A YA thriller, with strong dystopian undertones and a kickass protagonist, taking you on a white knuckle ride through a disintegrating Bombay City.
A girl desperate to rescue her best friend.
A cop willing to do anything to save the city he serves.
A delusional doctor bent on annihilation.
When Ruby Iyer’s best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza, she will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a mysterious cop-turned-rogue on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram?
Source: Review copy via Netgalley
Ruby is angry. Coming from a dysfunctional family, striking out on her own, fighting to create a space for herself in a bustling, busy, uncaring city, she feels a hand groping her on the train, slaps out at it – and is pushed off the train to her death. Or is she? Ruby doesn’t die, or at least, she somehow survives the incident or is brought back, having been struck through with ten thousand volts, her skin now indelibly marked with a lightning tree. One that throbs to her anger, “pings” warnings of danger and seems to give her an energy boost whenever she most needs it.
And that’s only the start of this twisting, exciting, occasionally baffling tale of one girl fighting back against an uncaring opponent and the teen army that seeks to destroy the city Ruby loves. It’s fast paced, there’s rarely a dull moment or a chance to catch your breath as Ruby is drawn deeper and deeper into the terror that’s taking over the streets and threatening to destroy everything.
I enjoyed it, but I have to admit there were times when I didn’t have a clue what was actually going on. Ruby’s original accident itself kind of lost me, since I thought she was on a moving train when she got shoved off, but apparently not. Then there’s what happens after she falls. There’s also the scene where she again dives off the platform, which itself left me a bit confused. Not to mention the whole Dr Braganza issue, where certain revelations come oddly late in the book, considering this is narrated in first person from Ruby’s POV. I was also never quite sure if Ruby was actually alive or dead, and the same for many of the characters around her. There are a lot of gunshot wounds and other serious injuries, which aren’t quite shrugged off, but don’t seem as serious as they should be.
But in a way I think that confusion is deliberate. Yet another way to keep the reader off balance in this race towards the end of the world. Ruby is brash and impulsive, not to mention aggressive and constantly angry, often lashing out at the only people on her side simply because she can’t control herself. Luckily for her Vikram can not only take her anger, but he’s plenty strong enough on his own to keep up with her. I would have liked to know more about his motives, but he certainly added yet another layer of mystery to the proceedings.
Rich in atmosphere, full of life and packed with action, this book is fast, violent and exciting as it races from one incident to the next, with disaster looming over everything. The heroine might not always be exactly likable or particularly sympathetic, but she is compelling, just like the city she’s trying to save. This book sucked me in and left me wanting more of Ruby’s adventures – I’ll definitely be reading the next one.
The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer is Out Now!
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