My Rating ***
‘Sceadu: Your Shadow Holds a Secret’ is a fast-paced adventure by Prashant Pinge. The story is about four children who end up in an adventurous world through a series of strange events. This world is a micro-universe with characters and complications. This is the world of not only imps, goblins and faeries but also of a number of vicious and nasty creatures. Once in this strange world, the children come to know about an ancient foretelling that forecasts the doom of the world these children have left behind. Now, it’s up to these children to face grave challenges of this new world and save humankind from a ruthless enemy. In a way, this book is about a number of tough challenges these children face in this strange and mysterious world.
The book is written well with a variety of well-developed characters. The characters are made to alternate between illusion and reality and the readers are made to see the illusion of these characters through their consciousness. Of course, the main premise has been done many times before. For instance, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. Still, the world of Sceadu is interesting, one that you do want to explore. There is always something exciting or dangerous in this world. The story too is an interesting one as it keeps pushing you to turn the pages. Thanks to the craftsmanship of the novelist, Sceadu is alive as a character. The book pulls your attention from the first chapter itself, which is beautifully done. While there are some heavy descriptions of Sceadu, writing is central to the plot and nothing has been done for the sake of filling page counts. The book is exactly the right length for the story being told without a single chapter seeming overly long. There is no rambling and the characters are always doing something to further their goals. The philosophy of shadow has also been dealt quite beautifully in the plot.
While there are many good points to the story, there are also a couple of issues that needs attention. First, a number of characters in this book tend to fall into the cliché category. While these is nothing wrong with doing the typical here as it is common in most of the fantasy genres, one needs to innovate in some way or other. That innovation seems to be missing here. Second, one feels that a few aspects of nature should be made to intervene now and then in the crucial moments of the plot to quietly reminding of their existence. This intervention would definitely have made the plot more interesting to read. However, this is just one of my observations and other readers may object to this opinion.
The author of this book was shortlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Awards in ‘the Children’s Writing’ category in 2011. Reading this book made you understand the reasons behind that. I have been really impressed by the ways the author has crafted this story. While this book seems to be aimed at young audience, this will also be liked by the adults. I do hope that the writer is working on a sequel of this book.
(I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.)