The Simoqin Prophecies, first published in 2003 in India, was critically acclaimed and an instant bestseller. It marked the beginning of Indian fantasy writing in English.
Written with consummate ease and brimming with wit and allusion, it is at once classic sff and subtle spoof, featuring scantily clad centauresses, flying carpets, pink trolls, and homicidal rabbits.
Monty Python meets the Ramayana, Alice in Wonderland meets The Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood meets The Arabian Nights in this novel-a breathtaking ride through a world peopled by different races and cultures across mythology and history.
The Prophecies foretell the reawakening of the terrible rakshas, Danh-Gem, and the arrival of a hero to face him. But heroes do not appear magically out of nowhere; they have to be found and trained. And sometimes the makers of prophecies don't know everything they need to know...
As the day of Danh-Gem's rising draws closer and the chosen hero is sent on a quest, another young man learns of terrible things he must do in secret and the difficult choices he must make in order to save the world from the rakshas.
©2005 Samit Basu (P)2014 Audible Studios
"... a cross-cultural extravaganza with a distinct Indian flavour, a dollop of Pratchett, and a hefty dose of Tolkien. There are also touches of Tarzan, Robin Hood, the Arabian Nights, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Greek myth, spy thrillers, Alice in Wonderland, martial arts films, Arthurian legend, roleplaying games, and much more... amusing fantasy, which is also pleasantly self-contained for the first book in a series." (Locu)"In Simoqin, first-time author Samit Basu has created a wonderfully detailed alternate world peopled with a dozen species from mythologies of different cultures... And then Basu has topped it by not taking that world too seriously." (Outlook)"Numerous delights, great and small... The Simoqin Prophecies is an intelligent, inventive delight. It marks the arrival of a fresh and very original voice." (The Indian Express
This book may appeal to the younger reader - possibly a younger reader with very, very low standards.
On the other hand if you are an aspiring writer (of any age) you will doubtless be heartened by listening to this as it will demonstrate that the stumbling drafts you discarded on the grounds of being overly cumbersome and unsatisfying are at least not this bad.
This book tries very hard to be witty and clever in the fantasy style of Terry Pratchett... very, very hard.
However I (and I can only speak to my own experience) found it lumbering, disjointed, flatulent and characterless.
In short it was terrible!
While I haven't heard any other narrations by Ramon his performance was by far and away the best part of this listening experience.
I can at least say that this book evoked strong emotions in me. On occasion I ground my teeth in anger, at other times I found myself groaning at yet another clunky bit of dialogue, ham handed cultural reference or incoherent rambling plot point.
Now I seldom write reviews, let alone negative ones, but finding this book (audiobook at least) as a highly starred recommendation seemed somehow cruel and unjust.
Come for the Dorian Pavus, stay for the story.
I laughed, I meeped, I berated, I smugged.
Most excellent, I await my next audible credit with impatience.
This ended being a book that I had to find time to listen to rather than being compelled to finish it. It the end for me I wasn't engaged enough in the narrative to easily keep track of the different races and this detracted from my enjoyment. In the end it also felt like the long introduction to a larger epic rather than a sufficiently standalone story.
Having said all that I'd recommend it to people who are more fans of high fantasy than I am.
"absolutely terrific, still very flawed"
now this will not be to everyone's taste, but this books cynical absurd world building is more reminiscent of hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy than Terry Pratchett work. and all the characters are reasonably likeable and interesting. I found the story gripping and the humor goddammit delightful.
now this book isn't flawless it has 2 major problems. firstly the beginning is super unfocused and confusing bit that clears up quickly
second I'm pretty sure some wordplay and satirical elements where lost in translation
despite all that this book worked it's way among my favorites for being silly, absurd and serious in a magnificent balance
"Brilliant!! Complex and hilarious"
This first book of the Gameworld trilogy is, hopefully, the beginning of a little revolution in the SFF genre. It is the first (english) fantasy book that draws inspirations and hilarious references from the tremendous riches of Indian mythology, which had thus far been left untapped as most writers (and probably readers) of SFF hail from western countries.
Most SFF books rely in some way on the Bible or from Greek & Roman mythologies for references and tropes. But beyond the novel source of inspirations, Samit Basu weaves a fascinating tale, complex, filled with suspense, surprising twists and is full of witty (yet self-aware) references to everything from the Ramayana and Mahabharata to Alice in Wonderland, and from Tolkien to Top Gun and Monty Python. And he does it without effort and without breaking the the flow of the book, as if all of SFF before was a seamless real part of the Gameworld universe.
The book starts a little slow, but picks up pace quickly. Readers unfamiliar with Indian mythology may miss some jokes, but will find plenty to laugh out loud about and to be absolutely fascinated with.
"A great, entertaining listen."
Ramon Tikaram is a fantastic narrator. He brings the characters to life and the way the book is written it only makes his narration better.
The way it's written is another thing. It's a mix of various styles but they all flow together well.
It's action packed and the heavy info dumps don't feel drawn out BECAUSE of Ramon.
Harry Potter meets lord of the rings meets well..a bunch of other books.
Give it a go :)
"The start of Indian Fantasy Fiction"
Samit Basu has created a world which is embedded in an intense storyline. But through all this, the book is interspersed with a smattering of comedy and elements which partially break the 4th wall. Great effort. Must read/listen to.
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