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Monday 17 June 2013

Aymaran Shadow by Hemanth Gorur

An intriguing paranormal thriller I really enjoyed: a genre which I’ve barely explored, and in this instance I was pleasantly surprised.

We get transported to three corners of the world, starting with eighteenth-century Bolivia. When we move to present-day India, our interest focuses on a young psychology student, Sanya. Like most young people, she spends the requisite amount of time on social networking. But two very unusual friend requests, some very disturbing dreams and scenes of a deja-vu nature suddenly rock her ordinary university life to the core: a past life is catching up with her and fast. Said ‘friends’ are not at all they seem to be: they trick and deceive her. She has to decide, drawing wisely on her psychology studies, which one is her friend and which is her enemy: for, if the wrong one—the one hellbent on revenge—finds her, the fate which met her in her former life will be the inevitable outcome.

I was immediately impressed by this author’s colourful writing style: he’s descriptive without being overly flowery and manages to paint a vivid and detailed picture, whether it’s the character or the setting. I think I particularly liked the balance of the normal and the paranormal which was spot on. Sanya leads a typical undergraduate life, socialising either on the internet or with her prank-playing friends and spending time with her best friend. You could almost say it was…boring, even. The paranormal aspects of the story are indeed a stark contrast, but therein lies the reason I enjoyed this relatively new experience of the genre: one foot was firmly planted in day-to-day mundanity. The other was in a world of danger, obscurity, and retribution. They all combine to a thrilling, heart-in-your-mouth, suspenseful climax.

My only ‘buts’ are that it was hard to distinguish between those characters who didn’t have proper names as such and the dialogue between Sanya and her friends and family is very ‘Indian’. Whilst probably quite normal in that culture, it translates just a little awkwardly. That said, it’s also quite charming.

At only 54k, this is a shortish book, but it hides a huge story.

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