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Updated: June 21, 2010 19:51 IST

On a quest to save Lustr and the four sapphires

MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN
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The Mithyakins are back. This time around they have to get back the stars of second world…

The Taranauts are back to save Mithya in Roopa Pai's second book in the Taranauts series — The Riddle of the Lustr Sapphires. The three young inhabitants of the universe Mithya — Zvala, Zarpa and Tufan — are out to retrieve the stars of the second world, Lustr and its four sapphires that shine upon the planet.

For those who haven't read the first book, here is the plot in brief: Shoon Ya the emperor of Mithya sends for Zvala, Zarpa and Tufan — young citizens of the universe but belonging to different earths — to rescue Mithya's stars that have been captured by the emperor's evil twin is Shaap Azur. Each planet has four stars shining upon it and without it they are plunged in darkness forever, but not until the temporary ‘arcalamps' die out.

The Taranauts are those mithyakins (younger inhabitants of Mithya) who have special powers. Zvala is the child of Fire and is blessed with fire power. Zarpa is the child of SuperSerpant Shay Sha and has the power of flexibility, agility and speed. And Tufan is the child of the Wind, blessed with power to brew up a storm, quite literally. Together, these otherwise regular teenagers with not even one common trait or interest, must win back the stars hidden in each earth amidst puzzles, mazes, weird creatures and riddles.

At Lustr, Tufan's home-planet, the Taranuats must look for the clue to the stars in the unexplored Mayazaal, that's got weeping trees, talking flowers, creatures on ‘lunacoots' (scooters), mirrors…perfect to scare anyone for a lifetime, but not our three brave protagonists. They are on a mission and they will stop at nothing. They use the right mix of their powers, intelligence, experience and heart, but does that help them succeed is something you have to read to find out.

Task after task, riddle after riddle, adventure after adventure, the plots only gets interesting. Also interesting are the arguments between Zvala and Tufan. Everything is labelled in the Mithyan universe, that is in a way similar — brunesca (coffee); Yogaichi, kalarikwon (exercises); samchoris, creposas, galumpies (food items), and so on.

The illustrations are apt and adhere to the mood and tone of the book. They also help break the monotony of the words. With a page count of 120, the book is a fast read and is suitable for those in the mood for some light-hearted, fictional adventure that's fun and you can also crack the clues along with the Taranauts if you are up to it.

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