Sunday, October 03, 2010

Book Review: Riddle of the Seventh Stone

Riddle of the Seventh Stone by Monideepa Sahu

This is a unique adventure story (age group 9-12 I'd think) involving a spider and a rat that magically turn into human children and try to help a family solve a mysterious riddle and escape the clutches of a greedy, corrupt landgrabber.

What makes the story unique is the setting: the events takes place in and around Avenue Road, Bangalore. Instead of merely setting it there and falling back on Enid Blyton-like details and style, the author has stayed true to the place and makes the reader's mouth water to eat typical Indian foods like uppitu, payasam, dosas, chutney, sambhar and jalebis.

Another unique part of the story are the strange characters who are vermin--a bandicoot, rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, silverfish and other creepy crawlies. Instead of being repulsive, however, they become interesting and fun characters. Their appetites are whetted for fungus-loaded rotting fruit, putrid chutney and the like! The main rat, Rishabh, is shy and nervous but learns over the length of the story to see his courage, persistence and intelligence. The conceited spider Shashee learns to see other people's strengths besides her own.

I found myself chuckling many a time at the witty comments. This was a fun read, even for this adult reader, so I'm sure children would thoroughly enjoy the creepy bits as well as the Indian setting. What a welcome change after all the western settings in their books!

Available online at Flipkart and other stores.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, Hash! I am yet to pick it up, though am planning to present it to my ten-year-old niece when I do get my hands on it.