A roller coaster ride - The Fang of Summoning’ by Giti Chandra is not your typical magical story.
It is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride [ I know, this does sound clichéd, but there’s no better way to describe it], initially gathering momentum so subtly that you barely notice it, and then plunging you headfirst into a fantastically concocted fantasy that will have you gasping for breath. Hurtling between 21st century Gurgaon and the frozen mountainside of 11th century Iceland, it follows the struggle between six children and the terrifyingly sinister Edasich, or hyena.
The eye on the cover page is startlingly similar to that of the one on the cover page of Brisingr [third in the Eragon series], but is nevertheless alluring. It makes you think of bewitchment and breathtaking battles, which is what ‘The Fang of Summoning’ is about.
Amidst the blazing conflagration of the Aurora Borealis, or The Northern Lights, Vasuki, a powerful, dragon-like being leaves crystals of immeasurable enchantment or Starstones with three different guardians. Two of these guardians are lost in time.
A thousand years later, in Gurgaon, India, six cousins begin to acquire certain powers. Not your regular Superman- Wonder woman stuff, but abilities that shimmer with out of this world awesomeness. Akshat and Adit, the eighteen year old twins, can communicate with each other mentally, and can make copies of themselves; thousands of living , sentient, thinking copies of themselves.
Thirteen year old Amar can [yes, literally] play metal out of his iPod with his dextrous fingers and well timed crescendos. Ananya, his nine year old sister, can make anyone do anything she orders them to do. Two and a half year old Noor can make the pictures that she scrawls with her crayons come alive. And Tarini’s got something that the Adversary desperately wants. These gifts will ultimately lead to an epoch making battle that will determine their destines, and ours.
The third guardian, Mr. Harish Chandra, is the grandfather of the superpower possessing cousins, and trains them for the final battle that is to come. Will the children, with Vasuki’s help, triumph over Edasich, or will Edasich and his army of ‘ferals’ [untamed, hyena-like beasts] destroy the world as we know it ?
The author skilfully combines astronomy, flecks of humour, Old Norse legends, and ancient Indian mythology.
The story is crammed with tangibly real characters like quiet, wise Mrs. Chandra as well as some completely wacko ones, like Hsima, the ‘tooth fairy’ who is a charismatic, witty, buoy of a man.
The book starts off sluggishly, but after the first few chapters the tale seems to whizz past you at a breathtaking pace. Once you get past the first few overly descriptive pages, you will find the book simply unputdownable.
The book feels sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, with all the pieces fitting in snugly only at the end. Until the last chapter, you have no clue about what exactly is going on, [the parents and the uncle of the kids strike a chord with the reader since they are similarly baffled by the strange happenings] but the story is nevertheless gripping.
The book is categorized as ‘young adult fiction’, but can be enjoyed by an older audience as well.
It’s excellent that Indian authors are being encouraged to explore genres like fantasy. ‘The Fang of Summoning’ is a tale that knits together vivid descriptions, skilfully sequenced battles, and mind-boggling twists and turns.
Don’t miss it!
Price : Rs.250
Author : Giti Chandra