Home / Books / Svaha – A Battle of Epic Proportions by Pratik Kamat | Book Review

Svaha – A Battle of Epic Proportions by Pratik Kamat | Book Review

While the real world around us is facing restrictions and the ways of living are changing overnight, access to digital books has been lifelines for a lot of people in isolations. When continuous access to news feeds is giving you nothing but bad news, it is good to be able to escape into the world of fiction. Sometimes the story of someone else’s life puts our own in perspective and sometimes it can entertain the blues away.

Book Title : Svaha – A Battle of Epic Proportions
Author :
Publisher : Westland (6 May 2014)
# of Pages : 240 (Paperback)
1957 KB; 240 (Kindle Ebook)

# of Chapters : 64
Purchase Link(s) :

Being avid book lovers, the Thinkerviews team is great at filling our Kindle account with lots of gems and as you might have noticed, we have been exploring a lot of Kindle books in last few months. Today we are talking about one such digital e-book published in 2014. The first book by author Pratik Kamat is called Svaha: The Battle of Epic Proportions.

Cover Page:

Featuring a young woman in an almost dancing pose while the apocalyptic world is turning to dust in the background, the cover page has quite a futuristic, sleek outlook. At first glance, the young woman could be any of today’s westernized music-loving youth with wild hair and an almost trance-like expression. The name of the book is spelled out in sharp fonts emphasizing the end of the world scenario and the battles featured in the book.

Svaha - A Battle of Epic Proportions by Pratik Kamat | Book Cover

Svaha – A Battle of Epic Proportions by Pratik Kamat | Book Cover

I think it is quite a smartly designed cover page and will definitely attract readers from various genres including sci-fi, thrillers and quests.

Story Line:

The book takes off with a pirate ship drilling in the dangerous seas at Southern tip of the Indian subcontinent for a mythical object. They reach their goal, but almost everyone perishes in the process.

We meet young Slash. It has not been a good day as she has just failed her exams. In a very drunk state, she is racing her bike on the wrong side of Mumbai’s fastest roads when she meets with an accident. However, she is plucked back from the depths of the ocean and left on the pavement to make her way back to her home. In a state of complete disbelief, she talks to her friend Nikhil about her miraculous survival. Nikhil comes up with an idea of checking the CCTV footage. And so they hack into the government network and watch a man’s figure performing a flying rescue of Slash. Who is this – Superman?

In a separate thread, the most elite group of soldiers from Indian armed forces is looking for this same mysterious person – they call him Soldier X. And when they are alerted by Nikhil’s hack into government systems, they figure that now they have found a way to trap Soldier X. If they get Slash, they can get soldier X.

With no other way left to find this savior, Slash repeats her jump in the sea and is saved again. Soldier X finally reveals himself and why he has been saving Slash from all the dangerous situations that she regularly gets herself into. She has a destiny bigger than she could have imagined:

Thousands of years ago, before the great divide, the Earth was home to three races – gods, demons and humans. Then the Universe split itself into three, rendering each side incapable of coming in contact with the other. The Gods and demons were banished from entering Earth, leaving humans alone.

But there are gateways between these worlds and one person on Earth in each generation holds the responsibility to keep these gateways closed and thus protect humanity. And you guessed right – Slash is that person. And the symbols on her skin are indicating that the gateway is about to open.

So where is the danger coming from?

It is from the group that paid the pirates to dug out the mystical weapon from the Indian ocean – the Chandrahasa sword which also opens the gateway and allows demons to enter the human world and create havoc. A powerful religious group has been organizing for ultimate revenge on their enemies by performing rituals of monstrous sacrifices, so that the Chandrahasa sword will answer to a new master.

Now that Slash has accepted her mission, she starts looking for clues. But this process is hampered by the fact that she is abducted by the armed forces looking for soldier X. Slash escapes with help of a hacker called AJ and eventually manages to lead themselves to the location of sacrifice.

But they are too late to stop it from completion and one of the most powerful monsters is about to set itself loose on the earth.

If the only way for Good to win over Evil would be through breaking the one, sacred, unbreakable rule of Svaha, does the world have a chance? Who will break the rule and what will be the consequences…

Views and Reviews:

If you are wondering from the storyline as to what is Svaha:

The Rule of Svaha – The unbreakable, unbendable and unchangeable law that states that all that is created must one day be destroyed.

The rule reminded me of the famous couplet from the Bhagvad Gita, that everything that is born, must die. Death is the only inevitable for every life and absolutely vital to maintain the cyclic nature of the Universe.

