Never judge a book by its cover . You might have heard this a million times in so many different contexts, never once in its literal meaning. Well, I had the chance of experiencing this through a recent book I received called Rafflesia – The Banished princess.
The book cover has an image of a beautiful woman (Probably resembling a Japanese girl) holding a hand fan covering part of her face. The title reads Rafflesia – The Banished princess and you’ll be naturally inclined to think, this is a mythical / fantasy story. Probably a beautiful princess in a far away kingdom, banished by an evil watch for whatsoever reason and so forth.
Yet, the book is not even remotely about it , and in fact a normal fictional drama. Before you proceed reading, I’d like to stress that , this is a spoiler free review and I’m not revealing any of the main plots in the below review.
The book is a fine mix of young adult fiction and a serious drama , as the author decides to switch back and forth between the protagonist’s childhood and his future. Though some parts might get a little slow and melodramatic , it still keeps the reader quite engrossed in the happenings of the story. The dialogues, experiences and events seem quite real and authentic , and the book thankfully stays away from the fictional cliches away and makes it a little enjoyable
This 400 page book may not be the kind of book , that you might be able to finish it in a day or two. It needs time, yet in the end it proves to be a delightful read. The author deliberately leaves a lot of loose strings in several parts of the story , only to bring it all together in the end.
Gautam, the author of the book, has given immense importance to the lead character,Appu and makes the readers sympathize with him and even feel sorry for him at times. The best part about this book is, its non descriptive. Unlike other authors, who takes time in describing a staircase for 2-3 pages, he gets straight to the point.
The few downsides of the book could be the numerous characters being deployed. It’s almost impossible to remember more than 60% of the names being mentioned. I had to kinda make note of who’s who or keep switching back pages. Additionally , you feel a sense of melancholy throughout the book and this may not be a cheerful read as you might expect to be. Even in a celebration , there’s a sadness that lingers away in the background and I sometimes even wonder if this was needed at that point.
Having said that the book is a delightful slow read, a promising bold attempt from the author and would definitely recommend to people who’s looking for something new.