Damselfly by Chandra Prasad

My review

Ten teenagers on a plane, returning back home, along with an one-eyed pilot — The plane suddenly crashed, the pilot dead, the kids scattered but soon found themselves but with no mode of contact with the outside world. And then there were eight on a island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It soon becomes a matter of survival, especially when they are somehow not so alone on the island.

Who makes those clawed footprints? Who leaves leave or die on the sand, next to a dead body? Who attacked a woman in the middle of the night? Who or what wants them to leave the island?

This is my first book of the author Chandra Prasad, and oh what a book it was! An absolutely fast-paced, rocking plot line, with each character having a distinct voice, yet the silent ones have their own story. Told in the voice of Sam Mishra, who seems more like an observer, the story goes into the survival mode of the kids with Sam slipping into the past as the memories hit her.

Chandra has delivered the story in a way that shows how the world would work if there was an apocalypse where the split followed by the rise of new powers is the first that occurs, with people showing their true colors; their true nature coming forth and removing the mask of civilization. Chandra’s take on the world which encompasses these kids, is honest and sometimes a bit uncomfortable, as truth often is.

When it is the matter of survival, there is always dissent. This book also shows that as the story progresses; the power play starts slowly and sinuously. The struggle for power often starts when hope is slivered. Chandra Prasad is quite an accomplished author who knows how to keep the reader gripped into the story, the twists appear at the right corner, the politics is subtle but present, the mystery is as thick as the foliage that is seen in most of the island, and the way these kids survive and adapt is astonishing, followed by the change in their personality. The veneer of civilization, when lost, shows the reality and brutality of the human nature.

I personally loved one of the characters Mel, the natural leader and the one who knew all the techniques to keep them alive. When it is a matter of survival, sometimes the emotional side just shuts down. And it is just a matter of living through the next day, and I see that in Mel. What appears ruthless and unnecessary to the others is actually a way to see to the end, whatever the end might be, death or rescue.

Settings are beautifully described where one can see the island to be both beautiful but dangerous, where the night brings its own trouble in paradise. A group of teenagers who have lived a cushiony life filled with technology, soon lose their manners which the civilised world inflicts, to become inhumane in its division where racism exists. Chandra shows, via this book, how humans function when they no longer are in a civilized world but in a greed mode to survive the uncivilized, unknown world!!

There were a few parts which felt a little extreme, somehow I couldn’t see the kids of today doing all that or having the knowledge to do all that, without their phone. But then, they are in an isolated island where only surviving is the need of the hour!

A fast roller-coaster ride with nary a dull moment is how I would describe the book, with its moments of danger, mystery, death, silence, forest, waterfall, ocean and something else. Or should I say someone else!!!

Chandra is a great story teller with the pulse of a mighty adventure, right on her finger tips. Loved the flow of the story and play of the characters… Smooth!!! The story remains even after the ending is long gone. The truth hits far more than imagined. This is one book which is both a story and the real truth…

I received an ARC from the author and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating : 4.5 stars

About the Author

Chandra Prasad is the author of three critically acclaimed novels for adults, and this is her YA debut. A graduate of Yale University, Chandra is now a visiting fellow at Morse, one of Yale’s residential colleges. She lives and works in Connecticut.

Book blurb

Their survival is in their own hands…

Samantha Mishra opens her eyes and discovers she’s alone and injured in the thick of a jungle. She has no idea where she is, or what happened to the plane taking her and the rest of the Drake Rosemont fencing team across the Pacific for a tournament. Once Sam connects with her best friend, Mel, and they find the others, they set up shelter and hope for rescue. But as the days pass, the teens realize they’re on their own, stranded on an island with a mysterious presence that taunts and threatens them. Soon Sam and her companions discover they need to survive more than the jungle… they need to survive each other.

This taut novel, with a setting evocative of Lord of the Flies, is by turns cinematic and intimate, and always thought-provoking.

Product Details

Publication date : 27th February, 2018

Publisher : Scholastic Inc.

Language : English

Available on Amazon

An adventurous thriller

Digital Reads et al

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