25 December 2020 | By: Writing Buddha

The Night of Fear by Abha Sharma (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

 1897th BLOG POST

51st Book of 2020!

Sometimes, you pick up a book with a different perception but end up getting something else from it which can be disappointing at times but rarely, this turns out to be a special moment for the reader in you. Something similar happened with me with the book “The Night of Fear” by Abha Sharma. The cover of this 144-pages book and even the title reflects that this is more about the horror part in the story which made me expect something similar from it but what I got in return was something altogether different which was more relatable and preferable to me. This Rupa Publications’ book also has the tagline which says “We are not always what we think we are, but we can become what we choose to become.”.


The book starts like any other college campus story discussing about two girl-friends where one is concerned about another’s life as she can see she is being exploited by one of her schoolmates. She is trying to protect her which makes the friend angry. On the other side, the same protagonist is finding it hard to see her mother having blind faith towards some Godmen or Mahaguru and doing everything she is asked to believe in without any questions or logic. These two different sub-plots get intersected after some time after which the story picks up and becomes interesting. Now, the protagonist is all out to bust the myths without any support from her parents and friend. But the resolution and determination from her end makes the story a good read which will make you imagine things as shown in our media.


Author has tried to question the culture of superstitions, blind-faith and devotion towards priests and godmen through this story without being preachy which makes the book readable. The character development within such a short story is nicely crafted which enables your imagination to draft an image of all the characters mentioned in the story. The book is written quite like daily-soap episodes so in case you like short chapters where each of them ends at a scene where you want to know what happens next, you will enjoy reading this book.


Author has named most of the chapters in a single word such as Trouble, Danger, Fear, Disgust, Woman, Lonely, Love?, Hope etc. and the way those chapters are written which follows the concept of the title is amazing. I have seen people even in short stories not being able to justify their title of the chapter whereas here, Abha, has been able to do the same in a full-fledged novel in a linearly narrated story. I believe this is the USP of the book. Then, there are few paragraphs or sentences mentioned in italic form which are very insightful and philosophical and I really liked reading them. You can definitely note some of them in your diary.


Author, being a woman, in the 1st half of the book, when the focus is more on a character’s mindset and development does great justice with the character of the protagonist- Pritha. You get to learn about what a woman or a girl thinks about various topics, best friend, crushes, love, a boy’s advances etc. very nicely. I generally miss knowing a girl’s perspective while reading the male authors but even many female authors are not able to describe this properly. I am glad Abha won brownie points here.


There are various other issues too which are been highlighted such as how corruptively media works in our nation. How the women empowerment groups and NGO in India are doing things for women which are quite negative whereas it should be done with a positive approach. How a Muslim policeman fears even discussing an issue related to temple knowing that people would see it from a religious angle and there could be endangering circumstances to it. The book also talks about how teenagers take a wrong decision just in the name of love and end up being used, molested or raped by someone they know. There are many such topics which have been pointed out.


Now, talking about the drawbacks, I must say that the book could have been a lot more with the plot chosen for it but author didn’t do complete justice with it. As I have mentioned above, it is written typically the way daily soaps are scripted without much depth wherever there was potential to take the topic to the next level. For example, there is a situation where the protagonist touches the Idol in temple and feels a kind of enlightenment. Author could have given a spiritual touch or many more such references but she doesn’t play with this sub-plot. Similarly, when she tries to break the myth of temple, she could have shown many different perspectives in which the temple was misused but she doesn’t. The biggest point is that a murder happens in the book but the reason for which is not at all disclosed throughout along with why the priests were doing what they were doing. Author also had a chance of making this book in a powerful thriller format but even that opportunity is missed. I can’t mention more stuffs as above otherwise it shall end up being spoiler for you hence there are more such loopholes in the plot.


Overall, the book is a nice read and you shall be able to enjoy it with whatever the author found important enough to cover in this story. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.






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