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Ardra is a Yakshi who serves Queen Hera. As a Yakshi, it is her job to find out the deepest and darkest secrets of men and then kill them. She performs this ritual habitually and passes on these secrets to her Queen. That is the life that Ardra knows till one blood moon her supposed victim survives her bewitchment.

As if a mortal surviving her bewitchment was not a mystery enough… Dara, a monster slayer, spares her life for some unknown reason. That was the word on my mind when I finally finished reading this book. First off, the characters are really well done. Ardra is a character who grows on you slowly.

Instead she comes off as a character whose world is suddenly turned upside down and yet she emerges strong from it. While there are moments of self-doubt and insecurities, she never comes off as an pansy-irritating character that depends on others to solve her problems. Slowly but steadily she takes on everything that is thrown at her, asks the right questions and eventually does the right thing. On the other hand Queen Hera, in many ways, pushes Ardra to be her best. That is a sign of a well-drawn up antagonist because a protagonist can only be as good as the antagonist.

A weak antagonist will never lead to the creation of a great protagonist. Then there is Dara, a character with a past that is hinted at but not clearly spelled out to keep an air of mystery around him. Sukanya Venkatraghavan can sure weave a good tale. The book gets you hooked from the very beginning and before you know it you will be turning the last page!

Her narrative is spot on in every aspect. She kept up the pace of the plot while building the world and its characters. She has provided just enough background information on each character and revealed secrets at the right moment to have the maximum impact. Even I did not see one of the twists coming! The world building has been done well enough. If I absolutely had to crib about one thing in the book, it would be the world building. I am a girl who loves details and while the world building would seem sufficient enough to most people, I want more.

I always want more when I like something. It is not often enough that I love a fantasy book written by an Indian author so much.

Dark Matters

Though these books are not comparable to each other for many reasons, the common thread between the two is the fantasy genre and the care taken to build the worlds with enigmatic characters. Dark Things is now my second favourite fantasy book written by an Indian Author and I would recommend it to all fantasy lovers. Apr 01, Nikita Deshpande rated it it was amazing. A book I did not want to put down. Dark Things is everything I've ever wanted in a book but didn't know whom to ask. Ardra is a Yakshi - a mythical, shape-shifting creature, slave to a mysterious Queen of Desires.

Ardra seduces and bewitches, extracts the deepest, darkest secrets of humans, leaving them dead. The secrets she takes to her mistress - a task she's been at for years. Our story begins on a night when Ardra tries to take secrets from a human called Dwai and fails. Dwai is left alive A book I did not want to put down. Dwai is left alive, Ardra races back to the dark underworld of Atala to the sight of a terrible blood moon. The book races forward at an exciting pace and left me wanting to know more and more and more.

I cannot tell you my favorite parts of the novel without giving away too much. But let's just say the mix of folk tales, magical creatures and raw emotion is heady. Sukanya's novel weaves through beautiful places in our world and others and I can safely say that I traveled far as I read. Another note. I am a romance-nerd, in many ways.

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And though the cover and synopsis do not always give you that, I think the book is quite strong on delivering the tingles. This is one novel that I'll keep coming back to. May 20, Amy Kuivalainen rated it it was amazing. Twitter can be the unexpected giver of delightful gifts and random connections.

In the dark realm of Atala, an evil goddess prepares to do Twitter can be the unexpected giver of delightful gifts and random connections. For starters I know surprisingly little about Indian mythology and this book ties in a lot of different myth tales. My ignorance of the root stories added to my intense enjoyment of the reading. As you all know myths and folk tales are my passion so to be able to be drawn into something so new was a continuous source of wonder. Its opening up new worlds and ideas for me which my story teller heart is feeding off like a Yakshi on a secret see what I did there.

Alright, back to Dark Things.

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Those of us who read a lot of paranormal fiction know there is an ocean of succubus books out there. To set the record straight this story is on a whole different level. A concept that really spoke to me in the story is that of the Untellable Secret- something that if spoken the hearer and the teller are never the same again.