So with such a premise, this book is a good start leading to a “Battle of Epic Proportions” – especially as it actually rehashes “A Battle” from a well-known epic :)… As you can imagine, with a few distinct threads featuring the journey of a few different characters that eventually come together by the end, the book has a lot going on and keeps the chase and thrill quotients of the journey alive throughout.

Pratik Kamat has taken many interesting concepts and created a good mix of different conflict situations including the tension between India and China over North-East frontier, the decades long battle of Tamilians in Sri Lanka and the politics of South vs North India or Aryan vs Dravid influences.

The readers will naturally have their own opinions about these aspects and may or may not agree with the author, but every fictional story that portrays conflicts created by humans derives some inspiration from the world we create around ourselves as well as what we inherit from previous generations and what we receive from our surroundings.

The main characters here are young and vibrant -take Slash for example. She is nineteen, sports dreadlock and tattoos (not quite “the girl next door” look 🙂 ), drives supercharged motorbikes, enjoys punk and psytrance and most of the time feels lost and abandoned in this world. Like most heroines, she has a best friend who adores her in Nikhil, but it takes her the whole book to recognize his potential as a “love interest”.

But she is still looking for that elusive essence of life that all youngsters yearn for. She does not want to follow the ordinary path where:

Her entire life would be spent serving a faceless corporation selling useless products to mindless people.

While Slash is looking for someone to trust, the other protagonist Nadar is being asked to show unquestioning belief into the ideas and orders of the one person he cares for the most in the world. Pratik Kamat gives us a lot of food for thought here as he talks about various aspects of belief and how it makes different people do different things:

Belief was a fundamentally irrational emotion that caused men to do things, they would never ordinarily do in their lives. It was that unshakable and yet irrational belief that when you jump, there will be someone to catch you. It was a leap of faith that only the jumper would understand.

Belief clouds reason – Humans are so ashamed of the worthlessness of their lives that they’ll jump at the first lie that’s thrown at them.

A lie you believe in offers much greater strength than a truth you can doubt.

A strong belief can help people overcome their fears and fight for what they believe is the right cause. The book journeys towards the battle between two sides. Typically every battle is between good and bad. But the book also highlights that every war also includes lots of shades of grey and that every side believes in the superiority of their own cause. That’s what makes the soldiers on both sides go on fighting:

Good and bad don’t exist in the court of nature’s law. They are just labels made by humans depending upon their vantage point. Nature is unconcerned with morality.

When you look at any conflict, any war, all the crime and sadness happening around us, there are times when you question why there has to be so much suffering in this world. It will be easy to blame destiny or God, but isn’t a lot of that is humanity’s own making?

Gods don’t exist to prevent bad things from happening. Whichever religion one might follow, hearing stories about gods who have struggled and triumphed over their difficulties gives people the courage and resilience required to keep going on in the darkest of days. No god can fight your war for you, that is something you have to do for yourself. In the end, it is you, and you alone, who has to defeat every demon that stands in your path. The best gods can do, is give you the strength to fight these wars.

And every age has its own weapons – from mythical swords and astras to today’s nuclear warheads. The author makes an interesting point in how one age’s day-to-day occurrences could appear like unbelievable and mythical stories to another age:

It is difficult to believe that myths really do exist. But look at it from a different perspective. To a person from a different era, everyday things like phones, airplanes and the internet would seem nothing less than magic. We know that it is science, not wizardry, behind the phone.

Every supernatural happening has followed a very specific logic. There are two different worlds following two different sets of physical laws, and the gateway is a door between these two worlds.

The author brings some of our most beloved characters to life in this tale while also reviving some mythical weapons and fearsome villains. It is generally a well-written and enjoyable book with only a few places with typo errors, e.g., in chapter 17, the character says:

“But unfortunately, it was something I had do.”
This should read
“But unfortunately, it was something I had to do.”

The book could have used some more editing checks to make it a tighter thriller as there were a few places, where I thought twice about the logic of the chain of events or the sequence of actions and went to and fro to check with where we left the characters in a previous scene.

For example, if the characters escape before sunrise, should they be facing sweltering heat of the day in almost no time? Or if the mythical Chandrahasa sword can not be used against unarmed opponents, how can it kill a girl who has no weapon and is almost past fighting? But it is all in the flow of the narrative and at the end of it all, the author wants to restore our faith in the path of righteousness.

Summary:

Svaha is the book to pick up if you are looking for a tale of a battle that every age needs to fight to find their equilibrium. Pratik Kamat has given us an enjoyable story in this first installment and the book ends with a promise of the next war, so a sequel is expected and we look forward to it…

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7.5 to 8 out of 10.

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Over To You:

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