Book Review: Yama by Kevin Missal


Book: Yama

Author: Kevin Missal 

Publisher: Half Baked Beans 

Genre: ‘Dead’-ly thriller

In One Line: Kill the sinned to purify with society and not be called a sinner.

Characterisation: The story is about a man who dresses up as Yama to kill those who have sinned. And he kills them basis the sin as mentioned in the Gita. This is believable. There are more types of people in this world than we can imagine. There is an ex-army man who Yama sends letters to because he wants to play the ‘catch me if you can’ game with him. This is believable too. The other characters like the reporter, the ex-army man’s nephew who helps him, his family all are believable.

What I couldn’t believe and what I didn’t like, though, was the sudden killing of two characters by a supposed cannibal who was roaming freely on the streets. This cannibal’s name was dropped a few times during the passage of the story but wasn’t really developed. So, suddenly, his appearance towards the end, and his act, was a little over dramatic.

Also, I would have liked to see some other characters developed a little more. There were lots of names and things were happening at a fast pace. Somewhere, at times, it seemed a little rushed. Being a suspense thriller, had it been ‘meatier’, the fun would have been more.

Language: The short paragraphs and easy language kept the pace of the book fast. There was always something happening as the pages were flipped. The author manages to maintain the suspense till the end.

Plot SettingIt’s based in Delhi and Vasant Kunj and Sanjay Van are names that one can identify with. But, since, a lot of the ‘acts’ and ‘analysis’ was done indoor, ‘Delhi’ doesn’t come out too much.

Book Cover Art: The black and red picture of the protagonist who calls himself Yama on the cover was direct and to-the-point. I liked the way the picture and the colour of the title have been blended. But, I wish, what’s shown in the back cover was instead used as a backdrop in the front itself. The white background makes it look a little naked. Or, maybe, if some graphic in context to the Gita were added to the front cover then it would have added greater appeal to it. Especially since it plays as important a part as the protagonist.

How’s the Title: Sometimes single word titles are pretty impactful. This one did its job. It definitely reads much better than if the author had named it on the lines of ‘Yama’s Revenge’.

Just a thought – would a tagline have helped? Like, maybe, ‘the man who wanted to cleanse’ or ‘the follower of the Gita’? This one’s an open question to the readers.

Is The Blurb Catchy: The mention of the three characters and the way the paragraphs have been placed is appealing. But the first sentence “What Will you do if you have 24 hours to save someone” gave me the first impression that it is about a single ‘save’. In a way, it is a little misleading (also because the time that Yama gives gets reduced each time)

Learning From The Story: I definitely learnt a lot about the different types of sin and accordingly the kind of punishment that one ultimately meets. Just wondering, is there a reverse also that exists? For each type of good deed, is there a prize / recognition that complements it?

Areas Of Improvement: Noticed a few errors. This is the starkest. Page 4 says that the ex-army man, Iravan, was called Kabir when he was in the army. It was done to make them gel with the Kashmiris where he was posted. Page 41 says that Iravan’s daughter is also in love with a guy called Kabir. Page 84 tries to make up for this lack of availability of names by saying that the latter was spelled as Kabeer. I will just make a sad face and leave it at that because otherwise it’s a nice story.

My second issue was with the pace in the latter half. The story seemed a little rushed from after the first half. The plot was complex enough with enough twists for it to go on for more pages without becoming monotonous.

What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: There’s some sin hiding in all of us. If we realize it and try to make amends then there’s forgiveness. But if we don’t, then some force, someday, will give us our due punishment. There’s no escape from it.

 My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book: smiley - cool   

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