Sunday, March 18, 2007

The secret revealed

Just back from the vacation. Finished The Manticore's Secret by Samit Basu. It's the second in the GameWorld trilogy, the first being The Simoqin Prophecies. Some disclaimers before I say anything more
1. I don't read much fantasy
2. Whatever fantasy I choosily, occasionally read I usually like
3. I don't like the terms science fiction and fantasy being clubbed together, viewed as one and the same genre, or works being described as SFF (science fiction/fantasy).

Overall I like the book in a way, because I think it's in a class of it's own. I'm tempted to say that the series was conjured up to bank on the success of the Potter books/LOTR movies, just like Five Point Someone led to a horde of such books. TMS does borrow from wildly dispersed sources, as the back cover blurb itself says, but it does it in a way which is enjoyable and unique. That again does not imply that it's just a goulash of borrowed ideas - but the borrowed ideas are cheekily and enjoyably parodied. Maybe the author could have made it a little less obvious by not having a 'Dark Tower' a la LOTR.

The idea of a "GameWorld" and the justification for the name is actually developed in this volume. Even though the first volume had the trilogy name on the spine but it failed to mention anything which would explain the reasoning behind the name. (Hm on second thoughts better check the first volume again in case I missed it).

The propensity of the author to take well known names from mythology/the current real world and use them reversed to name his characters/locations is such that you'll end up checking every unusual name against this theory even though most of them do not fit this.
The gods-in-the-sky routine pops up every few pages towards the end. A little tiresome, that. And evidently the book is bolder in it's treatment of "racy" scenes as compared to Part One.
My favourite aspect, however, remains the alternate world, or should I say the alternate Indian subcontinent. I think that's why I've stuck to the books.

Currently reading The Legends of Pensam, a gift from my cousin. A beautiful book, that's all I can say right now.

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