By Grade A. Edited by Nethra A
“Hey buddy, I love thrillers. Can you suggest me something?” my friend asked.
“Try Ten Shades of Life,” prompt came my reply.
“Sir, I heard you read quite a lot. Can you recommend any love story that my girlfriend might like?” my colleague asked, smilingly.
“Aah, I guess Ten Shades Of Life can do the trick.”
“Brother, I haven’t read a good horror since a long time,” my cousin complained.
“Why don’t you go for Ten Shades of Life?” I answered.
And so it goes. Innumerable questions, same answer.
In times when anthologies dwell on prosaic romantic accounts, Fablery presents Ten Shades of Life. From a nail-biting thriller to a spine-chilling ghost story, an exquisite romance to an ingenious fantasy, an adventurous science-fiction to mirthful and remarkable experiences of salaried men, stories of heroes and philosophies of life – it attends to the preferences of all readers.
When anthologies contain stories of one genre, after reading a couple of stories they get predictable and fail to keep a reader’s interest until the end, but a multi-genre book has something to offer to everyone and many things to one reader.
The writing styles of all the writers whose stories are included in this book are grand and the plots so engaging that they will force you to read another page and one another before you finally close the book. The stories will take you on a roller coaster between reality and fiction.
In case you are wondering what Ten Shades of Life is all about, let me clear your doubts straightaway. It is a unique anthology of short stories by numerous writers who showed the passion towards wielding their pens and waving it like a wand to create magic.
This anthology isn’t based on one particular genre. Rather, it’s an amalgamation of different genres and styles that cater to the taste of each and every reader.
This interesting concept is the brain child of Nethra A, the editor of this anthology. She is currently based in Bangalore. After graduating in Computer Science and Engineering, she is now pursuing her Masters in Business Administration. She is a voracious reader and a fiction writer, who believes in the power of quality writing. Her love for good stories lead her to start the platform, Fablery, which provides aspiring writers the opportunity to make a mark in the literary world. Nethra is also working on her novel that we look forward to read in the near future.
The first story in the book is “Incardines” (Fantasy/Mythology) by Miss Cheyenne Mitchell. True to its genre, the tale manages to transport you into its own make believe world. I loved the flow and the gradual unraveling of mysteries. However, I wasn’t in support of the protagonist’s action towards the end. Perhaps, there could have been a better alternative.
Next in line comes “Red and Gold” (Romance) by Monika Pant. A historical love tale needs careful attention to grandeur and detailing, and should have the potential to carry us to the era that we have only read about in books. To Monika’s credit, she achieves this perfectly. The beautifully illustrated descriptions add that unique charm to the story. This love tale was quite different from the regular fare. I loved it.
An apple a day keeps a doctor away. But, you can’t keep Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan’s “Harry’s Bluff” away at any cost. This Action/Adventure tale starts explosively, and you are glued to the narrative in an instant. The intricately woven twists add miracles to the plot, and you are left wondering about what would happen next. This undoubtedly, is my favorite story in the anthology.
Humor is always difficult to create. Yes, it’s a tough job to make people smile. However, Shankar Raman A. performs this task quite meticulously in his humor tale “Something Like That.” The story revolves around office colleagues and how one of them tries to crack jokes on the other. However, the turn of events in the end does leave a positive curve on your face.
Halfway through the book you come across Bruce Memblatt’s Horror fiction “Weekend In The Country.” I loved the plot and the way the story began. However, I felt that the portions which were supposed to run a chill down the spine could have been better weaved. Though the story telling was fluent and I could visualize the scenes on the pages, it somehow fell short of being a scary feast.
I have been an ardent reader of H. G. Wells and Michael Crichton, and thus was eagerly looking forward to Karthik L’s Science Fiction “A Nootropic Egress.” The characterization is perfect and you could identify with the protagonist. However, the plot stuck to the tried and tested formula of humans encountering extra-terrestrial aliens. Also, I felt, the author gave away way too much in the beginning, thus failing to create suspense in the succeeding pages.
“The Secret of Ahiraah” (Historical) by Reshmy Pillai was a real delight to read. I loved how the author dissected the meaning of Ahiraah at the end to provide you with an unexpected twist in the tale. Needless to say, the twist works absolutely fine. I loved the way the author progressed with the tale, the tight story-telling never letting my mind wander even for a moment. This again, is based on a unique plot and you will savor the historical mystery it provides.
“Where Did You Go” by Deepa Duraisamy is another of my favorites in this anthology. This Suspense/Thriller has the potential to play with the mind of its readers. Don’t believe me? Test it for yourself. The story takes you swimming along with its waves, as you, along with the characters, try to unravel the mystery and find the culprits. What I really loved about the tale is the strong message it evokes.
Vinaya Swapnil Bhagat’s Philosophical account “Barren Harvest” talks of a futuristic world, where humans live a programmed life. The story explores the urge of the protagonist to break free from the bonds of technology and taste freedom again. The desire to be human and explore the peace and beauty of this world, which has been declared toxic, states a lot about the human mind. This was an interesting read and you can easily relate yourself with the context, even though it is set in the future.
The book culminates with “A Good Day To Die” (Occupational) by Rahul Biswas. This is based on the life of the fire-fighters, their friendships and their rivalries. The author does a great job with the progression of the plot. Once again, the twists have been wonderfully laid out. Trust and loyalty are sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and betrayal. This serves as a strong reminder to be careful even in friendship, ‘because you never know if the friendship is genuine.
Ten Shades Of Life is an anthology that you should pick up and read this year. The writers hold lot of promises, and I am eagerly looking forward to read more from them. Apart from the stories, I really liked the illustration on the cover, depicting several emotions in human form. However, it would have been better had the cover been brighter, instead of the dull orange tinge it currently portrays. Also, a short note about all the ten contributors would have helped readers identify with the writers.