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Engaging and Endearing
by Ramendra Kumar

The phenomenal success of the Harry Potter series created a renaissance. The product was really hot in the market and no author or publisher wanted to miss the gravy train. As a result there was a virtual deluge of new avatars of the Rowling creation. To impress the readership the writers pulled out all stops, pushing the envelope and moving from the arena of the fantastic to the realm of the bizarre. What Rowling can do we can do ‘scarier, gorier and even more macabre’ was the war cry. Most writers’ experiments with fantasy came a cropper; some lived to fight another battle, while a few did taste success.

In this tsunami of fantasies I found a book which comes like a refreshing zephyr. Roopa Pai’s ‘Taranauts: The Quest for the Shyn Emeralds’ is a tale which is endearing and engaging and is sure to appeal to the young and the young at heart.

It is the story of a different universe called Mithya ruled by the just and popular Emperor Shoon Ya. His evil twin Shaap Azur breaks out from his prison and captures the 32 stars that bathe the eight worlds of Mithya. Three youngsters or Mithyakins – Zvala, Zarpa and Tufan are chosen to rescue the stars because they have superpowers. Zvala is the child of fire, Zarpa of the super serpent while Tufan is the child of the wind. The young Taranauts are up against several challenges, each more formidable than the other. They are fighting against time and an enemy that is diabolical and ruthless. Do the Taranauts succeed in rescuing the Shyn Emeralds? Pick up the book and let me tell you, dear reader, you won’t be able to put it down till you find out!

The language is simple and Pai’s puns and her inventive, often cheeky play on words make for delightful reading.

The book which has been published by Hachette India has excellent production values. Priya Kurian deserves kudos for the cover, which is outstanding, as well as the inside illustrations that complement the text beautifully.

And I haven’t given you the best news yet: ‘The Quest for the Shyn Emeralds’ is only the first in an eight part series! So, happy reading! 

23-Sep-2010
 
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