India embarked upon the fantasy fiction bandwagon a bit too late – at least when it comes to English fantasy fiction – yet it doesn’t deter it from competing with the best of the world.
In recent years, a host of new writers have captured India’s imagination and given readers stories that they had been waiting for years. A look at Amazon, Flipkart or any other self- or traditional publishing platforms today will be sufficient to tell this. You will easily find dozens of titles in the fantasy fiction range on every platform.
Indian writers have not only proved that they are great fantasy storytellers but also stood out in different other ways — like unique plots, characters and fresh perspectives. And that too, without tempering with the universal appeal. That said, India has got its own definition of fantasy novels. Indian fantasy fiction pivots primarily around mythology and ancient Hindu texts. But that’s not all, since Indian fantasy fiction is full of surprises, twists and turns. It’s far too better when compared to the west. The day is not far when a lot of it will be turned into successful online series and movies.
Let’s take a look at some of the Indian fantasy fictional works I’ve lately read:
1. The Devourers by Indrapramit Das
In his debut novel The Devourers in 2015, Indrapramit introduced a unique category of fantasy fiction in India. His story revolved around shape-shifters and werewolves, and explored the concepts of love, cannibalism and humanity. A multi-layered story that was woven through different time periods and perspectives was a big hit among readers.
2. The Simoqin Prophecies by Samit Basu
Next in our list is Samit Basu’s 2004 novel The Simoqin Prophecies. Published by Penguin India, it is a fantasy novel and is the first novel in the GameWorld trilogy. The popularity of the novel has reached beyond India as manifested by its translations into other languages such as Swedish, German and Spanish. As per Wikipedia, other novels in the Gameworld Trilogy are The Manticore’s Secret (2005) and The Unwaba Revelations (2007). The Simoqin Prophecies is a combination of eastern and western fantasy bringing together mythical creatures from all over the world. The readers get to go through a story that has vanars, dragons, rakshases and manticores, among others.
3. The Immortals of Meluha and the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi
The Immortals of Meluha was the first book of Amish Tripathi in the Shiva Trilogy. For Indian readers, the book doesn’t need any introduction as this was the title that set a new trend in India and inspired many writers thereafter. The Immortals of Meluha is a story set in the land of Meluha. It begins with the arrival of the Shiva whom the Meluhans see as their fabled saviour Neelkanth. Shiva comes to the rescue of the Meluhans in their war against the Chandravanshis, who had joined forces with a cursed Nagas. But during Shiva’s journey and as the fight ensues, Shiva learns how his choices actually reflect who he aspires to be and how they lead to dire consequences. This is a gripping tale that will keep you engrossed to the last page.
4. Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan
Sukanya Venkatraghavan has written Dark Things, a delectable fantasy story, that centres around an immortal maiden without a heart and her thrust to seduce and steal the darkest secrets from the chosen men whom she eventually kills in order to serve the queen of her realm. In one such instance, one of her mortal victims survives her power. And the revelation makes the queen furious and turns against her.
It will be unfair for us to reveal the story here and steal the thunder. So we leave you to decide if you wish to immerse into Sukanya’s fantasy world.
5. Cult of Chaos: An Anantya Tantrist Mystery by Shweta Taneja
Shweta has penned a fantasy story in ‘Cult of Chaos’ which is about the world of tantriks who have got their own council, police and justice systems. While it is a gripping tale that requires more attention from readers, the lack of editing has brought the book a little attention. However, this is highly recommended to readers who love fantasy fiction. Certainly this takes you on a journey of its own world – a promise that every fantasy fiction should make.