rose is the first of a quartet - a four book series. And whatever is written as a synopsis of the book on the back cover does not really tell you what the series of books, or this book in particular, is all about. Just a vague idea is all you will get.
And the surprise element is right at the start. It gives you such a jolt that you are hooked on to the book right away. So long, in school and elsewhere, we have heard about how tyrannic the British were during their rule in India. The plot of the book is set at a time when the English have conceded ground, and Indians are gaining power. So much so that the tables are reversed completely: the Indians abuse the English and oppress them.
A prominent character is the Maharaja, who is all but seventeen years old. Yet, he is the ruler of 73 provinces, as good as ruler of the World. So much power, wealth and luxury at this young age has indeed spoilt him to the core. What is more, the subjects and officers of this Indian maharaja are all English.
The book excels in its detailing and tongue-in-cheek humour. The characterization is just mind blowing. The author has brought forward the finer traits of each human being, be it the king or the common man.
This book, being a part of a series of books, only creates the prelude for the rise of the White Mahatma, who would eventually rise to fight for the right of Englishmen. But I felt that all four parts of the story should have been published together, in a big fat novel instead of part books. The reason is that one may lose track if he picks up a book that is intermediate in the series... and moreover, lot of text has to be devoted to refer to past incidents if separate volumes are used. You know what I mean? For example, the Harry Potter books also form a series... the characters grow and the plot thickens in each book, but even if you pick one up randomly, you would enjoy it as an independent novel. This was what I found missing in this book.
The overview of the following books in this series has been provided to ensure that your eyes remain on your bookstore till you get hold of the final novel.