Book Title: Hungry Gods
Author: Richa Lakhera
Total Number of Pages: 204
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Publication Date: 20 July 2018
Beaten and brutally raped, her body is never found. However, the killers make one mistake. They leave a witness, a witness who has nothing to live for except revenge. And when he crosses the boundaries of time to make the guilty pay, a whole lot of dark characters come to light. There is Valentine, the superstar brand ambassador who sells anything for a price; there is Medici, a pharmaceutical company fraudulently manufacturing banned drugs; there is the perverted and sinister minded Dr Ranga and there is Este, the prostitute whose dark secret will blow up a daughter’s sanity. So, is there another murder waiting to happen? Will Police Inspector Dorab Silva be able to connect the clues to prevent another crime? Will these gods of greed be exposed? And yes, you will be surprised by who you will find there, finally. Deeply unsettling, Hungry Gods takes a hard look at greed for wealth and power.
This would probably be the hardest book to review because I have been looking forward to read it ever since it was released and when I am finally done reading it, the impression that I had when I first came to know about the book didn’t stay with me long. Anyway, let’s get down to the review.
I am not a person to be easily triggered with dark concepts but ‘Hungry Gods’ was a book which upset me on a whole different level. The book deals with horrific crimes, abuse, drug dealings and sex cults and the scenes are very vivid. So if you are someone who gets distressed by scenes of abuse easily, I am not sure if you would like reading this book.
Speaking of the main plotline, ‘Hungry Gods’ has a very simple and upfront plotline. A boy witnesses his mother being raped and killed by a group of people and he promises himself that he would take revenge on them. Sounds dark but pretty straightforward, right? Wrong.
We don’t get to know who this person is, his mother nor do we know anything about the group of people. As the story progresses, a pharmaceutical company called Medici is introduced in the plotline. Medici, a corrupt company, they built a reputation of selling illegal drugs and are also known for their malpractices. But as we all know, it’s very easy for people with money and power to supress such news from spreading, Medici also takes that route. There are a lot of people involved in this fraudulent business where they sell banned drugs in the name of advancement in science and technology. There is also a part where the C-grade (that is what I concluded from the acting skills) movie industry is brought in and what goes on behind the scenes. You get the picture, right? A fraud company, some bad people and a person who vowed to punish those people responsible for the death of his mother. There’s violence, scenes of abuse, some BDSM stuffs (nah, not as strong as Fifty Shades), sex scenes and people screaming bloody murder. Know that there aren’t any happy, fluffy, cuddly scenes. It’s blindingly dark till the last page.
There are a lot of characters in the book and it was really difficult for me to keep a track on all of them. Special mention goes to Valentine for not being a level-headed man and Ranga, for being such a pervert. Some of the other characters who influenced the plot are Dinesh Thackray, the producer; Este, the prostitute; Kimmy White, an actress who gets thrown out of her job and ultimately joins Medici.
I really liked the writing style of Richa Lakhera. The author has a good grasp on the language and has an extensive vocabulary power. The sentences were well-constructed where it was easy for me to picturize the scenes. The title also goes well with the theme of the book. The narration was great too. Chapter wise, the narration had a consistent flow. The mystery was well-maintained till the end of the story. I couldn’t guess who this person was amongst the characters who wanted to see the end of that gang.
The problem that I had while reading was that I couldn’t connect well between the chapters. I was having a tough time in understanding the sequence of the scenes and finding a proper order between them as timeline and characters are different in chapters. Each chapter is narrated from a different character’s point of view, in a different location, set in a different timeline. Also, as the story was progressing, I couldn’t understand how all these characters are going to be linked to the main plotline and what their role would be. Since new characters were brought in almost all the chapters, it was a one character a time kind of thing and for this I couldn’t really keep track of their individual character development.
Don’t get me wrong, the book is good but what I felt would have been better was if there was some sort of a sequence. That would have made it easier for me to understand the story and also would have helped me to find that connection between the chapters.
The story is dark and translates off the severity of the violence and abuse that has been included in the plotline. So, you get to read it as it is, unfiltered and crude. So, I wouldn’t recommend to read this book if you’re under 18 or if you are someone who easily gets upset by strong language, scenes of violence and abuse.
If you are someone who looks out for good language in a book and if you love mystery, crime and thriller books, then you can give this book a read but be warned it is extremely dark.
What’s your take on dark themes? If it gets too violent and the scenes are vivid, how do you deal with it? Does you feel distressed or you are just fine with such strong scenes? Also let me know how you liked the review 😊
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