The reason I found this book absolutely interesting is the title and the book cover. But after finishing the book, I’m split about my thoughts on it. Before I get to the part where I describe what I did and didn’t like about Aqson Level 1, let me give you a quick gist about the story.
Team God and Team Lucifer play games for the ultimate possession of Nature’s weapons. Rules are implemented, angels assigned to each team, a map was designed to keep track of the game, and an administrative council appointed. Lucifer starts each game and sets the goal. In this case, the game is called Aqson and the goal is the position of the Indian Prime Minister. And now, Indian politics gets back what it has always dealt, with angels and a group of well-meaning youngsters taking the plunge.
Aqson Level 1 has been written by Koel Ganguli under the pseudonym, Sreejib. She uses this name because it is her late husband’s name. And despite my reservations about how the story has been written, I still feel that she has done a commendable job in bringing the story together.
Aqson Level 1 has extensive descriptions, which I usually like to a certain extent. But when the narrative begins to use the mathematical transitive property, it becomes repetitive and too descriptive for its own good. “I liked him. He liked her. So I liked her.” And the like. This sort of description is sprinkled across the book, a little annoying sometimes.
In some places, it sounds like a child wrote this, as if the author forgot a particular detail and decided to add it as an afterthought in the basic descriptions later on. At some other times, it sounds like the author is trying too hard to be cool, be it with the language or the slang used in there. I try not to be judgmental about it because the rest is good and engaging enough.
But come to think of it, the number of things I like about it is a tad higher than the number of things I don’t like. It’s a close call. And maybe because of this, I am so confused about whether or not I actually completely like Aqson Level 1. I either laugh out loud and love the book or shake my head in mild annoyance. There’s no in between.
I like how the name Aqson is born and how it takes precedence to the point where the book is named after it. Of course, since the entire plot is what Aqson is, it shouldn’t be surprising. I also like how the Gods are cleverly woven into the plot. These are all players in the larger perspective – not getting human lore into the picture. After all, human lore is just that – lore that us humans have created to help us feel good about ourselves.
God and Lucifer are actual friends. No enmity between them other than a healthy competitiveness that is evident in their interaction. While God is the silent spectator who occasionally reacts, Lucifer is the naughty one, doling out wisecracks from second to second. When you read through this part, you’ll find it to be too familiar to what you know about them.
The biggest part of the book that I liked was the humor and the sarcasm. It is actually funny in a lot of places. It isn’t rolling-on-the-floor laughter, but short, spasmodic giggles. Kind of like Toya suppresses her laughter. I liked the humorous parts a lot, more than I liked the connect the dots project that the author has played so well in the narrative. Of course, any author who uses the Oxford comma has my full attention. And when it’s an Indian author, my heart just bursts with happiness.
On the whole, I’d been very excited to read Aqson Level 1, but despite all the positives and because of the confusion, I feel a little let down. Of course, this could also be because celebrity names were brought into the picture and this didn’t sit well with the narrative to the point where it seemed to seem like a more teenage fangirl type of story. But the best way forward, I recognized, was to go ahead with the overall plot rather than focus on details like this.
All in all, I’d say that Aqson Level 1 is an engaging read, thanks to the humor and the truth about the Indian political scene that it shows us. Temper tantrums can’t get us our way with a Chief Minister, but other than that, the political scene it talks about is pretty bang on.
For me, Aqson Level 1 is a one-time read, though I know I’m waiting for the next instalment to come out as soon as possible.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Picture Courtesy: Goodreads.
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