Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Destiny of Shaitan" - by Laxmi Hariharan (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


"Partially set in a dystopian Bombay of the future, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.

Yudi, Tiina & Rai embark on a mission to save the universe. Sent to retrieve the Isthmus from the ruthless Shaitan, Tiina seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Shaitan is determined to stop them at any cost. The three friends must learn to trust each other and overcome their fears as they fight towards the ultimate showdown. The universe is at stake and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?"

About the Author
"I am a writer, technophile & dare I say, a futurist, with a penchant for chai and growing eye-catching flowers. Wanderlust drove me out of my home country India and I travelled across Asia, living in Singapore and Hong Kong before coming home to London. I am inspired by Indian mythology; I draw strength from the stories my grandmother narrated to me as a child. It is in acknowledging my roots that I found my voice. When not writing I love walking in the woods with my soulmate, and indulging my inner geek.
I would love to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or my website."

It is not every day one comes across a book that includes mystical figures, epic battles, shapeshifters, and cheating boyfriends who swear they will never stray again…and so much more!  Yet Laxmi Hariharan has managed to weave an intricate tale that includes all of the above…and then some. 

The Good
In this futuristic story based heavily on Indian mythology, there are angry gods and goddesses, an anthropomorphic ship, creatures inbreeding with one another to create entirely new creatures that can change their form, killer bees the size of vans, an old curse, and a three-way friendship destined to save the galaxy as they know it.  The storyline itself is very strong and captivates a reader’s attention from the first.  There are elements familiar to most readers (love triangles, cheating individuals, complicated family situations) as well as elements familiar to some readers (example: naga...the only reason I know what naga are is because I play World of Warcraft and naga are found as in-game characters). 

The characters draw readers in.  Hariharan has done a wonderful job creating characters with realistic emotions, interactions with their surroundings and past, and artfully uses flashbacks to explain the characters we have already met.

It is exquisitely difficult to realistically (as much as possible anyways) portray a futuristic drama unfolding in a place where there are half human / half animal creatures running about, where people live on nearly all of our nine planets (Pluto will always be a planet to me) and then a few extra, and yet Hariharan does a fairly good job.  The planet hopping present through much of the book makes sense, even if Mimir is a rather internally contradictory fellow. 

I applaud Hariharan for this work!  It is intriguing, moves quickly, and has plot points that make so-inclined readers want to hitup wikipedia to do some learning on naga, Indian mythology, and/or space travel.  :)

The Bugly (Bad/Ugly)
Too much is happening, too busy.  In my humble opinion, some scenes are given a lot of detail while others that I’d judge just as important are merely skimmed through seemingly for the sake of space.  Fight scenes are brief and abrupt, as are some of the descriptions.  There are too many adjectives in some places and not enough in others.  Several times I was left wondering how a character had gotten from one place to another as there was no description of that person walking or anything like that.  No sooner do we get used to the characters at hand than someone new is introduced…and not just someone who would seem to be a background character meant to flesh out the plot.  Nope, each new character introduced seemed to need a book all his/herself. 

I’m sorry, but the “son is destined to kill his father” routine has also been done to death.  Sure, there was a new twist to this one as there are two sons of Shaitan and we are left to the very end to know which one will have the opportunity to kill his pops.  Sure, we have some added elements of intrigue and suspense here as Tiina finds out something interesting about the twin sister she was separated from as a child.  I’ll even grant that intrigue is added when the anthropomorphic ship and Yudi spar back and forth for Tiina’s affections.  This does not, however, erase the fact that Tiina as a taxi driver who drives an airborne vehicle and follows lines of air-traffic – oh, and she happens to be running from the cops – sounds awfully similar to the opening scenes of “The Fifth Element”, a movie in which Bruce Willis is a futuristic taxi driver who drives an airborne vehicle that follows lines of air traffic and is running from the cops.  Oh, and they both find a damsel in distress who needs rescuing.  Of course, these damsels take slightly different paths in the two forms of entertainment, but the striking similarities bugged me a little. 

As for the writing style itself, I would gripe about it a bit but the fact is that the author used a style that I am simply not a fan of, and for that I cannot fault her too much.  It seems a little choppy and rough around the edges to me, but someone said the same about a work that I recently read and I didn’t see where that someone was coming from. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend with the caveat that there are some rough edges to get past.  It is a very good story despite a plot line that tries to do just a little too much in the space available and so shortchanges what could have been a trilogy length work.  I liked the story, just thought the overall work was a tad too busy. 

Overall, on a 1 to 10 scale ranking, I give this work a 6.   

You see the thingy below? It is an entry to a giveaway!!


  1. This is a very thorough and thoughtful review Nora, thank you so much for being part of the tour - you rock!

    Novel Publicity

  2. Hi Nora, thank you for your insightful review. This novel is the first in the Chronicle of the Three. I hope to explore the characters of Tiina, Artemis and some of the others introduced here in more detail in the second novel, Return to Seven Islands. Thank you for taking the time to read and review The Destiny of Shaitan :) I appreciate it.