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The well-known proverb goes: Never judge a book by its cover. However, that is difficult to follow when it comes to Mystiq Lynk by Abhisek Malve. Deeply unsettling, full of suspense, and unpredictable, this book is bound to keep readers on the edge and asking for more. Though simple with what appears to be a typographical error, the cover of the book attracts with its novelty. It is highly symbolic. Just as the end of the term Lynk gets attached to the end of the letter ‘y’ in the word Mystiq, there rises the question of linkage within the text in the mind of the reader. It rightly interconnects the lives of two characters whose stories run parallelly but share some sort of a connection. It evokes the mysteries of the narrative that lie hidden beneath word play and a mix of genres.
This is book 1 of the mystiq trilogy by Abhishek Malve. The story is about two characters Johnny and Sara whose lives run parallel to one another. One day Johnny, a freshman in college receives a package placed at the side of his driveway which reveals an electronic console. Johnny picks the package and accepts the console as his own. It had a symbol engraved at the centre which looked something like an ‘X.’ It also came with a headset and some gears and had a futuristic design. Things look good as he plays with it and nudges it but things take a sudden turn when the console switches on and drags Johnny into a virtually realistic world. Similarly, Sara too receives another letter just before her 21st birthday. Sara opens her letter quickly to rejoice at the information that she is going to be the next heir of her grandmother’s property. For Sara, it is almost like the words of her friend Josh comes true or some sort of a déjà vu like in the movies.
She has memories of her childhood in her grandma’s mansion and going touring the house with the lawyer brings back all her childhood memories. Things take a sudden turn when Sara notices a teddy bear named Bernie that she used to play with as a child. It has a locket around its neck with the letter ‘K.’ But from the side, it resembled a crescent moon. A similar piece is found by Sara and Josh in a metal box and a tiny piece in the basement. While it raises a lot of questions but they are hushed down as the two continue living in the new renovated mansion. It is through thudding sounds, nightmares, and ill omens that Sara realizes that there are other supernatural elements haunting the mansion. Do Johnny and Sara have a link? Who sent them these letters and packages and why? While the plot is moderately paced, interesting, and full of suspense at the turn of each page. The characters provide good support to the plot. They help to elaborate the events of the plot, are animated, fully engaged in the events, and respond well to the episodes of the plot. Sara is a well-drawn character and Josh as a foil character serves his purpose of being supportive and sticking through the incidents.
The plot is not too crowded with too many characters which allows the author to delve deeper into each character’s creation and life and make for a detailed plot. The novel undoubtedly stands because of the strength of its plot. The writing style is lucid, interesting, though a bit Americanised as the plot is clearly set outside of India. There is no dearth of suspense. The language is easy to follow and simple. It allows for the focus to remain on the events and episodes of the story.
The narrative is interspersed with dialogues which are well constructed. The dialogues break the monotony of the narrative. They also give a better understanding into the feelings of the characters. This helps the reader to be on the same page as the character and feel the same amount of fear, apprehension, and terror. On the whole, the book is highly entertaining and thrilling though it makes the reader feel that it ends too quickly. The loose ends and the parallel narratives intertwine to provide some resolutions while it keeps some questions unanswered for the next books in the series. It is a delightful young adult horror fiction.