Yama’s Lieutenant by Anuja Chandramouli is the first book in the Yama’s Lieutenant series. It is a fantasy fiction tale of Agni Prakash fighting demons interspersed with the story of Yama and his sister Yami and various other mythical characters.
Special Bonding of Siblings
Apart from being a fantasy story of demons, demi gods, mortals and immortals the book also explores the pure bonding of brother and sister in the story of Agni Prakash and his sister Varuna and in the story of Yama and Yami. Reading this book (just by chance) when the festival of Rakshabandhan is around gives a special feeling which is beyond expression.
A quote from the book
“Vice has certain addictive quality that tend to exert an unholy attraction on the viewer.”
The story is about Yama whose power is dwindling due to a curse and with the gates of hell destroyed the demons are escaping to create havoc in the three world. Agni Prakash a mere mortal is given Yama’s power tools to catch demons. Later on he is given a mission to bring Yama’s bride safely to Patala Lok as she is the one who could recreate the gates of Hell.
Myth Fantasy a Difficult Genre
Writing fantasy is difficult specially when story demands a balance between mythology and fiction, specially when the story keep shuffling from mythological world and to present time, specially when mortals, immortals, spirits, demons, supernatural creatures, etc are all in one place playing havoc in the mind of the readers due to unawareness about the special characteristics of these alien kind of things who are either protector or destroyer of the mother earth.
Author Anuja Chandramouli to a great extent has managed to keep things simplified and pulled it off remarkably due to the grip over the language but at some places I was not able to imagine the creatures properly. Like there is someone called Hataka. Now they are living being or dead I was not able to figure out. At another point it was written Yama’s bride was killed but her spirit was secure. But a necromancer was shown sucking her blood. Clear characterization is very essential for comprehending. Also Trishana, friend of Minothi was kidnapped and killed but she again makes an appearance later in the novel. How and what happened to her author really failed to give a logical explanation.
A quote from the book
“Little moments of perfect happiness always outweighs the many moments of profound sorrow.”
Well Described Mortal Character
Characterization of mortals character’s like Agni, Varuna and Minothi were well done. Agni was a heart broken man after the untimely death of her sister followed by his parents death. Whatever life was left inside him was slowly sucked by fights with demons. Minothi’s character was remarkably written. Her fear, guilt and lack of understanding of her power were all well written which creates soft feeling for her and at one point I felt like hugging her and comforting her which was in any case done by another ghost character in the book called Pitrani.
Faltering Supernatural Character
It is the demons character’s were little difficult to imagine whether they were alive, semi dead or arose from death. Naganara, the villain appeared to be real dangerous but was not given much space in the novel. So his awe was kind of limited.
Emotions on High
Apart from the clear cut characterization problem, the novel was thoroughly enjoyable due to its novelty factor. Yama’s story was something new to read. Though familiar yet never get to read full story of Yama and Yami and their sibling love which few could understand. Even the sibling love between Agni and Varuna was portrayed beautifully yet heartbreaking. After finishing the book I actually started longing for my brother. Thanks to WhatsApp communication is never a problem.
Fantasy + Mythology
Both Yama’s story and Agni Prakash quest goes parallel hand in hand in the book though there doesn’t seems to be any real connection between the two stories. It is only towards the end some kind of connection could be seen which further raises few more questions in my mind. But writing about it here would reveal the complex climax of the story which could have been more interesting had author was not in the hurry to finish off and could have given more logical and detailed explanation of few things.
A quote from the book
“Knowledge stoles away the bliss of ignorance.”
Complex Narrative Style
The story was complex and Anuja’s narrative style was a little weird for me initially. She starts every chapter with present scenario and suddenly without any notice narration slips in the flash back mode telling about the chain of the events which led to the present situation. It was wee difficult at the beginning but once adapted to the writing style the book become relatively easier to read.
The book maintains a decent and even pace throughout and the fight scenes were vivid to imagine. For this story Anuja has created a whole new world whose vices were heavily inspired by our real modern world like social prejudice, bigotry, human greed and crime against women and little children, condition of orphanages etc. Author has tried to blend these problems with her fantasy tales but it doesn’t make any impact .
Lama’s Lieutenant has a unique combination of fantasy and myth. And fantasy lover will definitely love this book.