BOOK REVIEW OF UPENDER REDDY’S ‘BENEATH THE EYES’

Book Title: Beneath The Eyes

Author: Upender Reddy

Total Number of Pages: 134

Publisher: Notion Press

Publication Date: 19 October 2017

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Genre: Fiction / Horror / Thriller

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BLURB

Everyone gathered around as the child opened his eyes. They stared at the monitor as the chip attached to the child’s optic nerve began to relay his vision on it. There was nothing. The child appeared to watch an empty corner of the room, focusing his eyes on something invisible. The people around followed his gaze, but could only see a blank wall. Puzzled, they looked at each other inquiringly. The child continued to stare.

“Look!” said Natasha, suddenly. The monitor on the table came to life, and a faint image began to form on the screen. As they all watched intently, the faint image began to form the dark shape of a human. In a few moments, there was a hazy outline of a woman staggering towards the door. The image soon became clear, taking the distinct form of a woman. Slowly, she appeared to come closer to the screen. All of a sudden, her face became clear. She raised her eyes and looked at them. Everyone gasped and fell back, frozen…..

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REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY

After taking a 20 days reading break and dealing with some situations which I would prefer not to ever again, breaking off from my reading slump with a thriller and following it up with a horror seemed like a pretty good start to this month’s reading session. While I do get to read thrillers from time to time, horrors are pretty much non-existent in my reading list. When I landed upon Beneath The Eyes, I was quite happy with my choice and it also felt good enough to finally have a book of the horror sub-genre in my reading list.


Read My Previous Review of Vedashree Khambete-Sharma’s Swear You Won’t Tell


Beneath The Eyes by Upender Reddy Book Review

As the title suggests, yes the story has pretty much everything to do with vision, or say, eyes. Reading the prelude I wasn’t really convinced that the story was going to have horror elements in it. Following up the prelude with the first couple of pages, I still wasn’t convinced that there will be strong horror elements later on. But the author did start to throw hints wherever he could in the beginning. From inhumane behaviour of a patient to malfunctions in the hospital instruments to some other incidences that made me shiver, the essence of a horror novel did start to show up. But, I guess, I was looking for the hardcore stuff to hit my face right away. I was not disappointed. The latter part of the book lived up to my expectations of a horror book.

Beneath The Eyes opens up with a child with problematic vision which turns out to be fatal for him when he dies on the spot while being hit by a road truck. Accidents as these tears me when I think of how uneventful they are. One minute the child is completely fine, playing basketball while his parents watches over him from distance and the next minute he is dead.

The author then goes on to describe an invention where Basu, the lead character (supposedly) invests all of his blood, sweat and tears (pick up on the reference if you’re smart enough 😉) to create a technology through which people will be able to perceive his/her surroundings from a child’s eye so that such mishaps could be controlled. While it seemed to be an interesting idea and completely original to read in a book for me, it also seemed to be a feeble attempt which could definitely go wrong in long term operations. But, the author did turn my scepticism into appreciation.

Upon the invention of the technology, a series of mysteries follows which makes the plotline tense, suspenseful and channels it to finally add up the horror elements. I am not going to be a spoilsport and reveal the plotline. You know me, how can I be that cruel?

For the first half of the story, I was dredging across the line of science fiction rather than horror, the latter part changed my mind completely and I was sure that this book is in fact of the horror sub-genre.

Talking of the characters, Basu takes up most of the screen time and supposedly becomes the lead protagonist even though there are other characters sidelining for the role. I was a bit confused determining as to who the protagonist is because in each chapter, each of the characters felt to be the central one.

The pace of the book was a bit slow in the beginning but as the story progressed, the book picks up it’s pace, becomes rather fast, might I say. The good part, the author did his part of research and had put his thoughts into creation of this entire chip technology. The plotline was a blend of spooky events and medical sci-fi. Hospitals carry a lot of secrets. Many that aren’t revealed to the public eye. This book features the unscrupulous and underhand medical practices that are often carried out under the table by the medical practitioners and the company heads.

The cover and the book title is completely appropriate for the storyline. The title has everything to do with the storyline. Many title references were made in the narrative. A truly justified book title. Also, I really liked the author’s writing style. It was mature and he also managed to juggle in with the various aspects of a horror story and managed to frame out the story really well.

The shuffling from the past to present confused me a bit and it took me a while to join the dots and make meaning of the situations. Another thing which I noticed is that a single tense is not maintained throughout the story. The narrative shifts from past tense to present to future tense. This I felt disrupted the flow of the narration on some level. There were missing words in some of the sentences where I had to think of the appropriate word to fit in the sentence. Grammatical glitches were there but there isn’t anything that a round of editing cannot fix. The ending I felt was a bit rushed where all of the secrets are sort of spilled out at once and the author wraps up the story quickly. I wouldn’t have minded a few more pages where the ending could have been slowly and steadily justified.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Even though the “spine-chilling” factor wasn’t that strong in the first half of the story, the latter half of the story does live up to the horror standard on a medium level. The amalgamation of medical sci-fi with metaphysical elements was a combination that I liked.

Recommended to readers who can stomach horrors and also to readers who like thrillers, mysteries, crime fictions and science fictions.

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RATINGS :

Book Cover : ⭐⭐⭐

Book Title: ⭐⭐⭐.5

Theme: ⭐⭐⭐.5

Plotline: ⭐⭐⭐

Characters: ⭐⭐⭐

Dialogues: ⭐⭐⭐

Narration: ⭐⭐⭐

Writing Style: ⭐⭐⭐.5

Grammar and Punctuation: ⭐⭐⭐

Language and Vocabulary: ⭐⭐⭐.5

POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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