Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

Presenting The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer by Laxmi Hariharan.

Here is the summary of the book:

A YA action-thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kickass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.

A terrifying encounter propels Ruby Iyer from her everyday commute into a battle for her own survival. Trusting her instincts, she fights for the things she believes in, led on a mysterious path between life and death on the crowded roads of Bombay; and when her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the sexy Vikram Roy, a cop-turned-rogue, on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza's teen army. As Bombay falls apart, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?

The Origins of Ruby Iyer
Growing up in Bombay I was weighed down by the expectations of traditional Indian society. Yet, I wanted to be economically independent. So, daily I would leave the relative safety of home, knowing that my commute to work was going to be nightmarish. It's just how public transport is in this city. When you get on a crowded local train platform, you accept that you are probably going to be felt up. Every time this happened to me, I would get really angry. But, I would deal with it and get on. When a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight, I was furious. It was as if nothing had changed in all the years I had been away. I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down anymore; who would stand up for herself regardless of the consequences. Who would follow her heart ... Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Ruby is her own person. She leads I follow.

Rather refreshing, whimsical and a bit riddled with the ridiculous ..... and reminded me a bit of those CID (Indian crime/thriller show) episodes, which is not necessarily a bad thing but oh well I got distracted. Back to the review. Anyway like its protagonist Ruby Iyer, this book goes through a bit of an identity crisis - YA thriller, contemporary or sci-fi is not really clear.

I'd admit the plot has its merits. Mumbai city is on the brink of destruction from a crazed villainous Dr. Braganza and her teen army and the only one standing in her way is an angry young Mumbai-kar Ruby Iyer and the strong and mysterious officer Vikram Roy. Have to hand it to the author, she came with a great plot with a rather eccentric pace. It starts out great when after Ruby gets her thousands of watts transformation, it picks up speed and rushes and fumbles to the end.

Of course, Mumbai is the main attraction here and in that respect the author did an authentic and somewhat realistic picture of the city. So much so that you could think of the city as a separate character. But herein lies the problem, it appears she spent a big much time with her city, that the characters didn't get the needed space to flourish. Although she did raise the issue on eave-teasing and harassment which is a big problem in the country and highlighted to the most noteworthy characteristics of Mumbai, standing back on its own two feet even after suffering through a major disaster (natural or man-made).

Ruby Iyer & Vikram Roy. A bit more work and they could have just been the superstars of the book. While they were individually strong characters but sadly I couldn't really connect with them. The author tries to do a lot here so the end result turns into a hybrid of story genres with the action part that jumps out through the pages with much romp and kick my favorite part of the book .... But it was entertaining nonetheless.

"A fast paced romp-ity ride through 'aamchee' Mumbai"

Genre :     Young Adult, Contemporary, Sci-fi, Thriller, Dystopia

Publisher: Read Out Loud

Release Date: 1st December, 2014

My Copy: courtesy of Author

Rate:             4/5 (Really Liked It)

Buy:         Amazon 


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