Aqson Level 1 by Sreejib is probably the most unexpected book I read this year. When I was offered a review copy, it appeared to be some Fantasy type of story between good and evil – a fight between God and Lucifer, and I was intrigued enough to accept.
To my dismay, when it arrived it seemed more to do with Indian politics (student politics in particular) and a fight for political power, which doesn’t interest me in the least.
So this book went on the back burner until one day when I had nothing on hand to read. So I read the first three chapters, and I was hooked.
What It’s About
Aqson is short for Aqua Crimson, which are the two colors of a game played by God and Lucifer. Using their pawns (or weapons as they are called), the two attempt to outwit each other with an eye to the main prize – ownership of the Prime Minister of India.
First up, I have to state that the author makes politics sound really interesting. I think the trick was in creating some really interesting, unique, and lovable characters. She has a several protagonists – Yuvrani, Toya, Goenka, Ollie, Appy, AJ, and sundry more characters people her book. But each person is so lovingly described and in such detail that I had no difficulties following their stories, and more importantly, enjoying their political journey.
I especially loved the introduction of a really funny character – Sky late in the novel. Her entry, persona, and dialogues were so unexpected and hilarious, and took the book in such a different and fun direction, that a story that was starting to touch a serious note, suddenly became light and funny again.
So, yes, the author has a real flare for writing excellent characters. She also has a knack of writing humor extremely well. I found myself chortling throughout the story, and even though the main plot – fight between God and Lucifer is deadly serious, the fun was perfectly mixed in to lighten the mood.
Apart from the characters, I also loved the writing. At times, it errs on the side of being too descriptive, making this a rather chunky novel for the story it tells. However, since this book is the first of a series, I think the author was wise in taking the time to set up the plot.
And the plot is pretty good too!
The twists and turns and cunning scheming involved to win the student elections in Kolkata was brilliantly done. And I who don’t really enjoy politics very much, was racing along, really enjoying how this bunch of highly-motivated and brilliant students brought change into the colleges and universities in Kolkata.
The book ends with one side winning the first level of the competition (hence the title Aqson Level 1). I am presuming that future books in this series will each deal with a different level of the game. I am also expecting an escalation in the thrills and danger side.
Overall, this book was a fantastically good surprise and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
You can also buy an ebook version from Amazon.
Huge thanks to Notion Press for sending me this book for review consideration.