The Last Avatar is the first book in the planned trilogy ‘Age of Kalki’ by author Vishwas Mudagal. I had earlier read his debut book ‘Losing my Religion’ and enjoyed his writing to the extent that I interviewed him on AnuReviews. So, I was keen to read his new book that sounded like mythological fiction. Kalki – the 10th avatar of Vishnu is an interesting metaphor. It is rooted in ancient history and mythology of India but it will happen in the future sometime. A great example of the continued civilization that we believe would continue in the future.
The Last Avatar Age of Kalki 1 turned out to be a heady mix of Indic Knowledge from ancient Indian scriptures and the future of warfare. There is tampering of secret societies that are on a mission to take on the world as always. There are counter secret societies who would protect the world no matter what. The war is actually being played between them but it manifests itself in many smaller wars on the surface.
There are many things that I liked about the book. It talks about a future that not just uses all possible technologies that we can think of at this point in time, but also refers to the most ancient scriptures. It is one of the few books that acknowledges and works on a premise that ancient Indian Scriptures had all the knowledge that the modern world is still discovering and inventing. In a science fiction mode, it brings out how the old tenets can have new age applications. Or, are they really new?
Buy The Last Avatar Age of Kalki 1 by Vishwas Mudagal at Amazon
The geopolitical scenario of the world in this story moves eastwards with west having not more than a guest appearance from early 21st CE. Is this how the future will be, is this where the major action in the world would come from – at least the author seems to think so. Essentially it would turn out to be a war between India and China, where Pakistan still exists.
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I like the interplay of characters from the epics, robotics, artificial intelligence, superhumans, Rudras, laboratories, and war zones. It brought to mind many technology books that talk about designing the future or preparing for the future.
Well etched Characters
Characters are very well etched out, whether it is the Chengis Khan inspired villain or the Rudra descendent Hero, or a lab-created superhuman. All the characters are believable. Even when there is a superhuman among the humans, a backstory of how it came about helps it be real and not some insanely fictional robot. Minor characters are also well defined and you can visualize them almost effortlessly. Some of the scenes like the climax one are so well described that you can literally visualize them in your head. There is the right amount of drama and melodrama where needed.
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There are some gaps like for some time the two protagonists manage to be away from everyone’s eye despite them being so traceable technologically. There is an obvious bias towards the state of Karnataka, which obviously is the home state of the author. I would have loved to see places associated with Rudras coming into the picture.
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Language is sleek, well suited for the new age reader. The beginning is a bit slow but then it picks up the pace and maintains the pace. Though I read it on my Kindle, I can say it is quite a page-turner. I am definitely looking forward to the next books in the series.