The one thing that I as a new parent wish for my son is that he grows up to love reading like his Mum. He will one day inherit my kiddie reads that my mother has meticulously stacked at home. But being an indulgent parent I went out shopping at the Jamshedpur Book Fair to buy my son some of his own books. All hoping that one day he’ll read. Today’s kids have Hannah Montana playing and Harry Potter as their bedside reads. I wonder if anyone reads the Famous Five and Mallory Towers anymore? So quite naturally I was eager to see what kids read today. More so, what is my son likely to read in the years to come.
This review, thanks to Blog Adda is of book called The Iron Tooth by a 23 year old first time author Prithvin Rajendran. Children’s literature is extremely fascinating, and so I picked this up happily. However, the first few pages disappointed me. To be honest, the book failed to excite me until the end! The mythical world of Goodabaiya replete with mystery, adventure and romance The Iron Tooth held a lot of promise. It has all the ingredients of a children’s fiction – mythical creatures like Medusas, fairies, vampires, trolls, ghouls, an evil King, a desirable Princess and a Knight in shining armour.
I hate giving away the plot of a book in a review. So if you want to know about the story, here is where you can go.
The plot is typical of a fairy tale. The prologue which is available for a read on Prithvin’s site is teasing and gets the reader and yes even a pre-teen curious about who is the unknown father and what happens to the troll and human baby. Quite like a story with a hidden message, King Darum is shown as the flawed ruler and together with his vain daughter he brings upon a curse on his kingdom, Dashter. As he is doomed and Nova imprisoned by the evil Faerum, the reader is assured as Princix enters the storyline. The hero of the story is a young, honest man who is the ‘chosen one’ to fight evil. Bravery is lauded. Friendship is held precious. Battles are fought. There is enough drama in this 200 page book that will make you want to go ahead, but the execution is where it falters.
To begin with I wish the author used a more consistent language. In parts there are more complex words used, in some others it feels as if the author was tired of writing intelligently! There is a liberal dose of old English used, so ”thou’, ‘thee’ and ‘ye’ are abundant. There are chunks of verse that characters have either ‘chanted’ or ‘sang’. And there are heavy portions of prose describing what the characters did in passive voice. As I read along I craved for punchy lines, exchange of words between characters. Instead the text is replete with description and more description. Just the thing that made the reading more tedious than usual. Besides there were a couple of sore grammatical errors that cannot be passed off as printing errors!
It’s the author’s mythical world and so I have no authority what so ever to question him on its inhabitants. However, I felt there were far too many characters with too many similar sounding names. After a while they all became tongue twisters to me. Though Printhvin must be credited for resurrecting an abandoned letter in the English language like ‘x’ and coming up with so many nouns with it – Princix, Ushix, Elnix, Greatix, Lasixx, Enwixx!
The plot meanders to keep the reader’s interest level from ebbing. So from one adventure to another, it is quite a roller coaster ride for Princix and his loyal reader. Some of the sub plots were inevitable and predictable – like how can an adventure end without the death of one of the brave men?
Prithvin has a loving attachment to his writing. Flip to the end of the book and there are the maps of Goodabaiya and the route map to Dashter. A chronology of the Sensatic Calender, and the code to the native language Nivthrip reminded of my school days when we devised a secret code language to write chits between friends!
Prithvin’s introduction says that he has grown up to his mother’s tales of mythical creatures and his father’s gifts of He-Man toys. Quite naturally, this is where the story of Princix and his adventures germinated. There is promise in his imagination, and I won’t insult it by comparing it with JK Rowling’s, but I hope Prithvin and his editors pay a closer look at his writing from now on!
This review is a part of the <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews” target=”_blank”>Book Reviews Program</a> at <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com“>BlogAdda.com</a>. Participate now to get free books!