I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about people—to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa.” —from Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Maya and the Sword of Gringak
Maya is the average teenager, with the simple aspirations of any16-year-old. All she’s looking forward to is her dream date with Dhruv, the boy she’s had a yearlong crush on. As she heads home from the date, events set into motion that changes her very existence. Secrets from the past will be revealed. She discovers that she is not who she thought she was; what’s more, she must prepare to embrace a destiny that will make her the saviour of Earth. But is she really up for the task? Will she find the mighty sword? Will she be able to see herself as the true champion?
Maya and the Sword of Gringak is the most engaging young adult fantasy novel I have read till now. In short, I am blown away by how spectacular the complete package is; from the storyline to the characters and the narrative technique, I am in awe of the author’s literary prowess, to say the least.
The basic plotline traces the life of 16-year-old Maya, who is infatuated with her classmate, Dhruv. When her crush asks her out on a date, she is over the moon (come on, obviously!). But, it is during her return that a chain of events is set rolling, capable of altering Maya’s destiny as well as existence completely. With cataclysmic chaos anticipating the world she lives in, Maya strives to find the Sword or Gringak to protect her loved ones from the shadows of evil. This sweeping expanse of the storyline is enough for a reader to dive into the novel right away.
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To me, one of the most challenging aspects of writing Children’s or YA fiction is when you have to maintain a balance between real-life experiences and the fictional elements that would contribute to your narration. Some authors tend to overdo the experience part by adding just too many details pertaining to what the protagonist wore to an event, and other points of triviality. But Maya and the Sword of Gringak is a pleasing exception. The beauty of the novel lies in the candour of depicting teenage emotions while simultaneously endeavouring towards building the storyline at a gradual pace.
Moreover, the characterisation done here is simply amazing. Maya and the Sword of Gringak has a wonderful cast that will move you in some of the most awe-inspiring ways. I personally loved how brilliantly the author has created Maya, a steadfast and headstrong protagonist who is just as much an adolescent as any other 16 year old. She is excited and nervous, disappointed and hopeful, anxious and confident at the same time. In fact, it is through Maya that we see the transition of an individual from childhood to adulthood, and I am amazed at how well the author has pulled off this feat.
Yet, what I loved most about Maya and the Sword of Gringak is how the story does not attempt to be a didactic tale for young adults, which Indian YA novels occasionally tend to be. Maya and the Sword of Gringak express the humane aspect of humans, that we fall only to rise again. This book is such a heartwarming source of inspiration and faith that, I must say, it deserves a sequel. As Spiderman said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” Maya is an important character in the entire cosmology depicted in the story, and our young heroine deserves more time in the plot. I would like to see how Maya matures into an adult while still retaining the steadfastness and candour she bore as a teenager. It would be a treat to witness such a riveting character growth. My best wishes to the author for her upcoming projects.