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Unns : The Captivation – By Sapan Saxena

Much has been said and written about love, the most profound of emotions known to God’s creations. I believe French Novelist and Memoirist, George Sand, wrote it best – “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved”.  

While love may provide an all-encompassing feeling, its quest and fulfillment cannot be experienced in this one emotion alone, but in stages. The mystical philosophy of Sufism describes seven stages of love – beginning from Hub (Attraction), moving onwards to Unns (Infatuation), Mohabbat (Love), Aqeedat (Respect), Ibaadat (Worship), Junoon (Obsession), to Maut (Death).

Some may know of these stages, fewer may have lived through them. With his new book, Unns – The Captivation, Author Sapan Saxena takes the reader on a journey through these seven stages of love.

Atharva Rathod and Meher Qasim meet as adolescents and are drawn to each other, only to be separated by circumstances shortly thereafter. Many years later, when they meet again, Atharva is on a covert mission. Caught in the battle between circumstances and destiny, willingly or unwillingly, Atharva and Meher transcend the seven stages of love.

Unns is a quintessential tale of love and romance, set against a backdrop of international espionage.

The story brings together two characters – young, naïve, and unaware of life’s realities – who, upon separation, are frozen in that moment of time. When they do meet again, their worldly sensibilities have matured, yet their emotions for each other are still caught in their adolescence. Saxena attempts to peels this naivety away, layer by layer through the course of the book.

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The events occur in flashback for a certain period and then move into real time. It adds to the element of mystery that the author is going for. However, the transition between past and present tends to be abrupt, often making it unclear for the reader regarding the time period of the event being described. Sequences that should ideally move at a gradual pace sometimes appear rushed.

The book requires a bit of sharper editing. A few spelling and grammatical errors tend to play against the book, breaking the reader’s flow at times.

The events in the protagonists’ lives and their repercussions do have the strength to enthrall the reader. The romance, coupled with the elements of a Spy Thriller may resonate well with readers of the YA genre.

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