Twitter review: When Indian civilian Davids take on a Goliath Daesh …
Story & setting: Aadi is poised pretty on the corporate ladder, when his world gets nuked into darkness by a terrorist attack. Out of a desperate survival instinct, he & his community carve out a collective defense system, which soon snowballs into an aggressive counterattack upon the insurgents.
Aadi gets to re-live his long cherished dream to join the military instead of the corporate world. The crisis allows him to flex muscles, engage in mental games with the enemy as also delegate jobs to unlikely & untrained candidates including security guard, maid, autodriver, gardener etc. In the process, he rediscovers a soldier-leader within himself who relishes and thrives on the leadership that is initially hoisted upon his unwilling shoulders.
1] Relevant & hot topic, since Daesh is literally knocking on India’s gates
2] Breakneck pace of events with no scope for dull moments
3] Effective use of Powai, Mumbai as a setting for its lake, IIT campus with its IT geeks and its proximity to the airport
4] Innovative ideas used by citizens such as cars for barricades, tennis balls for bombs, old radios as transmitters and kitchen gardens for food supply.
5] Covers varied topics like our reliance on technology, loss of human touch & conversations, inability to work as a team due to social isolation, passive dependence of civilians upon Indian army etc
1] 1st person narrative takes away the element of uncertainty. The reader knows Aadi will survive till last page, irrespective of grenades, AK 47 bullets, bombs and knives thrown at him
2] Hiranandani hospital is manned by only 3 doctors – one of whom is conveniently young, pretty & female to fall into Aadi’s arms, flat & love. Said doctor also has the amazing powers to pinpoint Alizes & C130 fighter planes from the ground.
3] Aadi as all-rounder giving long motivational speeches, bare handedly killing Daesh terrorists, striking a balance between discordant groups and generally having most of the Eureka ideas
4] Too many civilians with military backgrounds pop up at convenient intervals to guide Aadi on his paramilitary plans
5] Some scenes tax credulity, like, the Caliph attacks Mumbai when the PM & Army chief are holed up in Delhi. Army chief needs Aadi’s brainwave to marshall his troops together. MARCOS commandoes seek Aadi’s advice for local recce (quite possible) as well as methods to deal with an imprisoned terrorist (huh???)
Verdict: In effect, the book held my interest for a good initial 65%, where a civilized world suddenly learnt to deal with goons & guns. This half explores human psyche and throws up a mixture of bravehearts, naysayers, cowards, fighters, exploiters and innovators. Thereafter, with the advent of Daesh, TOW missiles, Humvees and jingoistic messages from the PM etc the book veered slightly towards the ludicrous.
Aadi & his team would have struck a warmer, relatable chord if kept limited to a local scale rather than global; and if the author resisted the temptation to paint Aadi as Captain America/India out to save the Earth.
Yet, its a pacy novel worth a read, to acknowledge the looming terrorist horror which may befall us any moment.
Publisher: Westland Ltd
Book Page on Amazon: http://ow.ly/cHtK303WZiK