A fantasy trilogy by Samit Basu, an Indian
author consisting of The Simoqin Prophecies
, The Manticore's Secret
, and The Unwaba Revelations
Two hundred years ago, the ravians
defeated the Dark Lord
Danh-Gem and disappeared from the world
. According to prophecy, after two hundred years, Danh-Gem would return to lead his army of darkness and a Chosen One
would rise up to defeat him.
In the present, Danh-Gem's former allies are organizing in the shadows, magic is growing in power
and magical creatures are reappearing, and the Chosen One
has been found and must be trained before everyone runs out of time.
Except this is Discworld-esque
setting where people are much more complicated
than good versus evil.
This series provides examples of:
- All Trolls Are Different: Similarly to Discworld trolls, pashans are made of stone, the exact kind depending on where their egg was incubated.
- Beast Man: The vanars are intelligent ape-men.
- Betty and Veronica: The main love triangle with Maya stuck between Kirin and Asvin, though it turns into more of a Love Dodecahedron with various secondary love interests for both of the boys.
- The Chosen One: Asvin
- Cosmic Chess Game: In Manticore's Secret, it turns out that the big war and the Second Age of Terror everyone's been worrying about? A trifling concern compared to how much the Jerkass Gods are planning to screw the world for their own amusement. By Unwaba Revelations some of the characters have actually figured this out and are working on the problem.
- Delivery Stork: Pashan eggs are delivered to safe nests by storks after their laid, but their conceived the normal way.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Asvin
- Evil Overlord: Danh-Gem. Later, Kirin
- Fantastic Racism: Every species and culture feels this about most everyone else. It's one of the major plot points and themes throughout. The asurs and vanars definitely get the short end of the stick though, and the ravians and the rakshas really didn't get along.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Kol is New Delhi/New York/Ankh-Morpork, Avranti is an Indian principality, Ventelot is Camelot, Durg is a Lady Land full of warrior women, Xi'en is a mix of China and Japan, Skuanmark is Viking Scandinavia, Psomedea is classical Greece, Artaxerxia is Persia, Bolvudis is Hollywood/Bollywood, Elaken is Egypt, and so on.
- Genre Savvy: Many of the characters; Danh-Gem, Kirin, Maya, the Silver Dagger, and the Civilian deserving special mention.
- Hero Academy: The Hero School used to train adventurers and knights, now it trains politicians and accountants (aka, the people who actually run the world nowadays). Enki Univeristy is a more straight example of a Wizarding School.
- The Hero's Journey: Asvin has a very standard, archetypal ones hitting all the bullet points along the way... up until he finally gets in a position to fight the Big Bad.
- Humans Are White: Averted. Most of the characters are some shade of brown, but there is quite a spectrum and clear ethnic divides between countries, from the very dark Durgans to the Nordic blondes of Skuanmark.
- Hybrid Monster: Kirin. Neither part is human either. Also, all human spell-binders are actually Half-Human Hybrid hybrids with some rakshas blood somewhere in their family trees.
- Living a Double Life: Danh-Gem manages to be both the Evil Overlord and The Mole with his enemies, without any of the ravians, including his wife, being aware.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Danh-Gem to Kirin. Made even more complicated by the fact Kirin thought he already knew who his parents were... and was correct.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Maya, though Mantric is a Mentor rather than villain.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Narak and Isara got exiled over this, being Expies of Beren and Lúthien after all.
- The Mole: Narak, who is not just working for but is Danh-Gem.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Vaman are your standard fantasy dwarves, and they don't take well to that highist-slur. Except Gaam.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Sirens attract sailors not through song or looks but through scent pheromones.
- Our Elves Are Better: Ravians have much stronger magic than humans, including mind-control powers that make everyone think really well of them. Most of them are intolerant, authoritarian jerks and their reappearance in book 2 is not a turn for the better.
- Reverse Mole: Kirin initially, before things get more complicated
- Shout-Out: Full of them. The books are constantly referencing, if not quoting, from anywhere and everywhere. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Odyssey, Robin Hood...
- Theory of Narrative Causality: This is an actual force in the story, doing things like pushing Asvin and Maya together because the Hero Always Gets the Girl. The tongue-in-cheek Genre Savvy of the narrative voice just puts this all on the surface.
- The Anthropic Principle is a subset of this. Asvin's most common epitaph is: "The Chosen One. A Person to Whom Things Happen. Many Things."
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The main ability of rakshases
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Asvin's prepared for a very traditional, Black and White Morality high fantasy hero's journey. That is not the story he is actually in. The people actually in charge of Kol and its allies and acting as his Mentors/Mission Control see it as a point in his favor as hero material that he's a nice boy who doesn't ask inconvenient questions.