Book Reviews

Book Review: Chosen Spirits

Cover of the book Chosen Spirits by Samit Basu. People surrounded by destruction and hi-tech.

Book Title:

Chosen Spirits

Price:

Kindle Edition: Rs. 326.86

Hardcover: Rs. 390

Where to Buy:

Amazon.in

Genre:

Science Fiction

The Story (Taken from the Book):

She’d decided, that night, that she wouldn’t leave. That she would stay in India, in Delhi, and belong as hard as she could.

Joey is a Reality Controller, in charge of the livestream of a charismatic and problematic celebrity in smog-choked, water-short, ever-transforming Delhi – a city on the brink of revolution, under the shadow of multiple realities and catastrophes – at the end of the 2020s.

When Joey impulsively rescues a childhood friend, Rudra, from his new-elite family and the comfortable, horrific life they have chosen for him, she sets into motiona chain of events — a company takeover, a sex scandal, a series of betrayals — that disintegrates not just their public and private selves, but the invisible walls that divide the city around them.

To find the lives they need, Joey and Rudra must reckon with people and forces beyond their understanding, in a world where trust is impossible, popularity is conformity, and every wall has eyes.

My Review:

If you love science fiction, this is the book you should be reading now. With the uncertainty and tension of the ‘Times We Live In’ in 2020, this dystopian novel seems ominously true. Samit Basu, the author, has eerily predicted what could happen in the years to come. The book is not just his vivid imagination, but takes us to a time just ten years down the line. The “Years Not To Be Discussed” are our here and now! Did we imagine three months ago that we would be afraid to leave the house? Did we imagine that we would think twice before we chatted to a neighbour or friend? Not in a million years. But it has come to pass…whats to say Basu’s words won’t be prophetic? Futuristic Chosen Spirit by Samit Basu takes you to a time that uncomfortably may come true.

Twists and Turns:

Joey, our star, is a Associate Reality Controller, who works on “Flow.” She leads the charge when it comes time to take up the challenge, along with Rudra, an erst-while son of an influential family. They are helped in their efforts by Indie, an ex-boyfriend of Joey’s and Tara, Rudra’s girlfriend. Joey’s parents are looking for jobs in the new reality. People who were responsible citizens today, are redundant in the near-future. Joey must protect them from the new reality, she races to turn off the News, so they are not psychologically damaged by whats happening around them. In Chosen Spirits, kids aiding parents, leading the family, carrying on with whats left after the “Years Not To Be Discussed.” RWA or Resident Welfare Associations are now part of the enemy, dictating the way you must live, what you must be doing; not to far off the mark after the initial hostility towards healthcare workers today?

Technology:

The story of Joey and Rudra of the future is incomplete without all the high-tech gear in Chosen Spirits. Every sci-fi lover’s imagination will go into overdrive over the fancy gadgets. NARAD, the tattooed keeper on your wrist that knows everything about you and can feel and do whats best for you…whether you like it or not. There’s the Flow, which is a bundle of Facebook, TicToc and AR of the future It takes your data and bundles it up or lets other people see you for their entertainment. And lets not forget the innocent Kolam (decoration made with dots and lines drawn in front of homes) which takes on a sinister face with its QR code and hidden messages from underground rebellions, which are always brewing over the dictatorial leadership of the not-so-distant future. You can turn off “Real Thoughts” and have a pleasant life living in a dream, thanks to NARAD.

What I Liked:

No guesses for what I liked; the gadgets are a Sci-Fi fan’s first love! The sinister atmosphere aside, you can really let your imagination go wild in Chosen Spirits with all the new technology. The possibilities seem endless. The book is easy to read and the author explains the technology quite well, so you are not lost. The ever-green espionage, intrigue and challenges kept me rooted to the book, turning pages excited. Delhi of the future is dreary, sad, full of hidden rebellion. It turns my stomach to think this could be the future, but also gets me thinking about where we are heading with all the new technology. Are we happier?

What I Didn’t Like:

The introduction in the first few chapters took a long time. I wish it could have been faster. But on the other hand you do need to understand the times, the technology and the life we could face in the future. So I do get that it’s necessary. Once the story gets going, then you can’t put it down till the last page. In my book review of Chosen Spirits I give it 4/5 marks.

About the Author:

Courtesy: https://samitbasu.com/about/bio/

Samit Basu is an Indian novelist, film director and screenwriter.

Samit’s most recent novel, Chosen Spirits, an anti-dystopian novel set in Delhi a decade from now, was published by Simon and Schuster India in 2020, was critically acclaimed and a bestseller in multiple categories in India and is available as an ebook worldwide.

In books, Samit is best known for his fantasy and science fiction work. His first novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, published by Penguin India in 2003, when Samit was 23, was the first book in the bestselling Gameworld Trilogy and marked the beginning of Indian English fantasy writing. The other books in the trilogy are The Manticore’s Secret and The Unwaba Revelations.

Samit’s global breakthrough happened with the superhero novels Turbulence and Resistance. Turbulence was published in the UK in 2012 and in the US in 2013 to rave reviews. It won Wired‘s Goldenbot Award as one of the books of 2012 and was superheronovels.com’s Book of the Year for 2013. Its sequel, Resistance, was published in the UK/US in 2014 and was just as well received.

Samit also writes for younger readers: other works include the Adventures of Stoob series and Terror on the Titanic, a YA historical fantasy. He’s also published short stories for adults and younger readers in Indian and international anthologies, and has been a columnist and essayist in several leading Indian and international publications.

Disclaimer:

With the coordination of blogchatter.com‘s Book Review Program, the author sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This is not a sponsored post in anyway. I do not earn from any of the affiliate links here.

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