Originally posted on Leah’s Books.
Age of Vice
- Author: Deepti Kapoor
- Genre: Mystery/Thriller
- Publication Date: January 2, 2023
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Thank you to libro.fm for providing me with an ALC of this audiobook. I am providing my honest opinion voluntarily.
CONTENT WARNING: rape, human trafficking, enslavement, substance misuse, murder, blood, loss of a baby, sexual assault, abortion, kidnapping, violence
This is the age of vice, where money, pleasure, and power are everything,
and the family ties that bind can also kill.
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
This was a long audiobook, and I wasn’t originally planning to write a blog review for it, so I apologize if I miss any trigger warnings, because there were a LOT. I honestly had no idea what to expect, and this book blew my mind, offering readers a startling look inside the life of a crime family in present-day India. Vidish Athavale did outstanding narration for this book, especially when it came to various accents and tones of voice for different characters.
We start out by meeting a young boy in poverty-stricken Uttar Pradesh named Ajay. He doesn’t have an easy life, but he makes the best of everything he has, and his personality characteristics make him an easy character to empathize with. He’s smart, easygoing, positive, and uncomplaining of his lot in life, no matter what happens. There’s also an element of luck, where he ends up in fortunate situations, unlike some other of his companions. Ultimately, he ends up working with the charismatic son of a crime boss, Sunny Wadia, and things spiral from there.
But the story doesn’t just end there. The POV shifts from Ajay’s perspective to that of Neda, a character we’ve heard about earlier in the story. I was disappointed at first, since I liked Ajay so much and didn’t want to abandon him at a crucial point in his story. But as I listened on, Neda’s character grew on me and I found myself getting drawn into her story more and more, and seeing Sunny from a different perspective.
Just as I started getting really into it, the perspective shifted again to that of Sunny’s, and we see everything from another side, really understanding how all of these characters are connected and the impact they have on each other’s lives. Although I connected most strongly with Ajay, followed by Neda, I struggled to find anything to connect with in Sunny. He’s spoiled and selfish, and it felt like no matter what his intentions were, he only managed to ruin the lives of anyone he came in contact with, never paying the consequences of his own actions. He always managed to leave those to others, and then leave them behind to suffer while he went on with his life, although he did suffer emotional consequences. But even those were numbed with substances, and other people were always around to save him from himself.
I finished this hulking beast (19 hours) of an audiobook in 2 days, because it was written so beautifully. The plot was engrossing, and I loved losing myself in a world that was so different from my own yet with all of the same problems that we see anywhere else. It’s ultimately a story about unchecked greed and privilege, love and loss, family dynamics and dysfunction, and the lengths people go to when they have no other options. Although the last part of the story fell a teeny bit flat for me compared to the earlier parts, there is a lot of action and an ending that feels a bit more open-ended than I would have liked, but I hear that this may be the start of a trilogy that I will eagerly be looking forward to.
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