As someone who has carried the burden of such a thing I know the gravity of the secret that binds Ardra, Dara, Hera and other characters together. Some secrets leave a stain, they shape who and what we are and what we become. It is also a story of memories of things lost but not forgotten. The kind of stories that tease the back of your imagination because they feel like they are a story you once knew and have forgotten. There is a deep melancholy sense of loss in Dark Things…all the characters feel it on some level.

After I finished reading it I knew I was going to suffer from the worst book hangover. I cleaned the house as cleaning is when I work out the messy problems in my brain. But I know this — the universe is full of strange,beautiful stories, some untellable, some forgotten, and some written in a language that nobody can read, not even the Gods. These stories exist because the universe does, and the universe blazes on because these stories keep it alive. You and me, are the stories. We live and so does the universe. One does not exist without the other. Jun 07, Malathy Garewal rated it it was amazing.

A very well-written novel by an author who draws on elements of Hindu mythology and manages to subsume it in an elaborately constructed fantasy world. It is wonderful to read a contemporary author who has created an engaging world where werewolves or vampires are not the main characters. And it is a nice game to trace Hindu mythological elements throughout the story.

Enjoyed this book a lot and hoping for a sequel soon. Apr 04, Vidya rated it it was amazing. If you took the magic and hope out of Harry Potter, mixed it with the mystery and allure of Hindu Mythology and the fantasy of parallel worlds from Neil Gaiman books From the 1st page, Sukanya Venkatraghavan, takes you on a magical journey into a world of Yakshis, Gandarvas and Apsaras. Yet in even in this world of magic and supernatural power and magic the characters struggle with the same issues of love, jealousy, loyalty and betrayal.

Ardra's search of her tr If you took the magic and hope out of Harry Potter, mixed it with the mystery and allure of Hindu Mythology and the fantasy of parallel worlds from Neil Gaiman books Ardra's search of her true identity and the secrets of her past draw you into the story and you will not want to put the book down, till you find the answers with her.

May 24, Vijayalakshmi rated it really liked it. Ardra, a yakshi, is in the service of Hera, the evil queen of Atala. A shape-shifter, she steals secrets from human men and leaves them dead. Secrets must be hunted down and questions answered before heaven and earth descend into evil. Accompanying Ardra and Dwai on their dark and dangerous quest is the monster slayer, Dara. Other than the trio the cast of characters also features legendary apsaras, wood nymphs, gandharvas, werewolves Ardra, a yakshi, is in the service of Hera, the evil queen of Atala.

Other than the trio the cast of characters also features legendary apsaras, wood nymphs, gandharvas, werewolves, assorted creatures from hell and a Huldra. What I truly love about this book is that it has managed to extricate mythology from the grasp of religion, making this a book that truly crosses boundaries. Another thing to love is the female characters. They display a range of personalities and are multidimensional. There are enough twists and turns to keep even the ficklest of readers interested and at just pages long, is a quick read.

The relatively short length of the book is however what led to my few, minor annoyances with this book. Too many questions I had were left unanswered at the end, or if they were addressed, they were not detailed enough. Also, because so many characters occupy so less a space, I did not get to see enough of some of the characters I really liked. However, these complaints do not take anything away from the enjoyment of the book, and is easily solved by a sequel. Dark Things is certainly a book that stands apart from its peers in the genre and a must-read for those looking for good fantasy fiction.

I am not always interested in fantasy fiction by Indian authors but Dark Things definitely caught my eye. That is why when I got an opportunity to read and review it I jumped on it. I'll just come out and say this, I genuinely enjoyed Dark Things. It was something different, especially for the Indian market. So basically Dark Things is the story of Ardra.

