The Sanguinarian

The Sanguinarian

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Review- Faith of the Nine by Sachin Dev

Blurb: “The Third Yuga is slowly drawing to a close. Nam – the greatest Empire on Janani – is going to face some fierce winds of change. Seers foresee omens of death and destruction in the return of the Banished One – A God who will claim the ashes of this world as revenge. While out in the streets, rumours abound – of older forgotten powers stirring.
Caught in this maelstrom of a power struggle between Gods are three ordinary lives: General Fateh, the most celebrated soldier in Nam who starts to question his faith, Ishan – a gifted orphan who struggles to comprehend his destiny and Abhaya – a young monk in search of truths about this world. Their choices and actions will shape the destiny of this scarred world that becomes the playground for vindictive Gods. In a world where Rakshasas arise out of left-over traces of Maaya and twilight forms the portal to countless worlds around us for Daityas and Yakshis to dance through, a God is only as powerful as those who believe.And when Gods rise, faith of men will be tested…And broken.” 

It is hard to come across well-written books these days...especially from a debut author. Therefore, Sachin Dev is a breath of fresh air in this scenario. 
For a debutante in fantasy fiction, a genre still not understood by many in India or chosen by budding authors as a genre to write in, Dev has done a fantastic job. 

The world-building, starting from the Nam empire itself, is amazing in both the imagination and the detailing. Namakaal, Nam-Ehrilitaan, Nam-Ching...and all other places described in the book- capture the imagination. 

The prologue details a well written fight scene, coupled with a gruesome death in Sumeria, capital of Namakaal. This draws the reader in immediately, making them want to proceed. 

From there on, the plot moves at a steady pace, and the author maintains the intrigue very well. Three stories- that of the boy Ishaan, the child prodigy, Seer Abhaya and General Fateh- move parallel to each other to come to a jaw-dropping conclusion. The central city of Nam is under an insidious threat from the old Gods, who were overthrown by the ruling empire. Anyone who worships the old Gods or follows the old ways gets hanged. 

The protagonists are very well-written. The author doesn't shy away from  putting his darlings through a lot of struggle and torture- but their ordeal and the way they fight adversity makes the character arc interesting, and the characters multi-dimensional and rich and memorable. 

What I liked most, apart from the scintillating plot, is the way the author has mixed elements from various mythologies of various faiths to formulate a unique blend of his own world, the Nam empire. He uses references from Hindu, Christian and Assyrian mythology which lend an aura of refreshing multi-culturism to the story. I also liked the sub-text of social evils and prejudice embedded in the plot and characters.

He also adds a lot of horror to the fantasy- supernatural entities bleeding from realm into realm, ancient Gods coming in the protagonists' dreams and also murdering enemies, Yakshis which look like the local version of a succubus ( and are very frightening, BTW), Rakshasaas and an Enchanted Garden which flowers on the bodies of humans and animals it consumes . The horror adds a dash of intrigue and suspense to the mystery of the plot.

On top of everything- the author writes very well. It shows how much work he put in before jumping into publication. There are a few errors in spelling and sentence structure- but otherwise, the writing is original, refreshing and inspiring. The language is excellent- readable without being pedestrian, high-quality without being flowery. 

To summarize, the great imagination, the brilliant characterization and world-building, the multicultural references, the fascinating mix of mystery, horror, supernatural and fantasy make Faith of the Nine an excellent read. 

Full marks to the author for being so good. I wish the author all the best for his future books and eagerly await his next book in the series. 

Sachin Dev is one to watch out for.

You can buy the book here: Faith of the Nine 


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