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30279445The inhabitants of the thousand hells of Yama have broken free from their prison and vowed to wreak havoc on the heavens, the earth and hell. With the fiendish Hatakas and Narakamayas teamed up with Naganara, a terrifying necromancer hungry for power, the universe is headed for war and destruction unless one human has something to do with it.
Agni Prakash, a debonair young man whose world has been turned upside down by the death of his twin sister, Varu, has been enlisted to stop these forces and be Yama s very own lieutenant. As the mythical world clashes with his own, Agni discovers a manuscript left behind by his sister. Hauntingly, it draws parallels to the treacherous path upon which he has been thrust. Equipped with an acerbic wit and winning charm, Agni undertakes a battle, where the odds seem tipped wildly against him, and finds unlikely companions along the way.
Will he be able to uncover the secret behind his sister’s writings? And more importantly, will he be able to avert the destruction that seems imminent?

Thoughts : Yama’s Lieutenant is a book I was very excited about despite the cover. The synopsis, particularly the part about Agni, made me think I was going to get an Indian version of Death Note with mythology and some familial affections thrown in for good measure. Alas, this was not the case. The word debonair should have been a warning about the kind of language I would find in this book because of which I DNFed it.

Agni Prakash, a young boy bearing an old name, is chosen to be Yama’s Lieutenant. His real life has been turned upside down already by the death of his beloved sister Varu and being Yama’s lieutenant destroys whatever is left of it. Although he has difficult missions, he manages to execute them even though he proves to be a grave danger to himself. It is the typical story about one special boy who can stop the destruction of world and he has to meet one special girl to do it.

What could have been a fast paced, nail biting story ended up being draggy and boring for me. I found the book hard to pick up once I put it down and even when it was in my hands I found it hard to read more than a couple of pages at a time. The language is almost academic,  it almost feels like an old book, from the times of yore, when the focus was more on the description of the surroundings than the actual plot itself.

The story jumps from perspective to perspective and it’s tiring to keep track of what is going on with whom. Not to mention the explanations for simple words that any Indian with an inkling of mythology knowledge would already know (Notations at the bottom would have been better). It disturbed the flow and dissuaded me completely at the 210 page mark. It did pick up at around page 140 but not enough for me to keep reading or for me to feel connected with the characters.

I’m keeping this review a short one because I really don’t have much to say. I suppose it was my mistake to expect something like Death Note, my expectations were too high and the crash was too hard. Kudos to the author though for writing something apart from boring mythology. Yes, this is mythology but it is also set in present day so it sort of comes under the umbrella of urban fantasy and thankfully it isn’t another Ramayana or Mahabaratha retelling. I’ll say that you will like this if you like books like Pradhyumna or the author’s previous works.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.