Tuesday, July 05, 2011
1. Bob's trip to the toy store to get little Timmy something for Christmas turns into an epic battle of good vs evil when the evil elf running the cash register slips him the magic kaleidoscope he stole from Wizard Ferkle, who is desperate to retrieve it before the Dark Threesome can get their grubby hands on it.
2. Follow the adventures of Kally as she changes grass to red, the sky to green and all people to the same color – purple.
3. Lucy can mesmerize with her kaleidoscope eyes. They spin around and flash all sorts of colors until her victim is under her control. Can Eric gather enough diamonds to fulfill the prophesy to banish her into the sky before she takes over?
4. Alia's life is good, but maybe she's just looking at the world through kaleidoscopic glasses. Her stepfather makes a deal with the devil: In return for movie stardom, he sticks Alia with a constant companion--the soul of a beggar boy named Raju. Which would be unbearable enough even if Raju didn't keep committing murder just to get her attention.
5. A short story collection with a cast of weirdos you'd run away from if you saw them coming down the street, especially if you were looking at them through a kaleidoscope. Funny, touching, and above all literary.
6. Betty and her brother Clyde discover a kaleidoscope in an old trunk at their grandfather’s house. Clyde looks through the eyepiece and sees their grandma who went missing twenty-five years ago. But when Betty takes her turn, the fireworks really begin.
Alia is seventeen and just went from boarding school orphan to unlucky contestant no 1 in a house of terror. [She's not really a contestant, you're speaking metaphorically. To be consistent, she should be a resident in a house of terror or a contestant on House of Terror (which readers will assume to be a metaphorical game show or maybe a reality show).] Her stepfather Khanna may appear to be an invincible Bollywood superstar but the thing about messing with the dark side is it messes right back with you. Which may explain why mother is in a perpetual fugue and why Alia is in the grip of a haunting so bizarre, she hardly knows what to believe any more. [It's too vague to explain any of that. And "that" is pretty vague itself.] [According to sentence 2, if Khanna messed with the dark side, the dark side should be messing with Khanna, not Alia and her mother.]
What she would like very much to believe is that she has a shot at a normal life. Particularly when she’s playing anonymous new girl at Mumbai’s most elite institution St Xavier’s. Soon, part-time model and full-time decent guy Sid arrives to join her literature class and Alia can ask for no more.
But karma can be so unreasonable. Missing objects, Post-its in childlike handwriting, jealous apparitions and repressed memories pull Alia back from college to what she’s doing her best to ignore. Khanna may have been unclear about payback when he asked a streetside tantric, a ‘magic man’, to give him super-stardom. [Maybe it was the tantric who was unclear. That's usually the way these deals work. The tantric says "But wait, there's more: Your stepdaughter shall find a lifetime of companionship," not specifying that it's with a murderous stalker.] As a result, a little shaitan, the soul of beggar boy Raju, walks among them and will stop at nothing to get Alia’s attention – not even murder. [I think "including murder" would be clearer.]
With Raju in charge now Alia must assume responsibility for her stepfather’s actions fully aware that the consequences will be unpitying. [How did Raju get to be in charge, why does that make Alia responsible for Khanna's actions, and what actions and consequences are we talking about?]
At 90,000 words, Kaleidoscope is fast-paced and funny, a novel of supernatural suspense and growing-up. It is a dark [and yet funny?] look at how sometimes, what can’t be beaten must be joined.
I think a reorganization of the information might help. Something like:
Seventeen-year-old Alia would like to believe she has a shot at a normal life. She’s through with boarding school and is playing anonymous new girl at Mumbai’s most elite institution, St Xavier’s. And when part-time model and full-time decent guy Sid joins her literature class, Alia can ask for no more. [Is it okay to say Alia thinks she's found Nirvana? I don't want to suggest something that will cause Hindu fundamentalists to slap a death sentence on you.]
But karma can be so unreasonable. Alia's stepfather has made a deal with a tantric--a "magic man." In return for Bollywood superstardom, he has inadvertently placed Alia in the grip of a bizarre haunting. Seems a little shaitan--the soul of beggar boy Raju--is obsessed with Alia, and will stop at nothing to get her attention. Including murder.
Now dump that last plot paragraph and tell us what's at stake and what Alia plans to do about her situation.