The Sorcery of the Senses
Author-Tanima Das Mitra
Publisher: ArtoonsInn Room9 Publications (1 January 2023)
Print length: 285 pages
One is always taught that the five senses–sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell–operate independently; they are just a means to an end. Nothing but conduits for us to perceive the world.
But what if the five senses were the guardians of the galaxy? Or, as Leonardo da Vinci said, the ministers of the soul? What if they are not independent but work together as a cohort towards a unified goal? What if their existence is threatened by equally potent, wily, no-holds-barred antagonists?
Mitra explores this premise and builds a gripping and thought-provoking narrative. She cleverly melds the contemporary world with a fantasy world to present a story that leaves you asking for more.
The story commences with the not-so-likeable protagonist, Dhruv going about his mundane existence oscillating from his parental town, Raukipur, to his highrise apartment complex. Though his troubles and miseries are outlined, Mitra successfully manipulates her readers to not develop sympathy for him. Of course, it’s a ploy. You realize it only after a few pages when she sucks you into the world of a strong, skilled, and feisty protagonist, Ghriz.
The story of Ghriz, and her isolated tribe, thriving in a small, forested colony next to a river, holds you spellbound. There is magic, betrayal, sacrifice, love, and sorcery. There are moments of laughter, joy, and pain. Sometimes it all gets a little unnerving, and the perils are palpable. Mitra’s expertise in building a fictitious world with curious yet believable names, culture, customs, and rules is commendable.
Readers are brought back to Dhruv’s life as a breather, only to swing into another action-packed ride in the kingdom of Krai-Tang, and the world of another vulnerable protagonist, Mong. Once again, the world-building is excellent, and the ease with which the author touches upon mature themes like adultery, female foeticide and male dominance is remarkable.
Mitra has an outstanding ability to take readers on an incredible journey and make them so invested in the story that they inevitably end up falling in love or abhorring one or the other members of the supporting cast. That her flawed protagonists are fallible, broken and credulous makes them more believable.
The theme of rebirth and the idea that most souls reincarnate in groups and familiar souls revisit each other’s future lives form another continuing thread. It has always been a fascinating subject for me, but the way Mithra explores it, weaving her characters around it, makes it even more appealing.
The book is fast-paced, the language simple and fluid, and the plot brilliant. The ending seems abrupt, yet the book concludes with a promise for another adrenaline-fuelled adventure.
A must-read for all fantasy lovers. I’m already looking forward to the next one in the series.