Author: Durriya Kapasi
”The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real…. for a moment at least…. that long magic moment before we wake”, said George R.R. Martin, the author of the quintessential The Song of Ice and Fire series, now made into a highly successful telenovela Game of Thrones. Fantasy writing is indeed an amazing genre, and a difficult one to write too, because it is here that the imagination has to run wild at its fastest, and creativity to exude at its finest. This amazing feat has been done by Durriya Kapasi, an author from India, who has published her debut book, based on a fantasy world of the djinns (or genies, as we call them in the anglicised form). Talking of genies reminds us of Aladdin, The Arabian Nights and other such classics, but what is different in this book is that a modern tale is blended with a genie story.
Once upon a genie revolves around Daisy, the protagonist, who uncovers a priceless reward concealed in a miscellaneous bottle, a genie named Khalid Muwahid. He asks her for three wishes, in gratitude of her freeing him from the trap. Gradually, they fall in love and the rules of the djinn world are also amended for them, where Daisy is not supposed to ask for a third wish for them to stay together, everlastingly. But then, the life of Darren, Daisy’s best friend comes under threat. So on the horns of dilemma, what does Daisy do? Does she use the last wish to save Darren? Or does she save her love? This is what forms the storyline. Though at first seeming like another clichéd romantic story, one is in for an intense plot and a rollercoaster of emotions, which becomes obvious when one reads the starting pages. The story never flags, even at moments of calm and reflection, and the writing has grit and depth. The blurb at the back cover gives a genuine insight of the story, and the cover illustrations also add up to a beautifully designed paperback volume. The language is enthralling and the choice of words is commendable. A better work could have been done on the printing and paper quality.
The djinn world is also described vividly, with evocative descriptions of colours and lush greenery and an amazing bunch of characters and though one craves for a deeper exploration of this whole parallel universe, which would have created a more amazing storyline for the genie world, the plot in the human world is well-developed. It is also interesting that in contrast to the grumpy genies, this genie is mischievous and chivalrous, making way for some humorous moments in the story.
Also, in my view, this is a book, which can certainly be made into a marvellous theatrical play, as it has all the ingredients needed for it- a well thought-out plot, fascinating characters, and a fantasy world that will make for amazing theatrical scenery. I hope that some theatre enthusiast after reading it pays heed to this and converts this story to a spectacular play. For now, this is a coming-of-age short fantasy read and should certainly be grabbed at the earliest. Happy reading!