First Comes Like | By Alisha Rai
Book Review | Contemporary Romance
Narrative and Plot
First Comes Like is the third book in the Modern Love Series. In this book, we follow Jia who is a social media influencer who gets catfished by someone claiming to be a famous Hindi serial actor. Now, given that the main lead is a serial actor, a lot of the story is like an homage to the typical 2000s Indian TV drama with dramatic twists and reveals at each corner. At least, that is what I chalked it up to.
The story makes a lot of references to the desi soaps which is cool for an Indian reader. Half of the time, as a desi reader, I miss the pop culture references in books and this was a welcome change. However, as much as I enjoyed the whole desi theme of the book, the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
Characters and Conflicts
Jia is the central character, but the story equally focuses on Dev as well. The fact that he is named Devanand after the legendary actor is another subtle nod to the Bollywood film industry. It dwells on certain topics like nepotism, which has attained the spotlight in the Hindi film industry recently. The film sheds light on the fact that even if the entry is easier for the star kid, they still need to work as hard as anyone to earn a name for themselves.
However, towards the end, it seemed as if the characters were becoming inconsistent. Jia who wanted to prove that she was mature and can make her own decisions, and Dev who has always been the mature one and even raising his niece, jumped into one of the biggest decisions of their life without even discussing the logistics.
It seemed to make Jia’s father’s comment about her right. He remarked something along the vein earlier that Jia just jumps into things without thinking, but in the end, it falls into place. The ending of the story felt cliched, with a lukewarm falling apart and making up for it.
First Comes Like is an homage to the Hindi film and TV industry, relieving the nostalgia of the soap operas any Millenial watched growing up. However, the weak plot and the lukewarm conflict with inconsistent character choices made the book a one-time read.