She is a succubus also known as a Yakshi who are design I was super intrigued when I read the summary of Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. She is a succubus also known as a Yakshi who are designed to seduce and kill men all the while stealing their secrets. That is what they live for. Ardra was a complex heroine. She considered herself to be a dark thing but we always got the glimpses of humanity and kindness from her. I loved being inside Ardra's head and seeing her thought processes. She was a heroine who definitely had her faults but it made her easy to relate to. Ardra lives with the other Yakshis in the realm of Atala where Hera is the queen and ruler of them all.

As Ardra stumbles upon things she shouldn't she finds herself with more questions than answers. I loved how the author slowly unravelled Ardra's past. We get to be with Ardra while she tries to figure out what's going on. The past is by no means simple and it seems like everyone has a connection and a secret motive behind their actions. I also really enjoyed Dwai's character. He was a great guy. I loved how he was protective of Ardra. He was always by her side. Then we have Dara who is the master of mixed signals.

But we do find the reasons behind his behaviour by the end of the book. The author does a great job of fleshing out each and every single character in the book no matter how small their role, which I really appreciated. No one is one dimensional. Dark Things takes you into several realms. Sukanya Vankatraghavan describes all the realms and settings with great detail connecting everything back to the characters.

I loved all the intricacies and the world building was amazing. Dark Things is a well balanced combination of fantasy and action with a dash of romance. I liked it more than I thought I would so I will definitely be on the look out for more by this author. We thank them. Mar 09, Rubini Rajoo rated it it was amazing. Ardra is the one character that I really can't take away from my mind.

Read for a number of times and everytime it's so fresh and new for me. I never felt bore while reading it. Those melancholic words and the voice of Ardra couldn't vanish from my mind. I love this book to the core and it's definitely a masterpiece of Sukanya's imagination world. Jul 12, Deepti rated it it was amazing. They roam the earth. They scope the sky. They haunt the underworld. Who is Ardra and why is she different from her fellow Yakshis? What they lacked was destiny. The novel starts off like an orchestra, instrument by solitary instrument, and plays on till it reaches a crescendo as strong forces face one another in the New War that is fought, till wrongs are made right and memories restored.

What takes this book beyond the realm of mere fantasy is the beauty of the language employed by the author. Sukanya seems to take parallels from Greek literature when she talks of Tarini, the River of Death, and its boatman, and Hera who is strangely Medusa-like. I wish this was a magnum opus, filled with innumerable volumes like Sandman which seemed to never end. This book did open up new dimensions in my reading. I have never read indian fantasy with such awe. I wanted to keep it going but then "thud" like every story has to end, this ended too. Ardra, Dwai, Dara the characters are absolutely amazing.

It was a bit of a slow start for me but then it picked up and I now regret why didn't I finish it earlier. I really hope the author is listening and givi I wish this was a magnum opus, filled with innumerable volumes like Sandman which seemed to never end. I really hope the author is listening and giving us a a sequel at least if not a trilogy. View 2 comments. Feb 08, Eva Pavithran rated it it was amazing. Dark Things is a special book for many reasons. Being a Malayalee and born to a dancer of a mother, Apsaras, Gandharvas and Yakshis were the main protagonists in most of the bedtime stories of my childhood.

So, for me, it also brought back those nights where my grandma read tales from the Aithihyamala a collection of century-old legends from Kerala. Secondly, the book bewitches you pretty much like the Yakshi in it from the word go. It keeps you guessing; there is never a dull moment. And, you will never see the twist in the end coming! Finally, despite all its nail-biting encounters, at the end of if all, Dark Things is a love story or rather love stories that will tug at your heart strings. Mortal or immortal, love seems to be the only thing that can bring joy and destruction in equal measure depending on the lightness or darkness within you.

The writer blurs the lines between memories and dreams, evil and good, effortlessly. The book also emphasises on the fact that humanity, can sometimes be, found even in the darkest of places and souls. If you don't know it yet, fantasy is my LIFE. I would give up my unborn child for the next great fantasy novel. Unfortunately, though, I can pretty much predict most of it, even the betrayals, and the twists and the plot points, and I HATE when I can do that.

