The Yogi Witch is an interesting Indian LGBTQ fantasy with lots of info on history, yoga, witchcraft, mysticism, and mythology. It has some potential but I didn’t like the execution.
The Yogi Witch : Bloodlines and Legacies by Zorian Cross
Publication Date : July 30, 2023
Publisher : HarperCollins Publishers India
Read Date : July 24, 2023
Genre : Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
Pages : 352
Disclaimer –Many thanks to Publisher for sending review copy as part of Blogchatter Book Review Program.
This post contains affiliate links.
By day, Jai Gill teaches yoga, reads tarot and, like many young gay men, obsesses over a pop diva. By night, he slays demons. He is a witch, after all!
Orphaned at birth, Jai was raised by his grandmother and maternal aunts, from whom he inherited his magical legacy. Their family home is an ivy-covered mansion in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi that doubles as a yoga studio for the city’s elite, as well as the headquarters of their family coven.
All was going well till a handsome boy moves in next door. His family secrets are far more sinister than Jai could have ever imagined. Love, after all, is a curse for witches.
Myths become real and the mundane becomes enchanting as Jai and his witchy family remove the veil that separates reality from fantasy, while enjoying endless cups of lavender tea and sinfully delicious baked goodies that are magically removed of all guilt.
The Yogi Witch is an interesting desi fantasy that revolves around Jai, a yogic and a yoga trainer raised by three witches, his grandmother and two aunts, on the journey to learn his family’s magical legacy and slaying demons. His life has been as normal as a witch gay’s life can be until a handsome boy moves in next door that forces him on the path of revenge, forgiveness, and saving that boy’s life by fully exploring his magical powers.
Plot is interesting and engaging for the most part. Writing is easy and fast paced. The setting of Delhi is atmospheric. Characters are quirky and all secondary characters are developed.
I liked Jai‘s sassy and witty voice. It was interesting to read his backstory, how he grew up with his gran and two aunts, their family background, how the magic flowed in females of the family for generations, how he learned yoga and everything about magic from them. I liked how he grew as a person even after the trauma and abuse he faced in school. It was interesting to know why a boy was born with magic in the family of witches.
The family dynamic is really good. I loved his gran and aunts. Their love and support for Jai is heartwarming. Vir the boy next door is mysterious. I didn’t like him at first but the more revealed about him the more I felt sad for him. It was infuriating how he was abused by his family.
Queer representation is the best part of the book. I also liked reading about yoga, and witchcraft along with layers of misogyny, homophobia, power greed, and abuse. There is so much information related to mythology, mysticism, culture, festivals, and rituals. There are many pop culture references.
Twists and turns are predictable. Some of the action scenes are good. Climax is most interesting and more because I was curious to know how all of his activities of acquiring gifts from different deities will fall into place.
Why 2.5 stars – (I’m rounding it up elsewhere but not here)
First of all, I didn’t like the narration. I couldn’t figure out this was a dual timeline until almost around the middle of the book! There is no clear distinction between the timeline and it keeps jumping from one scene to another and many times philosophical discussion or other information is thrown in the middle of the scene making it often confusing.
This book is filled with info dumps and most of it isn’t even relevant to the plot. I agree with what one of the reviewers, Srivalli @ The Witchy Storyteller said in her review (I agree with all she said in review and left very little for me to say) “Book suffers from the Excessive Knowledge Syndrome..”
There is this one discussion about vegetarian vs non-vegetarian and the character justifies it with the story of Shiva accepting beef as devotion which is no doubt interesting and proves the point but it has nothing to do with the plot and acts as a filler (also weirdly the person who started the objection with nonvegetarian food was secretly evil worshipper, huh!).
There is one scene where Jai dances on the song and the whole lyrics are written along with how his aunts join the dance! That was absolutely unnecessary. There are 5 to 7 pages dedicated to Major Arcana in Tarot and its comparison with the Mario game, which was very tedious and I still don’t get how that relates to the story.
I also don’t get the whole point of the prologue. Let’s just say this book could have wrapped up in 150 pages and I would have been happy with a nice and straight storyline than be overwhelmed by loads of information distracting from the main plot.
One more thing. Though the main character is 17 yr old (18 by climax) all the sex details and sex rituals and nakedness make this an adult fantasy. There is this one creepy sex scene of the main character with a dead body! To add to the creepiness the corpse comes to life while they are doing it. (A total WTF!)
Overall, The Yogi Witch is a desi fantasy with a good queer representation and lots of info on history, yoga, witchcraft, and mythology. It has some potential but I didn’t like the execution.
I think those who never read a fantasy might find it little more interesting but not for me. I’m not reading any Indian fantasy for some time now.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
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