The Mug of Melancholy is one of the books that was sent across for reviewing. What intrigued me was the mail from the publishers which said that the author has been writing since age 8 and the story line attached with the mail sounded something like Harry Potter novels.
The story line…
Everything seems fine for Bhuvan until his 15th birthday! He has lost his mother when he was very young and it was his father who has brought him up.
Things change on his 15th birthday when he overhears his dad and his neighbor -Aunt Neera talking about Bhuvan getting a proper training. Further Neera also cautions Anil,Bhuvan’s father, that without proper training he is bound to end up killing himself!Bhuvan wants to know about the secret yet does not want to ask his dad about it.
He gets a strange dream that night and wakes up a bit shaken.Things do not go well the next day at the library as well.He is killed yet he wakes up alive!Bhuvan finds it hard to understand if it was a dream or if he really was in that situation!
And to make things worse a vanishing lady hands him a paper and asks him to open it somewhere private without his father knowing it.He opens the paper and reads the contents and unveils a room below his bed which has books on Andrunains,bottles and containers with curiously colored liquids and a small sweaty man bound in ropes! Bhuvan helps the small man escape and the dwarf’s parting words are to walk into the cedar tree in the garden and then all his questions will be answered.
The next day he walks into the cedar tree and is transported or treelevated into a whole new world called Andrunain Umpling!There he meets a group of school kids of the Padma Institute of Fine Arts and Sciences taking a tour of the Omenwhisky gardens.
He befriends Orville,Kalki,Jwala and Samudra.He walks with them to the various parts of the gardens and lands in Aunt Neeras house when he realizes that his dad will be returning home any time soon .He finds out that he is an Andrunain just like his mom and Neera and even her daughter Jaldhara and he is astounded! The conversation does not proceed further as his father comes knocking by to see if Bhuvan was around.
Anil in the meantime grows suspicious yet does not ask anything directly to Neera / Bhuvan.After his school final exams, Bhuvan sets off [with his mom’s purse] to meet his friends and gets to know more about Andrunains.
And then a lady named Amaterasu offers to tutor Bhuvan with skills that would be necessary to save himself in times of need. This has been arranged by Neera.
Bhuvan also meets Zoya who promises to bring his mother back alive in return of a favor.Bhuvan trusts Zoya and starts following her requests. Zoya also plants ideas that Amaterasu and Neeru are after Bhuvan’s life after which he cuts himself from the two women.
Bhuvan learns that he is the ninth malfaisant and also gets his scepter.He also finds out that the incident in the library was not a dream and it was Amaterasu who had saved his life that day.He is now caught between Zoya and Ameterasu , not knowing whom to trust. Yet he keeps Zoya’s existence a secret in an expectation to see his mother.
Zoya leads him away from his beliefs of trusting Aunt Neeru and he ends up in the garden of eternal bitter winter along with Jaldhara, Neeru’s daughter to fetch the Mug of Melancholy.The kidnapped girl from Andrunain Umpling,Kalki who is a music hypnotist is needed for the completion of the mission.
What happens in the Garden of Eternal Bitter Winter, Who is Zoya and what is her mission, is Zoya her real name, does Bhuvan’s mom come back just like Zoya promised, are Neeru and Amaterasu really after Bhuvan’s life,does Anil find out about his son’s mission, does Bhuvan get the Mug of Melancholy etc is the mystery that will find when you read the book….
My views on the book….
First of all, being an avid Harry Potter fan, I enjoyed reading this book! It is in a similar genre.I will say it is an Indianized Harry potter but not a copied version. The incidents, the people might seem familiar but the similarity stops there. So this is an enjoyable read.
I like the way the incidents are described very nicely so that we can see them in front of us.The narration is good.
As the book proceeds, the reading pace picked up as I wanted to know the ending. I was literally biting my nails to get to the end.
The Characters are named according to the Andrunainties- the special magical powers they possess.Eg- Hawadhan Vayuputra – Controlling monsoon winds,Samudra- controls water in ponds, lakes oceans etc.
And then there are these magic stuffs – Transporter pens, winged backpacks, magic potions,tasty energy drinks the purse that fills up and returns to the owner if it is lost etc.
This book belongs to the young adult fantasy.It is an interesting read if you like the Harry Potter series. I am saving this book for my daughter and I am sure the older kids and adults will like this book.
About the author….
1995. He attended Garden High School, Kolkata, from 2004 to 2014. He has been
writing since the age of eight. As a schoolchild, the terrace of his house, the
corner seat of the school library and the last bench in History classes were his
favourite writing places. The Magic Tree House series catalysed his love for the
written word and the craft as a child.
novels in which Chakraborty has decided to meticulously narrate the story of
Bhuvan Chauhan and the Andrunains. The idea for the novels was conceived in 2008
and stemmed out of a yearning for a personal literary escapism in a nonsensical
world populated with invented creatures and situations yet allusive to the
contemporary and the historical.
Following two years of creating notes, plot
outlines, drawings, and early drafts, Chakraborty began writing The Mug of
Melancholy in December 2010, long-hand, allowing only a friend and his English
teacher to read passages from a notebook. Upon persuasion from his English
teacher, he decided to submit his manuscript to literary agencies for