So, when Hachette asked me if I would like to review Dark Things for them, I found it super intriguing. It sounded brilliant and out of the box, and exactly what I needed. I will admit, it did take me a while to get used to the book, and the writing and the world. It was dark, seductive and all around the perfect starter.

Dark Things

And then, however, came all of the world building and terminology that I was struggling to gasp, because all these new words and dimensions were being thrown around with pretty much no back story. All I could do was relate it to a more well heard of version heaven, earth and hell and angels and demons, but there wasn't a lot of explanation, and that left me sort of out of the loop.

Now that I got that out of the way, and once I had sort of made sense of the world in my own crazy little head, the good part really came around. Because in a world of having the ability to predict everything, Dark Things had the originality to take me on a whole new kind of roller coaster. I'm not going to give you details about what the book contains, because this is one ride you need to take for yourself. A whole different kind of fantasy, that will leave you needing more! So, Indian science fiction, for one as imaginative as I am, never thought of it, granted I was busy living life and dodging huge obstacles but still one would think that my creative side would have conceived of it.

Umm nope. When I say I adore all things sci fi and fantasy, tis true.

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I used to eat, sleep, breath fantasy. I became a co-manager in a Waldenbooks just to rub up on the cases of books I digress. This book was magnificent. It grabbed and transported me away for almost 12 or so hours. Never slept that night which was perfectly delightful because I was in THAT world, which is written about in such passionate descriptives, one truly feels as though they are a part of that world, watching the scenes unfold, just far enough away not to be able to reach out and touch a character.

Took me away from HERE, and I thought of nothing else for a remarkable night, a night free of thinking. To travel, fly and live lives other than our own?? I am still seeking far and wide for another book to again stir my passion and envelop me into its world. May 22, Padma rated it really liked it. Really loved reading Dark Things. I wouldn't call myself a fantasy fiction fan however the blurb of Dark Things was so alluring that I was rather keen to read it. And that has totally paid off. The varied realms that Sukanya Venkatraghavan spins and the layered characters in each of them leave you spell bound even after finishing the book.

Sheer magic in the writing is what leaves you invested in the characters irrespective of the shades they show. Many times, it the evil ones who leave you as Really loved reading Dark Things. Many times, it the evil ones who leave you asking for more. Then again, when you read this book, you will question what is good and what is evil.

While there is so much happening throughout the book, the loops are tied nicely in the end with a roller coaster final act, which only leaves you wondering what next and how soon the author will pen it for you. Go for it! Jul 12, Tanaz rated it it was amazing.

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A dark, gorgeous world, full of myth and wonder. This is exactly the sort of book I've been waiting for from an Indian fantasy author and Sukanya Venkatraghavan delivers beautifully. Ardra is a yakshi, a self-described monster who kills men and steals their secrets with a kiss. Things go awry when one of her targets, Dwai, survives and Ardra is pulled inexplicably into an ancient battle between Atala, where she was born and Akasha, the heavenly abode of celestial dieties apsaras and gandharvas.

The modern Indian setting contrasting with ancient myth was especially well done. I especially loved the description of Atala, with its bloodsucking frangipani and dark, shadowy creatures. There was a twist at the end that I didn't expect, which was also great! Highly recommended for lovers of Indian fantasy. Aug 13, Neha rated it it was ok.

Unlocking the Mystery

Started with moderate expectations, since it came highly recommended. And the expectations rose several notches higher on reading the first few pages, for the narrative as well as the plot held bewitching promises. But that didn't sustain itself. Loose writing is the book's undoing. The story is replete with so many extraneous details, it seems that it's written with many sequels in mind. It could be a good ploy, but for me, those bits were just distractions from the actual plot.

Which takes jus Started with moderate expectations, since it came highly recommended. Which takes just so much time to unravel itself, that by the time you reach the end, it's almost anticlimactic. I would have loved the book in two scenarios - same story, edited better; or a much longer narrative, almost epic style, with much more depth. This book just left me disappointed. Mar 19, Sukhman Phangura rated it it was amazing.

Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan is a rollercoaster ride composed of melancholy filled lows and amorous highs. I am not much of a reader but this book has made me want to read more. The book talks about identity, love, regret, redemption, greed, ambition and many more themes that will touch your soul. It is a fantasy novel yet we can relate to it so much. Maybe it is because deep inside we are all monsters that live in the countless realms of our minds. It is a great read that contains imag Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan is a rollercoaster ride composed of melancholy filled lows and amorous highs.

It is a great read that contains imagery painted onto the pages with delicate strokes. It is a work of art that everyone needs to lay their brains on. Dec 03, Sanchita rated it really liked it. I've read enough Indian and foreign fantasy fiction to safely say, for a first attempt, this is quite impressive.

With interesting names and a plot that is full of surprises, my only complaints would be that Ardra's reactions were always consistent and predictable, unlike human nature. Additionally, the last climactic section could have been a lot more detailed out and interesting. There was almost no buildup to it. Oct 02, Rajeshwari Hariharan rated it liked it. Personally this book felt like an Indianised version of the Twilight series. Similar plot, similar love triangle. From the blurb, I expected a whole different kind of a book but ended up with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

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Sep 03, NitaSai rated it it was amazing. The best book I recommend for everyone to read. Yakshi was very well portrayed as per modern era. Every chapter had its own enchantments and suspense and thrillers. Sep 28, Kurian rated it it was amazing. It was my close friend who mentioned that her friend and classmate had written a book. Frankly it was my closeness to my friend that prompted me to buy the book. And I liked it. The book is almost like in my dreamworld.

Sounds like a warning! But delve in, you see an amazing mind of an amazing author. I am still wondering as to how Sukanya could t It was my close friend who mentioned that her friend and classmate had written a book. I am still wondering as to how Sukanya could think the way my mind works.

She can string the story very well, while my thoughts are all over. The bodies he coveted were unsexed in the dark. In Night Fever , a gallery of these figures — gendered and otherwise — emerge from clouds of dry ice, as do their ephemeral stages. However, attention is also paid to less well-worn dance floors: the clubbing scenes in Hong Kong and Shenzhen on the eve of the handover are explored in one essay, for instance, and the peri-apartheid nightlife of Johannesburg is the focus of another.

Image courtesy of OMA. Here, the author neglects some earlier deformations of modernist spatiality, which was never as monolithic as he suggests. Nevertheless, there is something peculiar about the distortions of club-space. For one thing, it constitutes an other to the supposed clarity of the street and the equally supposed privacy of the home, an obscurely public realm relatively hidden from the surveillance of the state. Despite the increasingly heavy-handed apparatus of security installed at the doors of London clubs, this invisibility endures, not least because the scene is beginning to withdraw once more to unofficial sites.

The number of illegal raves in London doubled between and , according to police figures. Whether watched over by the state or not, however, the essential qualities of lights and music deployed in artificial darkness remain. Image courtesy of Rod Lewis. Image courtesy of Chicago University Press. Indeed, some make strident and somewhat startling claims for their subjects. We might pause before such a leap, especially since others in the book have cautioned that the nightclub is not always so transformational.

This subcultural congruence with the dominant culture — a brutally vulgar bit of Marxism — reminds us that even under conditions of play, the technological innervation offered by the nightclub can be more acculturating than liberating. Photograph courtesy of Dave Swindells.

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A curated selection of the best architectural ideas in the world to inspire your mind and feed your soul. Each special edition is created using sheet-fed litho printing with hand-inserted tip-ins and gatefolds with vegetable-based inks on a mix of FSC-certified paper and card. Don't miss the next issue —. Menu Today Essays Back. Your browser is no longer supported For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser. Sign in. Search the site Search. Subscribe now. Can't find the historical article you need?

We'll scan it for you. Find out more. You are here: Essays. Dark matters: The avant-garde and club culture since the s. Full screen. Image courtesy of Ben Kelly. Image courtesy of Martin Eberle. Elcott fig5.