I started the year 2020 reading The Return Journey by Chaitanya Salvi. I had many options piled on my bookshelf. But I settled on this book because something in the blurb intrigued me. I like books where the protagonist is on a quest.
Here in the story, Viraj, a young and promising scientist, was on a quest to find the roots of human existence. His journey to find answers and to prove his theory faced many stumbling blocks. The kind of twist which was unforeseen at the beginning of the story.
The book has a good storyline. Viraj challenges the established theory of human evolution and put forward his theory. It is unique and fresh in its way. Sometimes the story take weird turns and other time it looks familiar. But it has full potential to keep you hooked till the end.
The story is an amalgamation of various genres. Written on contemporary lines, the story has a touch of romance, fantasy, and philosophy. Individually they were all interesting to read. But they failed to blend to become a great twisted novel which would make your brain buzz with excitement.
The author Chaitanya Salvi restrains himself going deep into philosophy and science. As, you might have seen authors like Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghvi, or Amish Tripathi who are never afraid to plunge the readers into their fictional settings weaved around the findings through research.
The fantasy and reality parts of the story were like tears from the two eyes that never meet. The author was miserable in marrying two together. I failed to find any connection to Viraj's life as a person and his illusionary life. They were like two dots on paper which were never joined by a line. Was it designed to remain like this? Maybe. But it left me dissatisfied. I yearned more from the story.
Some thrill and suspense in Viraj's illusionary life and a thin connection with real life would have taken the story, altogether, to a different level.
The Verdict -The story has an interesting concept with the potential to become a great read. Only the execution part was a bit weak. Little more in-depth emphasis on science and fantasy part, instead of romance part, would have done wonders for the novel.