By Kainat Sarfaraz:
Penning a mythology can be a tricky task. The writer has to pique the interest of the readers, keep them hooked on to his work and also create a storyline which does not alienate them. At all points, there should be something which the readers can relate to. It might be an idea, a place, a person or a feeling. Writing his first novel, Olivier Lafont understands this and thus Warrior holds on to your interest despite not allowing much room for credulity.
Set in Mumbai, the book opens with the thoughts of a watch-mender, Saam, who is the only earthly demi-god child of Shiva. The story begins with an anomaly when the monsoons in Mumbai bring in snowfall with them. A little while later, there is even blood rain. By including such bizarre details, Lafont creatively sets a backdrop for the End of Days. Yes, the world is about to end soon and predictably, only Saam can change the course of it. With just three days in hand and six companions, the warrior embarks on a journey to find a way to stop the chaos and bring back life to normalcy. Accompanied by his mortal beloved Maya and his dubious half-brother Ara, Saam travels across states, and even worlds, to seek things which would help him in his mission. But towards the end of the journey, he is betrayed by two of his companions. That is the biggest twists in the 375 pages that you go through.
Warrior has all the ingredients of a Bollywood masala movie. It is no wonder that the plot was being written as a film script initially. As a first time author, Lafont has done a decent job. The pace of the story seems disjointed in parts and yet it captures your attention throughout. The plotline is a bit predictable despite the twist mentioned earlier. However, the writer spins out impossible scenarios and events with remarkable ease and details. His imaginative skills are impressive and the book is full of rich descriptions. Be it the streets of Mumbai or the abode of the Naagraj, be it giants or pterodactyls, the writer has painstakingly gone into the details to bring out a vivid picture for his readers.
Apart from dealing with mythology in a new way, the writer has also researched on our history in order to relate both the ideas. Warrior also tries to wed science and mythology in an attempt to explain the intricacies of our universe. Despite being an interesting attempt, it did not turn out to be a successful one. Science and spirituality have always been connected in some way or the other. Mythology, however, is a different ball game altogether. And yet, this is a subjective opinion. The readers should decide for themselves. The book should be read by those who are smitten by the genre of fantasy. As for others like me, who prefer realistic tales, Warrior will not give you much to mull over.
Spoiler alert: The book also suggests how Einstein came up with his mass-energy concept. How? Read it to know more.
To find out more about the author, read Kainat’s interview with Olivier Lafont on his love for fantasy stories and what’s next in the pipeline.