5 July 2016

Review #478: Ambushed by Nayanika Mahtani

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity."

----George Bernard Shaw

Nayanika Mahtani, an India author, has penned an incredibly thrilling and heart-touching adventure story that includes tigers in her debut book, Ambushed where the author weaves a tale about a young girl who takes a summer vacation holiday trip on a Himalayan tiger reserve where the gadget freak young girl had little idea that this holiday is going to change her life forever as an exciting and dangerous adventure awaits her in the dense, dark forest of Himalayas.


10-year-old gadget geek Tara braces herself for the dullest summer ever when her father whisks her off to a sleepy tiger reserve in the Himalayan foothills, where Nothing Ever Happens. She couldn't have been more wrong.

A walk through the woods sends Tara on an adventure of a lifetime, as she stumbles upon a gang of poachers. A tigress and her cubs must be saved and Tara's only accomplice is her mysterious new friend, Satya. But can she trust him? And will this unlikely pair save the day?

Tara's father decides that on summer holidays, he and his family must take a wild trip up to the Himalayan foothills where they will spend their days photo-shooting and hiking on a tiger reserve. But he knows it is not easy to get an approval from his 10-year old daughter, Tara, who loves the comfort of her own home and her iPad and gaming consoles, and especially his wife who fancies a rich, posh city lifestyle. Somehow, they both agree and Tara and her family embarks upon a wild and exciting adventure into the unknown, where they not only come across with the dark and honest realities of tiger poaching but also become a part of a riveting mystery tale where they can easily fall prey to the hands of a notorious tiger poaching dealer. And little did Tara knew, that after hiking up on an unknown and lost tiger trail, she will meet the boy, Satya, who will change her life as well as the future of the tigers residing in that Himalayan foothill.

The author's writing style is not only polished, but quite emphatic and is laced with thrill and excitement. The narrative is simple and free flowing that is easy to comprehend with and as the book targets the age group of 10 year old children, the language is very much apt and innocent as it is narrated from the voice of a gaming freak 10 year old girl, Tara and I believe, kids of modern times, especially, the city kids will easily related to her narrative approach. The pacing is really fast, as the story is supported with short and quick chapters that are cleverly developed with layers and anticipating twists.

The book's cover image is quite eye-catchy and alluring enough to arrest the readers' minds on the very first look and the dash of myriad colors on the cover image simply give a striking look to the book. The story is one hell of a roller coaster ride filled not only with exciting adventure and thrills but also with enough tension that will grip the readers to take this ride.

The characters in the book are well etched out and very well portrayed with realism that makes them believable in the eyes of the readers. The main character, Tara, is an extremely spunky and sharp girl whose often sarcastic and emotional remarks will make the readers easily fall for her honest demeanor. Tara stands out to be an epitome for all the modern day kids who rarely look up from the bright screen of their iPads or mobiles where they are lost in the world of Candy Crush, or Angry Birds or Temple Run, but this girl eventually evolves and sympathizes with the pain and the brutal reality of tiger poaching. The rest of the supporting characters are also very much well developed where each and everyone is not only real but also reflects an interesting streak in their demeanor.

The author here addresses and depicts a very, very sensitive and extremely grave issue that is paralyzing the mother nature as well as the whole world. With only over 3000 adult wild tigers left on this planet, the tiger poaching is increasing at a fast rate and very soon in within 10-15 years, tigers might become extinct and the author has carefully and smartly portrayed this issue and the central message to save tigers and to stop tiger poaching very strongly that will stop the readers from what they are doing and will force their hands to Google about this issue. And for that I would like to give the author applaud her for her efforts to bend the readers in a direction where they rarely gave any thought about.

In a nutshell, this is not only a compelling or inspiring story but also a very much emotional journey, where a family learns about the dark secrets and the bitter truth about tigers and their existence in India, and how China is supporting this tiger poaching trade to help themselves in making herbal and traditional Chinese medicines, and not to mention, how these Chinese dealers are easily getting away with it under the nose and the eyes of the Indian government. Overall this is a hopeful story and I enjoyed the book cover-to-cover.

Verdict: A must read book for all!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Nayanika Mahtani, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Nayanika spent her childhood following her parents across many incredible parts of India, with the longest stop being in Kolkata. Though she harboured dreams of becoming an actor in musical theatre, she followed the proverbial left side of her brain to do an MBA at IIM Bengaluru and became an investment banker. A decade later, she followed her heart to live in Africa. Since then, she’s been following the right side of her brain and is a copywriter by day and a storyteller by night. She now lives in London with her husband, two daughters and their goldfish named Sushi and Fishfinger - who spend their days following each other. Mostly.
Visit her here

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