Book Review: Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F T Camargo
Book: Shanti and the Magic Mandala
Author: F. T. Camargo
No. of Pages: 366
Publisher: Lodestone Books
Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.
The plot may not be new but the treatment and the story telling is pretty colorful
The characters, with different religions and cultural origins, come from different parts of the world and the author takes full advantage of this. He introduces the reader to the diverse cultural and regional things – places, culture, foods, lifestyle etc. The characters travel so there is more to be learnt about places for the reader. It is in a way ... a general knowledge enhancing book for kids/teenagers.
As a story, it is well-told. The author has a nice plot and makes use of parallel story telling across two eras effectively. The characters come together and they keep having flashes of their past lives and ultimately, it is like a reunion.
Each of the 6 characters develops and grows through the book and you enjoy their innocence while shouldering their responsibility. They face danger with courage and they have their guardian angels to help them out of their troubles with the dark elements.
Some may call this book childish or for the teenage crowd and they won’t be wrong either but I enjoyed the book nevertheless because I am still a teenager at heart :)
The book that way was a pretty light read and I think it could have been made far more exciting. All 6 kids had some magic to them and guardians who helped them. There could have been some more challenges which would have made the story more captivating. In the current form, the journey of the 6 kids, although eventful and danger-ridde; was NOT challenging enough. The ‘hero’ rises to the level of the challenges posed by the ‘villain’ and in this book, the level is not too high. May be this was intentional keeping a particular audience in mind, but I suppose the audience (feeding on Eragon, LOTR, HP, Percy Jackson, Hunger games etc) is maturing and can take on more.
In continuation of the same point, even the climax could have been more ‘climactic’ and stunning. Not to say that it was not. It was pretty colorful and interesting – picturising the events in my head was interesting enough.
The story surely has potential and can have sequel added to it and I would look forward to it.
The cover design was ordinary and it would have been great if it was more catchy and realistic. I liked the background image with the 5 backpacking individuals … only thing is there are 6 characters in the story (although at some point one is kidnapped and the other 5 become rescuers) and that they weren’t really backpacking in the story. Yes, they did have bags that they carried around. Maybe I am being too critical but an image with 6 teenagers in the mountains with some ‘dark’ elements to convey their adversary would have been nice. The mandala in the backdrop was a nice touch and they could retain that.
Ratings on Book Review Parameters:
Cover Design: 3.0 / 5
Writing Style: 3.5 / 5
Characters: 3.0 / 5
Story / Plot: 3.0 / 5
Climax: 3.0 / 5
Overall: 3.0 / 5