Today I am hosting Laxmi Hariharan in celebration of her new release The Destiny of Shaitan. Check out the guest post below and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win either a $15 Amazon Gift Card or Autographed Paperback of The Destiny of Shaitan.
Title: The Destiny of Shaitan
Series: Chronicle of the Three, Book 1
Author: Laxmi Hariharan
Desription: Inspired by Indian mythology and partially set in a futuristic Bombay, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.
When Tiina accompanies Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path. Tiina wants Yudi to destroy Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Shaitan being killed by his son. But she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?
Review: A story that covers space travel and alien species, this book is definitely a unique read. I had some trouble keeping up with all the different mythological Indian references, but once I just accepted the terminology, it flowed well. The number three is prevalent in the story being as it is an important number in many types of mythologies, but in this story it shows in the three gods most believe in and the three saviors of the galaxy. Shaitan is a Half Life, which means he is half human and half something else. That something else isn't explained in the story and actually you do not find that out about most of the primary characters. Shaitan however is determined to rule the galaxy and to be the first half life to conquers worlds. He is actually very successful and destroys planets in the process. Earth is not among them because by 3000 AD the Earth has already been destroyed by natural disasters leaving very little of the human race alive. During his conquest though, one of the three gods, Shiva, curses him by saying that his own son will bring him to his death. Shaitan vows to never have kids or to kill every kids he ever fathers. Takes care of that curse huh? However the power of motherly love conquers most and two of Shaitan's sons live, become friends, and adventure with Tiina to kill Shaitan. Tiina is the twin sister of a girl that Shaitan kidnaps to raise as his own. Yudi and Rai are Shaitan's sons. Together they have adventures and are the focus of the entire story.
There is some adult content in this book, but nothing that a 15 year old couldn't handle. I found the story entertaining and the character development wonderfully written. You will especially love the shape shifting spaceship and Lion Man if you like these types of stories.
Interview with the author, Laxmi Hariharan:
- I have not read a lot of books on intergalactic plots. What made you decide to write about different planets and aliens? Why did you focus the story another 1000 years in the future?
Gosh, that’s a tough one. I suppose, I wanted to boldly go where not too many writers had been before. But really that is how the story wrote itself. I know it’s not much of an explanation, and I was a little shocked myself by the audacity of my vision, but I held onto it and let the story play out.
- The story focuses on half lives and various alien species. Where did the idea of crossbreeding humans with other species come from? Why are their lifespans so much shorter than full humans?
That’s such a great question. I am so pleased you picked up on this. I actually wrote a post on this http://thedestinyofshaitan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/half-lives-are-future.html. I am a biochemistry graduate; a scientific phenomenon which fascinates me is the half-life of radioactive elements. Abbreviated to t½, this scientific term half-life is used to describe the radioactive decay of unstable atoms. So actually it is the period of time taken for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. I have always thought this was really quirky. My half lives are inspired by this natural occurrence. And then I realised it made perfect sense for half-lives to age at double the rate of humans, so they decrease exponentially as they grow older. Half lives age at a rate which is 50% faster than humans. In 3017 most half lives have a life expectancy of fifty years, while their human counterparts could easily live to be a hundred. Half lives are just so dynamic as a race, so driven to achieve something beyond themselves, that they try to pack everything into a much shorter life. They know they are going to die much faster than humans.So they don’t wait.
As I write this I realise it is also inspired by the term ‘burning the candle at both ends’ which I think I did a lot of, to fit into the rat race of life in my younger years. At that time I often felt as if I was racing against time. Then had this crazy near death experience a few years which made me feel the sands of time were really running out, so I had to pack everything I really wanted to do in as little a time as possible. You could say that I some ways I am a half-life myself .
- How are humans or half lives able to live on the different planets (like Saturn)? You never once describe them needing any time of breathing apparatus, so I am curious about what kinds of technological advances had to occur to make such civilizations exist.
