Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

The Blurb

Deep within the womb-like forests of the Western Ghats, an entity manifests itself at the malevolent moment when the ocean rises to devour hundreds of thousands. Kencha, an unwitting witness to Its birth, is soon found dead – his body branded with a strange message written in HaLegannada, an ancient version of modern Kannada. Even as Dhruv Kaveriappa, Chief Conservator of Forests - Hassan division investigates Kencha’s death, he senses an unseen danger in the forests of Kukke, Bisle and Sakleshpura. Animals drop dead; plants wither away and just as he feared, the forest claims its first victim. Shivaranjini, on vacation in Sakleshpura, suffers a devastating tonic-clonic seizure moments after she returns from a visit to the forest. Soon, she begins to exhibit a bizarre personality disorder. Perhaps there is an outbreak of an unknown rabies-like disease? Or, as ridiculous as it seems, could it be a case of tantric witchcraft? 

The truth unfolds in a dizzying maelstrom of events - a truth far too terrifying to comprehend

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The Revenge of Kaivalya is one difficult book to review. Not because I don’t resonate with the story. I do. But it does not follow a linear story line. The Author keeps the reader busy following the plot changes, the POV shifts and small incidents forming the framework of the main event. Sumana Khan keeps us on our toes with this story.:)

I had heard great reviews about this book. Few of my friends even said that this book should not be read in the dark. It is a horror story in a true sense. I mocked at them. Put the kids to bed and under the warm glow of a 40watt bulb started my Kindle. 

The story is of Kaivalya. A young orphan from the pages of history who comes to haunt our world due to a curse. For whom she comes is a mystery, but it does affect the lives of many. A forest officer – who loses a friend and whose life was thrown in the path of the wrath of Kaivalya since his newfound love, Tara held a piece of this mystery. One innocent couple whose wife is possessed by Kaivalya to seek her revenge. Why the wife is chosen is again a mystery or was it a random act of a deranged spirit? A young boy kidnapped and he somehow forms the link to this mystery. Many lives haunted, many lives destroyed. Parallel to this story is the story of a kidnapper, a psychopath. Strangely, a good psychopath :D.(I like him) There are many roads travelled in this story to reach a certain point. A point which starts from the beginning of the pages, creates  a few nail biting moments and a few curses thrown when the story takes another tangent. A very difficult thing to do, but Sumana has managed to do this with a great flourish. ( I need to get a manicure done after reading this story btw. :) )

What I liked
1) The gripping tale was interwoven in a very interesting way. If you start this book, you wouldn’t want to keep it down.

2) Few shivers. Very difficult to create without the sound effects. (Fluffy, my little Pomeranian, helped. As soon as Kaivalya levitated.. he let out a chilling cry in the middle of the night. He never does that. (My heartbeat went through some major rhythm changes.:)

3) Research very well done. Being a Karnataka history student myself, I understand the digging Sumana had to do for this. (Though not one page of this story can be called a history lesson, which often many such stories end up as, but the history formed the backdrop of the story which answered many of the whys and hows.)

4) I wanted to know why the burning smell was there. I wanted to know why her eyes were depicted like that and I wanted to know who she really was after. A 300 page book becomes an easy read when so many ‘wants’ pushes you forward to reach the end.

5) The places and the food described in this story is very authentic. Felt damn homesick :( The Dosa’s with butter on top and filter coffee… JP Nagar and Malleshwaram were nostalgic moments.Thanks for those Sumana. 



1. Too many characters. Was difficult to keep up with all of them. Specially when the story was going in different directions after every two pages. But … in the end, all the characters had a role to play. So, if I found it difficult to keep up, Sumana much have had quite a juggle to make each character believable and walking towards the common goal.

2. Why Kaivalya was born like that. I wish I knew. For that is a nagging question that is buzzing around me and though it does not change the story in any way… I still would want to know a why. Well, I am a curious soul. :)

3. The ending. I cannot say much regarding this, but only one thing. God helps those who help themselves would have been something I would have related more to as a reader. (This is only for the author’s eyes :D for those who haven’t read this book won’t understand why I am suddenly preaching here. Psst… I am speaking in a code language which only those who have read the book will understand. 

Would I recommend this book : Definitely. In fact, I insist! Especially, if you want to have a cold whisper of breath at the nape of your neck, a sudden spurt of goose bumps on your arm and the sound of cricket suddenly stops outside in your garden, invoking an eerie stillness… Read it.

A word of caution: Don’t cook while reading this book. The burning smell will scare you! Giving it in writing so that you cannot say I did not warn you. Come-on Bravehearts… pick it up and do share your thoughts so that I don’t feel that I am the only chicken whimpering in fright here.

Meet the author

The Author's Thoughts

In the early stages of my manuscript, I knew the title of my novel had to be the name of the principal character. And it could not be just any name. It had to fit into the storyline - from a time perspective, as well as setting the atmosphere. It had to sound ancient and also define the character. Tall order!

As I read up on the history of Vijayanagara, I hoped to come across a good, strong name...but history, largely, is about men and their wars and conquests. I hoped to select a name from our puranas. But nothing clicked. What about our stotras? Maybe the lalitha sahasranama? Or ashtalakshmi stotra? One evening I sat mulling on 'Kausalya'...thanks to the most famous line 'Kausalya supraja Rama purva sandhya pravarthathe' from the Suprabhata :) I went to bed with that line in my head.

The next morning, somehow, ‘Kausalya’ had transformed to ‘Kaivalya’. I did not remember coming across the name in any of my previous research. Curious, I looked up what ‘Kaivalya’ stood for. And was fascinated.   Read More ........
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At May 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Sundari Venkatraman said...

Good point of view. I like your review Rubina :)

At May 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Thank you Sundari :)

At May 15, 2014 at 3:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the way you reviewed in the book in a detailed fashion. It increases the interest for the book-good and minuses.

At May 31, 2014 at 11:39 PM , Blogger The Book Club said...

Thanks a lot Vishal for dropping by :)


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