Verdict: GANESHA’S TEMPLE is an action-packed fantasy containing powerful social commentary. While fantastical, the underlying reality of the emotions and political challenges faced by the characters lend weight to the tale.
While Kashmir is threatened by political discord between its residents, the teenage son of a government official must aid the gods in their own battle to regain power and harmony in the Veiled Lands.
Tarun is the younger son of the first Hindu chief minister of Kashmir at a time when tensions between Indians and Pakistanis are high. Rebels attack during a festival honouring the god Ganesha, resulting in tragedy and danger for Tarun’s family. Amidst chaos in the human world, Ganesha tasks him with restoring peace in the Veiled Lands beyond our reality. So begins Tarun’s otherworldly adventure to help the gods and save his home from the conflict that threatens to tear the human and spiritual worlds apart.
In a genre saturated with Western settings and folklore, GANESHA’S TEMPLE — the first book in the Temple Wars series — and its immersion in Hindu mythology and Indian culture is a welcome and meaningful change. The novel connects the strife in Kashmir with a struggle for power in the land of the gods, lending the divine battle real-world significance and leading readers to reflect significantly on the value of peace and compromise. The characters are not particularly complex, but the world (both human and spiritual) is fleshed out well, and the politics of the book is intricate and thoughtful.
Although the book takes a while to get into the mythological elements, once it does, Tarun and the reader are thrown headlong into a clash of spiritual forces. Despite the importance of the magic and distant lands in the text, however, the problems in our world continue to ground the story throughout through the use of multiple narrators. GANESHA’S TEMPLE is thus two parallel stories in one, each reflecting the other yet providing unique challenges.
GANESHA’S TEMPLE is an action-packed fantasy containing powerful social commentary. While fantastical, the underlying reality of the emotions and political challenges faced by the characters lend weight to the tale.