BOOK The seventh of the quintessentially Indian fantasy-adventure series of the Taranauts is out. Author Roopa Pai offers a sneak peek into the challenges Zwala, Zarpa and Tufan face

Shaap Azur has changed the rules of the game. Can the Taranauts save a hazillion unsuspecting Glytrkos from “bubbling, burbling death”? Will Zarpa succeed in preventing a terrible tragedy at the BelNolo Inter-world Cup Final? Sounds like gibberish to you? Then you aren’t a devout devourer of the Taranauts series of books.

But those in the know will have a lot to look forward to in the seventh book in the Taranauts franchise — The Search for the Glytr Turquoises. “There’s an upping in the scale of difficulty and the challenges faced by the Taranauts…it’s turning more into a mindgame,” hints author Roopa Pai, letting in a bit on the new book.

“Unlike the Harry Potter series where the hero actually grows up over several books, the action here happens in a small time frame. So the central characters — Zwala, Zarpa and Tufan — have grown up in terms of experience. Any challenge which a child comes through triumphant definitely changes him…in that sense they are older, wiser and confident,” explains Roopa.

If the previous book The Key to the Shimr Citrines had a running theme of layered societies to draw a parallel to contemporary India, in this book, the glitter of a rich society forms the central theme. Children who revel in the anagrams of common Indian names she uses to name most of her characters will enjoy the jumbled up fashion designers who dot this world — an idea triggered by one of her young readers.

While most adult readers of the books, especially mothers, get the Indian references Roopa makes in the books, the kids are only too happy being taken on a fantastical journey. “Parents have written to me saying they are happy their children now look towards Indian languages to make up ‘cool’ words of their own, and that kids who weren’t embracing Indian contemporary fiction are now getting drawn to it,” says Roopa of the response the series is getting.

There are also tips and tricks to solve puzzles and work out mathematical formulae. “It’s a new learning that excites them, this ability to solve problems faster than their friends.”

Published by Hachette India, the book is priced Rs. 195, and available at bookstores or through www.taranauts.com. There’s also a ‘Build a Taranaut’ contest running for the last edition of the book, due in May 2013.

BHUMIKA K.

More In: METRO PLUS | FEATURES