I absolutely love Ziya, the heroine. She’s strong, intelligent and emancipated in the way I hadn’t expected it from an Asian woman in a romance story. Where others would crumble and give up, cry and lament, she keeps her chin up and stays determined. She fights for her love, her happiness and her right to a life that seems destined for her. Oh, did I ever suffer along with her! Ziya is one of the many reasons why I’d love to see KC adapted as a movie. Krivi, the hero, is another. The two of them are made for each other in a way that is sadly rare among romantic fiction. They have met their perfect match in each other… and besides, I’ve never been able to resist dark, confident, brooding heroes. Thank God the author has chosen an uncommon name and fleshed him out just as much as the other main character! He’s irresistible. Just like Ziya, the reader knows that he is danger impersonated, and yet, falling for him—and hard—is inevitable. What’s more, all the other characters in "Kingdom Come" are so real and intriguing, too. Let’s not forget the villain, The Woodpecker. Just remembering Wood and ominous Tom Jones (watch out for that one) sends a chill down my spine. Each and every person that plays a role in the story is credible and will stay with the reader long after putting the book down.
I’m a sucker for settings that catch attention, and Aarti V. Raman didn’t disappoint on that count either. While the events take place in the West and the East, it is unquestionably Ladakh with the 'home' Goonj that shines the brightest and enhances the plot.
There’s so much more that I want to praise. How can I forget the transformations the characters go through, just like a good story warrants it? At the end of the book, Ziya and Krivi—and many others—have changed but are still true to themselves. Perfect!
As for the story, it’s full of details and background information and clever twists that will have you stare and then shout. I certainly didn’t see coming what the author hurled at me more than once, but every surprise was another puzzle piece fitting into the bigger picture. As soon as you relax a little to indulge in some romance or steam, enjoy a description or get spooked by the insights into the villain’s devious mind, the pace will pick up again. Before you can grip the edge of your seat, the book explodes in action that leaves you breathless (pardon the pun).
KC resonates with a lot of themes and motifs, from friendship to finding your soul mate, from fighting for your rights to fighting injustice, from overcoming clichés to giving yourself and others a chance. Sometimes the story made me laugh, at other times I felt like crying. I was totally freaked out by the criminal aspect of it, fascinated by the tit-bits on the world of spying and special ops, and thoughtful because there were so many underlying messages. Everything and everyone portrayed in "Kingdom Come" comes alive.
Make no mistake, this is no typical book by an Indian about Indians. You won’t find arranged marriages, Bollywood glam, exotic food, gorgeous clothes and religious ceremonies. What you will find is lots of steam, action, mystery and an emotional ride that has huge movie potential. There’s more than an ounce of suffering, there’s a love story that stands tall in the end—and there’s a book that is unputdownable.
Kingdom Come - Aarti V. Raman