The Champion by Wayne Rajah

#BookReview
Fiction | Fantasy | Relationships |

A painfully sweet story of a mother and a child set in a fantasy world of monsters and magic

The Champion is a fantasy fiction novel written by author Wayne Rajah. The protagonist of this story is a twelve-year-old boy named Calvin with a superpower that allows him to fly. Calvin’s mother, Miss Khumalo is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he finds out that his mother is suffering, Calvin uses his superpower and the help of his mentor, Athwall, and decides to take his mother on a mythical journey in an attempt to save her life.

The story begins with Calvin waking up after seeing a dreadful nightmare. As we proceed further into the story, we realize that Calvin is haunted by a series of these disturbing nightmares and they have become a constant in his life. 

“The room shakes! Oscillates! Now a frenzy of seismic activity and an earthquake! It feels like the tremor is inside my head! My head hurts! My head always hurts! My body hurts! A flash of light in the distance, lightning! And then a thunderous roar! My skull splits open, the hemispheres of my brain part. My body was violently shaken, side to side, side to side! The earthquake continues!”

Wayne Rajah

Usually, after the nightmares, Calvin puts on his cape and flies out of the window of his room into the night sky. He enjoys flying high in the darkness of the night when the rest of the world is asleep. He recalls the vivid nightmares and often wonders if they could possibly be true. But, the cold breeze helps him calm down and he uses this time to observe the world below him by admiring the countryside, the Crown River, and the moon that he addresses as Cynthia. 

Calvin’s ancient protector, Athwall – who has lived a thousand years – is Calvin’s only friend and protector. According to Athwall, Calvin is the Chosen one and someday Athwall will reveal the special task that only Calvin can perform. 

“I start to fly, out of my control! Hurtling into the sinister abyss, not knowing where I am going or in what direction, just hurtling on ahead. There is space out there even if I cannot see it. What speed! Immense speed! My heart flutters, races!”

Calvin has looked at his mother as a hardworking and active woman who is always on her feet. But when he notices that lately, his mother has been looking weak and exhausted, he starts worrying. Until one day, his mother faints on the ground and he finds out that his mother only has a little time to survive. Will Calvin be able to save his mother? Will he complete the task that Athwall has set out for him?

This story is a journey of a young boy trying his best to save his mother from dying by seeking help from his mentor, Athwall. The story discusses all the struggles that Calvin, Athwall, and Miss Khumalo go through and the difficult choices that they need to make on this journey. This involves crossing treacherous paths and fighting tremendous monsters on the way to their destination. When they finally reach their destination, the story takes an unexpected twist.

“Athwall says that he will reveal everything to me in a good time. He tells me that I am special, that I am the Chosen. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy everything. Who else in this world can say they can fly? Athwall says it only happens once every hundred years. My ancient protector has lived long enough to see them all, over a thousand years. He says that there is always a special task for the Chosen.” 

The book started off on a good note and got me hooked into the storyline. The reason I found it interesting was that the story started with a letter that was addressed by a doctor to his patient. Personally, I love reading stories that have letter communications between the characters. However, I was quickly disappointed when the letters never made an appearance after the first chapter. I found the book needlessly long and felt like it could have dropped a few pages, especially the graphic description of the recurring nightmares. I also felt like the long journey was invalidated by the surprise reveal at the end which left me a disappointed. I was a little confused with the turn of events and I had to go through the entire story again in my head to understand what just happened.

The story is well-written by debut author Wayne Rajah, the message that the author is trying to share is noble. As a pediatrician, he has created a fictional story about parents and children that he sees on a daily basis. He is inspired by the struggles and sacrifices that are made by both parents and children and has captured this in an entirely fictional universe of his creation.

“Letting go takes courage. Their story is one of true struggle, courage, strength and overcoming adversity.”

Wayne Rajah

Also, find my review on the website: Reedsy

Gorgeous Quote #6

To bake a cake in the eye of a storm; to feed yourself sugar on the cusp of danger.

By Ocean Vuong

This quote is from the book, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Every line in this book is like poetry, beautiful, graceful and so impactful. The title of the book itself was amazing enough for me to pick it up and start reading. This literary fiction discusses some serious elements like trauma, violence, race, war, and survival.

To explain the above quote, the author says, “In the story, when a girl and her grandmother spot a storm brewing on the green horizon, instead of shuttering the windows or nailing boards on the doors, they set out to bake a cake. I was unmoored by this act, its precarious yet bold refusal of common sense.”

Soon

Dreaming of low tides,
Long nights under the moonlight
Sitting around logs set on fire
Upon white sand and
Mountains looming under dark skies.

Sea breeze muffles our voices
As we share stories
Holding mugs of warmth
In our mitten covered hands
There’s always so much to say,
To listen,
To laugh,
With friends around
There’s no track of time.
Soon.
Those days will come soon.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

A Stream of Consciousness

There’s always a time limit on everything.

Gone are those days when I could spend hours sitting in my room doing anything I like without worrying about where’s the food coming from, is it the day to wash my laundry, who is going to clean the house, wash the dishes, or who’s going to clean the cat’s litter box.

Grown ups need to deal with a lot of things. In a few hours that I get for myself, I need to think of making the most of my time by doing something that I absolutely enjoy.

The problem here is that I enjoy doing a lot of things. In one hour, how am I supposed to write, sketch, listen to music, learn a language, or do a course in interior design? When I finally decide what I will be doing or when I am just about to get into that mood to write the story of my life, time’s over. Or oh, last one, I mindlessly spend time doing nothing, totally waste my precious hour, alas time’s up!

It’s either time to go for a walk or time to cook or time to spend time with your partner, or time to study, basically it’s time to get up and do the household chores which do not come under the “me time” category.

The thing is we all put ourselves under unnecessary pressure to be over productive, I don’t know why I do this to myself, why we all do this to ourselves but I guess it helps us to keep going. If there’s no pressure then I will never feel the need to perform.
So, probably pressure is good at times.
Who knows.
My time is up, need to stop writing and attend to other obligations.