As a reader, I have always read across genres and authors. While romance and contemporary fiction are my go-to’s, I have dabbled in pretty much every genre available. But there have been some genres I’ve skirted warily. Mythological fiction and horror are two examples of that.
With horror, it was mostly a case of reading something so brilliant that I stayed up the rest of the night with all the lights blazing…something I prefer not to do as I need to be up at 6:00 AM to head to work.
And then there was mythological fiction…A genre I wanted to love. Truly. My fondest childhood memories are of my maternal grandmother telling me bedtime stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and the countless other tales in our rich and varied past. I read several well-known aka popular books in the genre and while I liked them and enjoyed the read they provided I didn’t necessarily love them enough to read more.
And yet, it wasn’t until recently that I found authors who didn’t just help me fall in love with mythological fiction. They made me obsess about it. Obsess about the thrills, the twists, the betrayals, the angst-ridden decisions…all of it.
All of you know how much I love Falguni Kothari’s Soul Warrior. I’ve spoken about it often enough in my book recommendation lists. I mean seriously people, Karna…Who wouldn’t want to read about Karna? I adore that book and can’t wait for Book 2 to arrive which will hopefully be soon or I will just curl up in a corner and mutter to myself about the unfairness of it all and about authors who are cruel to their readers…
But coming back to what prompted this blogpost. Those of you who’ve been following my Insta/FB stories know exactly where I’m going with this…
When a friend of mine first gifted me the Guardians of Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath, I confess I didn’t think much of it. I thanked her politely and added it to my growing pile of unread books. A few days later, post reading a brilliant historical romance debut, I picked up the book for a change of pace. And I haven’t stopped reading yet. To my eternal joy, I realized there were two more books in the series after Guardians of Halahala.
Everything else, favourite genres included, have been pushed to the back of my TBR list. I am hooked. Imagine my anguish when I realized that the final book in the series hasn’t been released yet. Now, I have another reason to curl up in a corner and mutter to myself about authors who torture you with cliffhangers.
Also, we’re talking heroes (yes, heroes not hero) who are so absolutely divine that ordinary men could never measure up. I’m sorry, W, but I might be leaving you for Vikrama…even if it’s only in my head.
But this is what good writing does to you. No. Let me rephrase that. This is what great writing does to you. When strong, well thought out plots, beautifully etched characters and brilliant writing styles come together…it brings their world into yours. A whole new world. A world of magic, of drama, of royalty, of honour. A world starkly different from ours and yet, at the heart of it, the same. A world of love, of friendship, of loyalty, of vengeance, of violence, of hope.
When characters jump off a page and make you laugh with them, cry with them, dream with them, live with them and even die with them, that’s when a writer has done something most can’t. The writer didn’t just write a book. The writer didn’t just tell you a story. For a few moments of every day, the writer let you live another life. The writer let you live another’s life.
This is why I read. This is why I write. For the chance to experience words so incredible that they offer you, for a span of time, a chance to step out of the humdrum of reality and live another life. What more could a book lover ask for?