Awaken by Ashok K Banker
I consider mythological thriller writer Ashok Banker to be Rick Riordan of India. He has his own unique style to mold the mythological stories and add the tempering of action thrill into them and the outcome is a completely new story.
His new series Shakti Trilogy whose first book Awaken, which I have completed recently, is not exactly based on mythology, but it is a fantasy action thriller about superheroes and supervillians, well villains are yet to make their entry. May be in the second book.
The story is about three ordinary women who suddenly start feelings changes in their body and acquiring skills when the power within them started awakening after lying dormant for ages.
Now how they will hone their newly acquired skills and learn to control power, use them to save the planet from the dangerously approaching alien attacks, why three of them were chosen as preserver forms the story for the next two books of the series.
Life before superhero
The story of Saumya, Sia and Kiara runs parallel. The author wants to portray them as ordinary women facing their own issues. With each of the stories the author has raised three burning issues which really added substance to the story.
Sia belongs to Nagaland and through her story author has shown that how they are considered outsiders in their own country and mistreated at will by North Indians. I remember this issue being raised in the movie Pink. It has shaken me while reading Sia’s story.
Saumya lives in Ahmedabad with her parents who were staunch religious and caste followers and they preferred a boy over a girl. She was completely fed up with her parent’s attitude and was desperately searching for some solace when she discovers her power.
Kiara’s tale was emotional. She misses her mother terribly while her body was going through drastic changes.
It is simple, straightforward story line with no real surprises. There is no battle scene, no explanation about the characters who plays the role of supporters to superheroes, no real glimpse of super villains. Banker seems to have saved everything for the next two books.
The author has allowed his imagination to run wild while crafting superheroes but it left short with the names. Banker has chosen generic terms for the groups like Villains are named as Haters, protectors are named as Preservers and supporters are called Friends. Is the novel written for tween using simple generic terms for understanding. He should have scratch his brains for some better terms.
All in all it was a quick but an average read. It has adventure sometimes dangerous but not engrossing. Might be due to the absence of super villains.