Review : Tantra by Adi

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Title: Tantra
Author: Adi
Series: The Anu Files #1
Pages: 344 pages
Publisher: Apeejay Stya Publishing
Genre: paranormal/ thriller/ Young Adult 
Release: April 7th 2013
Buy the Book Amazon / Infibeam / Flipkart
Source : review copy via Publishers(signed coy) 
Apeejay Stya Publishing and Blogadda.com

Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer.

In India, she finds more than she expected. For one thing, her fellow operatives have made a truce with the vampires. For another, it’s way too hot to wear leather.

At first, it seems Anu’s biggest challenge will be evading the nice boys her aunt wants her to marry. But when children start disappearing, she discovers forces older and darker than anything she’s faced before. All of Delhi is in danger, especially the sexy stranger who sets Anu’s pulse racing.

To prepare for the coming battle, Anu must overcome her personal demons and put aside years of training. This time, her most powerful weapon will come from her mind, not her weapons belt.

MeThinks:
Received signed copy from the publishers!! YAY!! Thanks Adi! :)
Lemme just shoutout first -- "Finally a badass no-nonsense sassy Vampire Slayer female protagonist (with a dirty mouth..Scandalous!) from an Indian Author!! Hell yeah, bring it on!!"

A vampire related story from an Indian author is first but there are gazillions of Vampire stories in the book cosmos, when someone says 'a new vampire novel', I think what new could it bring!? A part of me is always reluctant to start any new series centering around vampires, I have read that many vampire novels, Jaw dropping good once I must add. But since it is the first Vampire novel in India, set in our dear Delhi, there was no way I could resist reading Tantra by Adi. And Adi skillfully manages to bring new spin in the Vampire genre by incorporating Tantra-- India's most spooky practice. Now that's something.

On Book Cover : 
I have mixed feelings towards it, I like the color scheme, it's somewhat spooky with lightening and Anu crouched on a roof ready to jump on any vampire involved in any conspicuous activity. Though I did not get the face in the cloudy sky, does that signifies spirits?! or just special effect?

On the story : 
"Have you ever seen me wear pink? No, and there is a good reason for that." ~page 112, Anu
 Anu Aggarwal, with her stake in hand and leather gear on, she emerges in haunted nights of  Delhi to kick butts and slay vampires, but that's not the reason which dragged her to India from New York, she is on a quest of Brian's killer, her Brian, and she will not rest till she burn that alleged vampire to pieces but no one can know about her motives, her thirst for vengeance.
"This is India. Nothing is ever that simple." ~page 115
On her vigilant jumps from roof to roof in dead of night, Anu encounters a vampire on hunt insinuating towards the purposeful killing of children, where vampire in question is just a pawn to a dangerous operation on prowl.
"Are you serious? Two guardians meet for the first time and you want to talk about my clothes?"--Anu
"What do you want to do? Compare the sizes of our stakes?"-- Amit
~Page 3
Anu and Amit, two guardians of the city -- Not romantically involved -- together unravels the secret behind the killings with the help of Dr. Sharma. Initially she scoffs at the idea of Tantric activities and its affiliation with the killings but having seen the ritual from her own eyes she is set to annihilate the culprit but it is not that simple. Under the guidance of Pandit Grover and Dr, Sharma Anu is trying to unlock the Brahma astra and overcome the alluring maya, meanwhile she is fighting her attraction to a sexy human --Gaurav , trying to dodge the dekhan-dekhi and marriage clutches her aunt is planning on, and haunted by the memories of Brian. The Villain of the story-- Baba Senaka -- the Tantric in disguise is an uncanny creation by the author which led to a spine-chilling stupefying climax with some unexpected revelations. 

Characters:
As mentioned, Anu Aggarwal, the female protagonist is strong, fearless and bodacious, is capable of taking care of herself in dark alleys of Delhi at nights. She is witty, sassy and has a quirky charm; she is a Damsel but not in distress. She knows how to use her weapons (pun intended). Her partner or co-guardian Amit is another interesting character with a smart mouth who never fails to crack up the situation with his ingenious remarks
Baba Senaka is one of those Villains who never fails to fright, I find him more real than any other character of the book, he has not only mastered the Tantric astras, playing the dangerous game but is also brimming with over confidence, He is my favourite character from the book.
Gaurav-- Anu's love interest, I rather found him boring and really hoping she opens her eyes and see Chandra-- head of vampires/ Panch-- is a wicked rugged gazillion years old Vampire with a smirk that gets under Aun's skin. He is a Mystery to me and I am looking forward to more of Chandra in the next instalment.
Other side Characters like Baba Senaka's acolytes, Suresh, Karim, Anu's aunty, Anu's cousin, Karta kept the story engaging.

Writing:

What I really liked about this book is the lucid writing, the witty narrative tone, which never fails to make you laugh and kept me on edge anticipating the next scene throughout. It wasn't fancy or forced unlike some other annoying books but natural and more bona fide. The Banters between Anu and Amit or Anu and Chandra are most appealing, though there were a lot less of Anu and Chandra for my taste, I guess Author is saving it for the next instalment.
Author kept the concept of 'Shifting' vague; I wanted to understand that, though at one point he tried to explain it a bit. Every book has its own backdrop of Vampires and their origin, I was disappointed that author did not explain the origin of his vampires (hopefully he saved that for the next instalment), though he did had a theory on why-vampires-are-so-fast-strong-powerful, their workings etc and I found it rather convincing.
The concept of 'Threads' is one of the most intriguing parts along with the explanations of all types of Ratris and their powers, astras, balance and relation between satvvik and tantric activities, maya etc.

The trend of bringing Mythology in modern scenario was started by Rick Riordan when he introduced a modern Greek demigod, since then it has become a hot topic and Adi has utilized the most eerie spooky Tantra concept pretty well which will surely be welcome by the younger generation overseas as well.

Overall Vampires+Tantra+badass-heroine+creepy-scary-Villain results in a fantastic spellbinding world.

Quotes:
"There are no good and evil here, merely connections, relationships and most importantly actions, reactions, consequences." ~ page 142
"You must temper your actions, your karma with dharma, our duty and values. There is no greater sin than to shrink what is your duty. Sometimes your duty takes you places that you do not want to go..." ~ Page 262

0.5 extra cups for the jocular banters b/w Anu and Amit . 

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Author Profile

Adi grew up reading fiction books by flashlight, hiding under the covers, pretending to be asleep. While it would certainly affect his academic life the next day, he did go on to get degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University, so it was not all that bad.
Somewhere along the line, a poetry book and a minor textbook were published. He wishes he could withdraw all copies of said poetry book from the market. At the time, it was poignant, but now it is just embarrassing.
He’s always given more credit for his successes in life to those late-night reading habits of years ago than to the high-school academics he trudged through, and he yearned to write one of those books himself.
Deeply impressed by the vast religious history of India, he could not help but pick this topic for his first novel.

Find the Author
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I like to keep things Sweet & Tangy sometimes bitter & strong, I write when words rhymes with my emotions. I firmly believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and can make a change in the society ergo my words always aim for that.

An engineer who is occasionally published in Newspapers (INT) and anthologies, curious soul that is eternally filling the bucket of knowledge. Bibliophile who loves reading all the time. An ordinary girl that loves science and art, blogging, different languages, fancy cooking, travelling and flying (hopefully someday with real wings). Believes in humanity & spreading smiles.

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