Book: Bloodstone: Legend of the Last Engraving
Author: Rashmi Narzary
Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction, Fiction
Review Copy: Himalayan Book Club
Available at: Amazon.in
Recommended: Loved it!
Author Rashmi Narzary entwines the fascinating customs of the Kamakhya temple in the Nilachal hills of Assam, India, with the spectacular tradition of the Kumari Goddess in Tilibham, Nepal. In a fictional story that blends mythology and history, legends and existing beliefs, she creates an intriguing narrative centered around the Mother Goddess in South Asian culture. Across the snowy climes of Tilibham, a story blossoms out of loss and yearning, and like any tale of utmost passion and longing, it stretches beyond time and space to remind of the power of sadness to change destinies. The plot arc curves over this canvas. Conflict brims even after 3/4rth of the narration. Anticipation of the resolution makes the book unputdownable.
The book brings forth deep research and impeccable imagination. The author’s personal experiences come alive in descriptions of the Kamakhya temple rituals and the religious fervor during the autumn worship of the Goddess. The exotic yet demanding terrain of the hills of Nepal is the backdrop of the tale of a simple village couple that breaks free of the shackles of matriarchy to redefine their fate. It is the story of motherhood – earthly and divine – always alive in mythology, legends, but most importantly, in human faith.
It is also the story of love that transcends eons – of God Shiva, who mourns his beloved Sati and a Goddess, who must be reborn to fulfill the yearning of divine lovers. The book will make you crave more. Like me, you may seek more information on the traditions so exquisitely detailed. Divinity dwells in humanity that incessantly seeks it out; humanity survives in a deep faith in this power of the esoteric.
As a reader, I was mesmerized by the story. As an editor, I found the book lacking. It starts with repetitive text and descriptions that can be discouraging. After initial reluctance, one forges ahead into the enticing landscape of a wondrous story. The script demands a thorough edit as the repetitive information is distracting. The book would have sparkled with a crisp and concise approach, leaving more for the reader to imagine and savor, long after, the legend of the bloodstone reveals itself.