Top positive review
"It's not a creation of imagination. It's a depiction of reality."
Reviewed in India on 6 December 2019
Stuffed with thrill, spread with mystery, seasoned with suspense, garnished with twists and brewed with the perfect dose of love, a pinch of humour and a dollop of irony, "The Apple" by Devashish Sardana invites the reader to hop into the remarkable journey through the mythical garden of Eden and discover the history's biggest mystery of the fruit of immortality.
Queen Azura would sacrifice her life to fulfill her ancestors' sacred mission. For 6000 years the Sentinels have protected Eden's mystery and safeguarded the Tree of Immortality. But now someone is about to commit history's most daring theft! And one fateful night the Queen awakens to find a man with a bullet wound in his head and an empty branch where the apple once hung. The stranger has no memories, not even his name. Nursed back to health by stern islanders who demand answers, he worries that if he doesn't piece together the visions of his nightmares soon, his caretakers could become his executioners. As the strange man struggles to recall how he came to the island, Azura fears someone has the means to defeat all their safeguards. And with the temptation of life everlasting, it's only a matter of time before the would-be-killer strikes again. Can Azura and the outsider solve the riddle before Eden's final secret is exploited for evil?
With a detailed description, rich narration, lucid language, swift flow and a meticulously constructed plotline, the story shifts between the past and the present alternately. But the sheer uniqueness of the book is that the past occurs in the form of dreams, or rather, Nightmares of secret gates and a monstrous seven-headed serpent.
Another unique feature of the book is that it accompanies sound effects along with portraying a vivid picture of the scenes described. It makes the readers hear the story as well as visualise it and feel as if they are actually present in the scene.
Humour, irony and sarcasm that clings all through the book has a habit of occurring even during the time of utter distress, making the readers laugh even in a difficult situation and amid the nail-biting suspense.
The book also explores plethora of emotions-- love, betrayal, pain, sorrow, rage, joy, fear, excitement-- everything juxtaposed into an enticing journey through the mystical land of the Sentinels into the enchanting garden of Eden.
The war between the people from the Civilisation and the Sentinels, which is described minutely with great details and vivid imagery, is bound to bring tears to the eyes sensing the brutality of the civilised people who are ready to kill anyone just to satisfy their greed. But the war also projects the courage, determination, perseverance and bravery of the Sentinels who are ready to sacrifice their life fighting to protect the treasure which they had been safeguarding for thousands of years.
Every chapter of the book ends with such a suspense, and sometimes even with a twist, that it compels the readers to hop onto the next chapter immediately. Needless to say, this element makes the book "unputdownable".
Several themes are knitted together in this enthralling book, the most important one being the Civilisation Vs. Nature theme as well as those of the irony of riches and the true meaning of happiness. Other themes like overcoming fear, power of women, importance of purpose, limit of forgiveness, victory of good over evil, etc. are also mingled into the book.
The Civilisation Vs. Nature theme can be observed throughout the flawless narration: how greed drives the seemingly civilised people to turn savage and how the apparently savage people are the true devoted children of nature in reality, who are ready to lay down their life in order to protect their pride. This theme also gives way to the irony that the Civilisation which calls the Sentinels "savage" are more savage, cruel, brutal and greedy themselves. The savery under the mask of civilisation is skillfully depicted.
Another important theme which is illustrated all through the book is that of the irony of riches. Through various scenes, situations and dialogues, the story beautifully brings out the fact how money, sophistication and luxury don't make one rich, but one's moral values do.
The story also projects the true meaning of happiness that doesn't lie in the hands of material comforts but in mental satisfaction, not in the lap of technically active civilisation but in the simplicity of nature, and definitely not in raging wars but in standing united.
The theme of overcoming fear is also a recurrent one as it is by overcoming one's fear that they can reach the garden of Eden fighting with all the adversities thrown into their path; and also, one needs to overcome their fear in order to fight away the evils that lay eyes on the sacred land of the Sentinels.
The theme of women power can be observed as soon as one enters the world of the Sentinels, for women here are given their deserved respect and bestowed with high authorial powers. The Sentinels are the worshippers of nature and nature always values its feminine strength more.
The book also brings out the theme of the importance of purpose. A person cannot ever live without a purpose. Even the smallest of creation searches for a purpose to look up to every day and feel satisfied every night after walking a little distance towards it.
Towards the end of the book, we can see the theme of "forgiveness has its limits" approaching. It is devine to forgive a person, but it's crucial that how many times one can be forgiven for the same crime that they keep on committing again and again, even after several chances of redemption. For becoming blind in greed is a crime that cannot be forgiven more than once; yet the good Sentinels do so and then suffer the consequences. But in the end it teaches: If forgiveness doesn't teach someone a lesson, if it doesn't rehabilitate them, if it doesn't prevent them from committing crimes, then it is punishment that is better than forgiveness.
Finally, the book highlights the most common theme that keeps the sanity of the humanity alive: Victory of Good over Evil. No matter how strong, powerful and intelligent the evil force is, it has to bow down before the goodness and the power of virtue. This is the belief that keeps faith alive in us, and the story successfully proves this once again.
The book ends in a subtle cliffhanger where the protagonist is entrusted with a purpose, a mammoth task which he needs to accomplish, hinting at the possibility of a sequel and another spine-chilling adventure ride.
All the characters are brilliantly portrayed. The protagonist's change in character from being one among the Civilisation in the past and then converting himself to be one among the Sentinels is remarkably portrayed. The struggles he has to go through for the transformation is depicted with wild humour and powerful irony. The most impressive character is that of Queen Azura-- elegant, courageous, stern and determined, with a soft heart lying deep within-- she is the perfect definition of Queen. Her daughter Aana, even in her sweet innocence, too portrays the same gallantry as Azura with her unflinching courage to stay strong in the face of difficulty and overcome her fear-- a worthy successor in the days to come. The other Sentinels too put up a great performance and add more to the humour and irony in the story.
The title is perfect as it is the apple, the fruit of immortality, which is the source of all the temptation of the everlasting life, that gave birth to the Sentinels to protect it from reaching the greed of civilisation who are ready to kill in order to discover history's greatest mystery and commit the greatest theft of mankind.
The astounding cover is absolutely in line with the plot and perfectly compliments the title. It stars the apple-- red, ripe and juicy, along with the seven-headed serpent who rules the Sentinels land and the Dagger that is crutial for the entry into the garden of Eden. The presence of trees around signifies that the apple is still lying in the garden of Eden. The blue background is, on one hand, gloomy to hint at the darkness that is about to befall the land of the Sentinels; as well as bright to emphasize the thunderous consequence that the crime will beget.
Innovative, thrilling and fast-paced with a pulse-pounding twist on a familiar story, specially designed for the lovers of unique puzzles and ancient legends "The Apple" by Devashish Sardana beckons its readers to bite into a spectacular, bewildering action-packed adventure ride through the mysterious garden of Eden.
"You cannot be scared if you embrace the world for what it is."