After a lengthy absence from the blog and a bit of a technical hitch, I’m delighted to say I am now sharing a review I recently submitted as part of the WHISPERINGSTORIES team.
Author – Ricardo Alexanders
Publisher – CreateSpace
Pages – 332
Released – 24th May 2018
ISBN-13 – 978-1981590193
Format – ebook, paperback
Reviewer – Julie
Rating – 3.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
A fantasy novel about a modern-day American boy who wakes up in 1958 India as the reincarnation of John Lennon.
Bollywood Invasion opens when the protagonist, a sixteen-years-old boy from Brooklyn, finds himself with riches and power beyond his wildest fantasies in India, thirty-five years before he was born.
Brooklyn is readily forgotten. Life becomes a constant stream of debauchery, coming to a stand-still only when he meets “the one.” However, love doesn’t come easy. He must become a better man, a pursuit ignited by his memories of Beatles songs on his iPod.
Will these legendary songs change his life? Can he escape Lennon’s eventual tragic fate?
Will he ever find his way back to Brooklyn? His fate will unfold in Bollywood Invasion.
‘Bollywood Invasion’ is a fantasy novel by Chinese-born author, Richardo Alexanders. The story is written in the third person, mainly from the prospective of our main protagonist, John. The chapters are short with explanatory footnotes at the end of each.
Firstly, the reader needs to suspend reality and go with the flow here. John is a sixteen-year-old student has an accident on his bicycle and when he regains consciousness, finds himself transported back in time to India with attendants believing him to be a prince and speaking to him in Hindi. He then discovers he’s not only in the wrong place but in the wrong era because the year is 1958.
Instantly, insignificant John becoming influential Raj and without question or concern, he happily starts a new life surrounded by wealth and privilege. With his memory intact and some sycophantic friends from college, Raj forms a band and sets about pretending to have written many hit singles recorded by sixties pop group, The Beatles. They perform ‘Yesterday’ to an enraptured audience and this starts the band on the road to worldwide fame.
In the early stages, I would have liked more depth. There were strong avenues to explore regarding cultural adjustment and managing without modern technology. From an emotional viewpoint, how would someone cope with an elevation in status, influence and circumstance? Without doubt, taking the plot beyond the superficial would have made the characters more three dimensional and add layers to the story.
This is a fantasy novel so maybe I shouldn’t be too pedantic when the action moves to London and a few factual errors creep in. They are irrelevant to the plot, so I won’t dwell further.
There are some humorous moments and I found myself warming to the tale as it developed. Raj discovers a tender side to his nature and the love story aspect gave the plot a meaningful focus.
I confess to being confused as to the target audience. It reads like a YA book and I think would have worked very well as such. However, there are a few perfunctory sex scenes, so clearly it is aimed at an older age group.
The overall concept is quite quirky, albeit with parallels to a British sitcom from the nineties. Nevertheless, I commend the author for his attention to detail regarding The Beatles’ career and I appreciated the neat twist towards the end.
I liked the cover and found ‘Bollywood Invasion’ easy to read with a good balance between dialogue and description. I’m not a fan of head-hopping in the same segment but the instances were limited and not too distracting. In places this book showed promise but there were definitely missed opportunities to take the tale to another level and the final chapter was predictable. However, if you enjoy a light-hearted, harmless escapist fantasy, then give this book a try. Objectively, I award three-and-a-half stars.
About the Author
Ricardo Alexanders, an indirect descendant of the Great Yyu, was born in China. After obtaining a doctorate in science, he became a passionate writer with keen interest in in time-travel fictions that blend fantasy, science, and real history together.