I don't think I can celebrate Cosmic Café enough. This restaurant is magnificent. If you're a meat-lover, this vegetarian place will make you forget that. They offer a creative spread on their menu, but if you want the best mix of traditional Indian flavors, I suggest you try the "Buddha's Delight." For dessert, have a fruity cheesecake or vegan almond cake. Robert and I split the gulab jamun, which, if you can get over the (forgive me) scrotal appearance, is deliciously hot and sugary and comes with whipped cream and strawberries. Also, if you need a new profile picture, just lean against one of the brightly decorated walls and take a selfie.
What's so bad about a story with hermaphroditic, shape-shifting, horny werewolves, you ask? Well, it's not necessarily the premise itself, but somehow the story managed to get mangled in several unfortunate fantasy tropes. I'll list them rather than expound on them: (1) too much narrating of the rules of the fantasy world, (2) an absurd and boring framing device, (3) overly explicit and grotesque sex, (4) a rape-driven narrative, (5) long and vapid descriptions about what color everyone's eyes are, (6) long and vapid descriptions about everything else. There are other off-putting aspects to this work which belong uniquely to this plot (mostly weird scatological stuff), but I'll spare you.
Was there anything redeeming here? Reaching, I'll say I liked the setting overall, and though the descriptions needed more editing, I liked getting street scenes of Kolkata and its food. Also, the one principal female character, though stuck in a rape narrative, is still a compelling character. Perhaps my favorite scenes were of her riding on the back of one of the beastly shape shifters--a scene reminiscent of Lucy and Susan's ride on Aslan in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, though, when you start thinking of that, you find you'd rather be reading C. S. Lewis.
(Somewhat) Memorable Lines
"One question, foreigner. How do you speak my language so well?" you asked.
"A dead man taught me, after I ate him, just as the Christ taught his disciples the love of their God after they ate him."