Age of Hiblisk (A Story with a Soul) is Sumukh Naik’s debut fiction/fantasy novel.
The blurb of the book says, “is the journey of Prince William and Princess Sara, the protagonists, through the magical and spiritual worlds of Pantolis, Hiblisk, and Ikra. As their voyage unfolds, they realize the true motive behind the terror employed by the dark forces of Dushtt to claim supremacy over the lands of Pantolis and beyond. Every new revelation brings to light the methodical madness employed by the dark forces and secrets of Mother Nature, which have been safely guarded for ages by the various civilizations of the secret worlds. Their journey also introduces them to the divine forces that monitor the functions of the world and gives them access to legendary, mystical weapons and advanced spiritual knowledge which illuminates the flow of their understanding and actions towards various aspects of life. They use the knowledge gained, to try and bring peace, to their war ravaged lands and fight the ever growing might and influence of the mysterious dark forces that haunt their kingdoms. Will the light of all that is divine, fighting under the banner of Prince William and Princess Sara, flicker away into oblivion against the might of the dark forces under Dushtt, or will they survive?...Only time in her womb holds the answer, potent enough to change the outlook of the very world we live in.”
The story begins in the peaceful vicinity of Himra forest in the sleepy village of Zyren where an entire settlement of 10-15 houses had disappeared without a trace. The villagers form a team of four young boys who will go into the forest and determine the reasons for the same. From there, the story moves into a magical world of fantasy where kings, princes, princesses and sages reside.
The story takes a long time to unfold and one needs to be really patient to go beyond the first 50 pages before it starts gathering pace. However, the author has undertaken a bold experimenting with such a genre, which is not very well-established in the Indian context at least.
Towards the end, the book starts getting philosophical and loads of nuggets on how to lead your life are sprinkled about. It could get a little abstract as well for those who do not enjoy this kind of writing – about Mother Earth knowing what’s best and planning events accordingly.
The author’s writing style takes a while getting used to specially because many pieces of information are strewn through the book; you need to be 100% clued in to make sense of it all.
On the whole, it’s a book that did not hold my interest much though I can’t say I have read come across any book of this genre so far. I am going with 2.5/5 for this book for the detailed storyline that the author has managed to write; the various kingdoms that he takes us through and the several characters to which he introduces us in the course of the journey.