By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
The last season of Game of Thrones is over and your fantasy itch needs to be scratched. However, George R.R. Martin is taking his sweet time and anyway, you’re tired of epics set in pseudo-Europe with all the usual suspects. Craving a Harish Patel instead of Harry Potter? Looking for a desi Mother of Dragons? This month, Masala Recommends you check out these Indian fantasy authors that will make sure your monsoon plans are always lit(erary). Accio Kindle!
What’s more epic than an actual Epic? If you’ve a hankering for refreshed mythological stories a la Percy Jackson, but prefer cursed nagas over hydras, look no further than Mumbai novelist, Amish Tripathi. A pioneer of the so-called METOO stories (Mythological Epics Told Over and Over) that have brought Indian religious mythology to a new generation, his Shiva Trilogy, featuring Lord Shiva as a strapping hero battling fantastical evils, has had millions booking it to stores for his, well, divine reads.
Prefer your protagonists with a little more bite? Indrapramit “Indra” Das’ take on werewolves in India will have you wolfing down his novels. A prolific and much acclaimed writer from Kolkata, Das is known worldwide for his novel The Devourers, a gripping (and very graphic) psychological tale of supernatural creatures, LGBTQ+ themes, and the kind of love that metaphorically and literally devours you. Spanning centuries of India’s vivid history, it’s sure to give all readers a howling good read. But be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted!
If you enjoy the witty irreverence of Terry Pratchett but prefer an Indian twist, then the prolific Samit Basu is your DESIgnated guide to the world of wacky fantasy hijinks. Born in Kolkata, Basu draws from India’s rich cultural heritage by weaving characters from the Puranas into his breathtaking science-fiction realms. His much acclaimed GameWorld Trilogy has it all: playful wit, bizarre characters, and an Indian prince rising up to challenge reborn rakshas. What more do you need to treat your shelves?
Need a little darkness to give your fantasy some edge? Dive into the pages of Shweta Taneja’s novels where you’ll encounter cults, black magic rituals, and intriguing occult mysteries. Taneja’s works are full of strong feminist prose, terrifying stakes, and dark supernatural forces. Her Anantya Tantrist Mystery series features a renegade New Delhi detective with tantrik powers, a god of chaos, and inhuman creatures from the depths. Definitely worth checking out…if you’ve got the spine for it.
Willing to fall under the spell of a revived fairy tale? Allow Sukanya Venkatraghavan’s debut novel, Dark Things, to enchant you with its tale as old as time: star-crossed lovers from different worlds, a Yakshi looking for redemption, and an evil goddess hell-bent on becoming the most powerful being in the land. Hailing from south India, Venkatraghavan weaves both Eastern and Western mythology to create a truly unique tale replete with desi charm and flavour.
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