The Curse of Damini by Debajani Mohanty



Goodreads : Link
But the book : Amazon
My Rating : 3. 5 stars

Summary :

The world seemed not enough for free spirited Renuka, when she married the highly educated Shashank hailing from the mightiest Zamindars of Bengal. However, soon her life turned upside down when a neighbor revealed her of their sinister past.
It’s a mysterious supernatural curse cast on their family almost a century back. Generation by generation, Damini’s enraged curse had passed on, declining their family clan from hundreds to a handful few. Who would be Damini’s next victim? And why innocent lives are at a stake for a crime committed by an ancestor a hundred years back? Renuka would not settle until she finds an answer and in her quest she struggles to eradicate all the evils that come in her way. Would she ever win a battle against an unseen enemy? Would the wrong done to Damini be ever avenged?

Set against the nostalgic era of 1940s, the story narrates the arduous journey of Renuka Pal, the protagonist, from a rash teen age freedom fighter to the seasoned writer of the 21st century India. In this thrilling saga of death, betrayal and power plays the narrative would cover a large chunk of twentieth century history. The passing of time, historical events and the changing country is so well-woven to the story that one would hardly differentiate between fact and fiction.”

My review :
I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and honest it will be.

Let me just start by saying that even though I live in India I haven’t read books by Indian authors that much. The few that I have, disappointed me with their writing style and so I just stopped.
The books I do read, need to excel at 3 Main things for it to be a good book in my view.
Writing –  which is a major one. I can read a book with a ridiculous storyline as long as the writing is beautiful.
Plot: If the writing style annoys me, I’d still read the book if the plot was interesting.
Characters: Because I cannot, absolutely cannot read a book with stupid or annoying characters. I’m looking at you Eadlyn (The Heir)

Now before reading this book, I looked at the cover and I didn’t like it. (Yes, I’m judgy like that) But I thought what the hell, The Curse of Damini sounds like a thriller or atleast it’ll have a paranormal setting. It didn’t. And I was glad.

The story turned out to be far more deep and thought-provoking and that’s what kept me turning pages. Because believe me with that writing style, if it didn’t have a strong plot, I would have abandoned the book.

So the points I liked about this book are:

Main idea is strong and deep.
It had just the right amount of romance, patriotism, feminism, individuality and it didn’t cross the limit where sometimes that all starts being irritating. So good balance.
The characters were well-written. Yes, they were. Even Mandira. I totally related to Renuka and understood Kaki maa and Shashank. Even the less liked characters were written beautifully.
The author stuck true to the actual facts and real practices that happened during the time. As much as it pains me to say, Underage marriage of girls, Sati pratha, the cruelty of Zamindars, Krantikari movements were all real. The horrors I read about in this book were reality.
The story that we saw through Renuka’s eyes, Money-hungry Zamindars, patriarchan society, Lalit’s behavior, Trip to Germany, it all made the book entertaining.

Negative points: (This is my view and should not discourage anyone from reading this book. It’s just the parts which I disliked about the book.)

I’m an Atheist. Most of you already know that. And this book refers to the Almighty, Maa Durga, Maa Kaali after every 10 pages. So that resulted in lots of eye rolls on my part. Yeah, tone down the Holiness, would ya? And superstitions. Renuka doesn’t believe in ghosts and curses but yeah bad omen and good omens, God would make it all right. Ugh, like pick a side. You believe or don’t believe?
The Writing, ugh. I didnot enjoy it at all. There were some beautiful moments but the information dump at times, those paragraph breaks everytime a scene started getting interesting, extensive use of thesaurus, grammar mistakes, dialogues that seemed more like a speech. It was awful.

An example :

He embraced her with such passion that she thought her ribs would be crushed.

Um.. Don’t you think that’s exaggerating it a little bit? No?

I think this book has potential but it needs a serious editor. *shaking head

Well the good thing is that it was really short, 179 pages and done! How the author managed to convey such a story in just a few pages, I do not understand but I glad for it. Since I could finish it in a day (my studies didnot suffer, yes my exams are still going on)  I didn’t have to pick up one of those huge book on my shelf, that I’m saving for the vacations. And hey, I caught up on another ARC and managed to write a review too.

And if you, mighty reader have made it this far on this post then know that you should buy this book and give it a try. If you enjoy it great, if you don’t you’re still 1 book closer to your Goodreads challenge of the year and it’s a short book so not much time wasted. Win-Win.

Love, Alex 🙂

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