Half lives are half human – half alien so they have foreign genes which enable them to adapt to non-oxygen environments. As for humans, by the time 3000 comes around, Earth is completely depleted of its natural resources and we have no choice but to colonise other planets in search of a means to survive. So our genes have mutated enough to ensure that our species can adapt to alien environments. You know nature is a great leveller, and I believe humans are really resourceful. We are born to reproduce after-all, our basic instinct is to survive, to find a way to propagate our species; and that includes mutating our genes as needed for future generations to adapt to alien atmospheres. It is as Michael Crichton writes in Jurassic Park “… life finds a way”
- What kind of life did Maya have being raised by Shaitan? Was Yana essentially her mother?
No, Yana is Yudi’s mother and Shaitan’s rebound love. Maya is a kind of wild card isn’t she? She was actually lucky to be adopted by Shaitan. At first glance, Shaitan seems to be the big bad guy with no reason for so much hate. Yet as I delved into his psyche I found someone who yearns for love and a family. Shaitan is inspired by Ravan, a mighty villain from Indian mythology—a ten-headed demon, Ravan is evil, but also multifaceted. He is a great scholar, a capable ruler, a good father, and a maestro of the ancient Indian musical instrument, the Veena. Shaitan is similarly multifaceted. He is the villain, but not absolutely evil; he is a complex character with a heart. His dilemma is that he does not have a choice. Cursed by Shiva to being killed by his own son, he had to kill his children or be killed himself. Yet, he wants to experience all the emotions that come with being human; albeit only half human, this side drives him to seek companionship, love, and fulfillment in having a family. So you know Maya was fortunate to be his ward (unlike Rai who was brought up in an orphanage.) She learnt a lot from him, but at heart Shaitan was a warrior and brought up Maya to be one; and Maya could never forgive Shaitan for having ripped her from the bosom of her own blood family. And don’t forget Tiina was her twin, the older sister on whom Maya depended on as a young girl for emotional support. Not even Shaitan’s strength could compensate for Tiina’s ‘old soul’ wisdom. She missed Tiina so much, that at some point that longing changed to hate, and she felt abandoned, left behind, forgotten by her own family.
- Who was the woman that Yudi cheated on Tiina with? Whatever happened to her?
I love that you picked up on this. The beautiful woman was Maya in disguise; she had already tracked down Tiina by then. Realising how much Tiina and Yudi were in love, she realised the most effective way to hurt her sister was by seducing her boyfriend, so that she would lose the one thing that made her feel as if she had found 'home'. It was Maya’s way of taking revenge for the apparent desertion by her twin, which she never got over.
- Did Rai actually die from the Naga bite? Why wasn’t he the one destined to kill Shaitan?
I don’t want to give away the ‘surprise’ in the next book in the series. Actually either Rai or Yudi could have killed Shaitan. The prophecy only said that Shaitan was fated to be killed by his own son. Then it came down to the choices which Rai and Yudi made, which determined their destinies and thus which of them—or indeed any other sons that Shaitan may have fathered around the galaxy—would kill him. We are the choices we make aren’t we?
- Where does Tiina expect her life to go now that the threat of evil is gone and she is travelling? Will she ever return to Yudi?
Return to Seven Islands, #2 Chronicle of the Three will explore exactly that. It will also plumb the relationship between Artemis & Tiina. My favorite scene is the final one, when Artemis and Tiina leave for adventures in the beyond. Artemis was only an inanimate spaceship, but from the moment I gave her a feminine point of view and had her develop a crush, and a kind of hero-worship for Tiina, everything changed. The dynamics between the two are fascinating. Tiina is such a strong character and there is a very masculine side to her. This automatically resonates with Artemis.
- What are your plans for future books?
The Destiny of Shaitan is my debut novel. I am very grateful to everyone who gave me the confidence to get my voice out there. It is also the first in Chronicle of the Three. In Indian mythology, the concept of Three is known as the Trimurti made up of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the maintainer, and Shiva, the destroyer and is only a functional force when working in harmony. Similarly, this series is a chronicle about the lives, loves & adventures of the three main characters, Tiina, Rai and Yudi, each of them displaying the attributes of their archetypes. The Destiny of Shaitan featured Tiina and Yudi. The next novel in the series is more about Tiina and Rai, and what they find out about themselves on their Return to Seven Islands, which is #2 Chronicle of the Three.
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