Review: The Wordkeepers by Jash Sen

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Title: The Wordkeepers
Author: Jash Sen
Series: The Wordkeepers trilogy
Pages: 262 pages
Publisher: Duckbill books and Westland ltd
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/ Mythology
Release: January 15th 2013
Buy the Book Amazon / Infibeam 
Source : review copy via Publishers (Westland ltd.)


"The wordkeeper was taken; abducted right under my nose. That left my final hope, the new wordkeeper."

Anya’s carefree teenage life is thrown into turmoil when her mother is abducted, passing on the mantle of wordkeeper to her. Her only ally for this task is a cursed immortal warrior.
In another part of the country, village boy Bilal dismisses tales about a prophecy claiming he is a messiah … until the day his dearest friend is killed in a case of mistaken identity.

Anya and Bilal need to find each other so they can fufil the old prophecy and destroy their common enemy, the vengeful god who pursues them.

The first of a trilogy, this book takes you on a breathtaking journey of fantasy and adventure, through modern cities, ancient cremation grounds, mythical planets and mystical mountains.
MeThinks:

The Hindu Mythology is so rich and colossal that there is so much of scope to fabricate a story around it and still make it unique. These days it has become a hot topic and its fetching so when such a book hits market, it catches my attention instantly. 'The wordkeepers' is one such book. It is not like another story, it is rather very unique and well researched:)
According to Hindu mythology, there are four Yugs ('epoch' or 'era') and the Author Jash Sen has skillfully connected the three Yugs-- Treta Yug, Dwapar Yug and kalyug, which in itself sounds utterly compelling.

Book Cover: 
Isn't cover captivating!!
I really like the book cover. I am giving it THUMPS UP. It looks catchy and befitting with this mysterious big captivating eye with green Iris, And the lashes-- woah!! It draws you into it. That eye is keeping an eye on Anya, Female protagonist as she walks alone in dark nights on a quest to protect... Quite eerie.

Story and Writing:
Prologue takes you five thousand years back, on the war-land of Kurukshetra, Mahabharata, to a dreadful incident where Ashwatthama-- The immortal-- was cursed for eternity by Lord Krishna himself. In Dwapar Yuga.

Book is divided into three parts.
"I, Vibhishan, past Lord of the Sinhala land of Lanka, immortal by the grace of my Lord Ram, and general of the wordkeepers, write the following..." ~page 3, Part 1
Each part starts with a 'note from an immortal' and not just any immortal but Vibhishan of Treta yuga, The brother of Ravana.

Story is set in the year of 2028. Anya, a fourteen years old female protagonist, daughter of busy professionals is confused after receiving a strange note from her mother telling her not to trust anyone, even her dad and follow the trail of clues she has scantily left for her. As she makes a daring escape and finds her way from Bangalore to the fort of Asirgarh, she meets Ashwatthama who guides her along her dangerous life-threatening quest.

The Wordkeepers are the ancient band of protecting clan originally ten in numbers, there job is to safeguard the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu -- 'Kalki'. But it is not an easy task as 'Kali'-- The Lord of Kalyug (Not Goddess Kali) is dead-set on to annihilate Kalki and thrive for eternity.

Bilal, a Muslim boy who loves cricket, his family & friend, is an important key to the prophecy of saving this world, Kali and his evil doers are hunting for him, Anya has to find him and him being a rebel constantly puts his life in danger.
"The old Anya was dead. Anya the wordkeeper had been born instead." ~ page 180
Can Prince Zohrab and Mahendra Pratap keep Anya and Bilal safe, will Anya and Bilal meet, how are they connected... well I can't tell you all that but what I can tell is that this is an utterly agreeable book for teens and YA readers.

Author Jash Sen has fastidiously crafted the story, keeping it's roots intact to Hindu mythology without spoiling its essence and given it a new modern mix of Facts and fiction. Writing is explicit without complicating things but taking to the fantasy world author has created, it made the whole story spellbinding without breaking its pace.

'You forget that I am gold, Dhoomavati,' replied Kali calmly. 'And all the vices too, he added, nodding towards cigarette stub on the carpet. 'Which is why you worship me more than you know, and I have my power over you just like I do on every other being on earth."page 61

Characters:
I specially liked that Anya is fourteen years old smart and strong young girl, she is fearless and easily adapts with the situation, she is a character every youngster and teenager would want to know about.
There was not much of Bilal in this installment, I want to see how his character grows as the series proceeds.
The Kali-- Lord of Kalyug (Not Goddess Kali)-- in this book seems very real being all conceited, arrogant and corrupt. If he actually existed in real world (Perhaps he does) then the Kali of this book will give a fine glimpse to his personality.
Kokh and Vikokh-- The twines and Kali's followers are another eerie creatures in addition to other shapeshifters.
Other characters like Prince Zohrab, Mahendra Pratap, Goddess Dhoomavati are well known to us but in the book they are mystery to be cracked and it is yet to be seen who is on whose side.
From where I live, the fort of Asirgarh, Burhanpur is not far away, From my Dad I have heard that it believed Ashwatthama still visits the lord Shiva temple at the fort, so I find this particular critical segment of the book interesting and Author has not disappointed in characterizing Ashwatthama as he kept surprising me throughout.

Overall:
Let me just say it again, Book cover is artistic, fun, detailed, eerie, mysterious... and the texture is lil' shimmery like a subtle hologram, I like it very much. It is complementing the story perfectly. This book will surely be enjoyed by Young-adult/Middle-grade readers. The wordkeepers, their genesis, Kalyug myth... Ashwatthama.. a smart female protagonist accompanying a lucid narrative delivered a delightfully engaging read.


Rating this book is a bit confusing... it is between 3.5 to 4 coffee cups depending upon your age. For someone below the age of 18-20, I wouldn't be surprised if they give it 4.5 coffee cups.
My ratings:
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Author Profile

Jash Sen is a DU, IIM graduate who worked in IT and taught mathematics while dreaming of writing a book. The Wordkeepers is Jashs first novel, and is the of a trilogy.

Website:
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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.

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