Saturday, 20 November 2021

Review- Maya and the Sword of Gringak

 One ruse that I have often shared in interviews and my reviews is that we rarely see a novel factor in books by Indian authors.

Most books are just different flavors of the same limited subjects. While there is some degree of novelty in how they treat their scenes or characters of storyline, there is rarely a unique plot or subject that comes across.

I am glad to say Maya and the Sword of Gringak definitely falls in the category of "different"


Cover is apt to the theme of the book, in fact all major elements are in full display. Cover is such that would attract eyes when kept with other books.


This is Book 1 of what is a full blown fantasy world build by Meera, that looks like will be introduced to us, part by part. 

Meera has chosen her protagonists, the names, the characters, situations pretty well. This is a big book, easily spanning over 370 pages, but because of the interesting way in which scenes are built, doesnt come across as tedious. In fact the world that Meera has built is so vibrant that even after 370+ pages, you are left wanting for more.


Maya is definitely the pick of the lot, it is her story and she completely makes herself your hero by the time this book ends and leaves you wanting to see her adventures more in coming books. My pick, however is Dhruv. It is often not very easy to write conflicted characters. Not only Meera clearly shows the conflicts, she keeps us wanting to root for him and he delivers.


The book has all essential flavors of a good entertaining story, there is romance, drama, betrayal, conflicts, love-hate, humor, all of which a fantasy novel, apart from the fantasy element itself.


On the flip side, I didnt find much of issues. There is a good amount of character growth of every central player, Maya having the most of it, from being a demure, shy girl to a hero and a leader. However, at times, I found her decisions and actions slightly predictable. Not a major issue, but maybe thats why I liked Dhruv more. Perhaps thats the curse of being the hero in the eternal conflict of good vs bad.


That said, this is one book I would definitely recommend to everyone. The book has potential to be liked by kids and adults alike. Perhaps, a good candidate for bedtime stories. All in all I would definitely give it a perfect 5! A lot of people would say this is great candidate for a webseries or an animated series. I would say, this has huge potential to be the backstory of a video game. Perhaps Meera should contact a few.

Read it for the novelty factor and the fabulous world of Maya. It is available on Amazon

https://www.amazon.in/MAYA-SWORD-GRINGAK-MEERA-PILLAI/dp/8195306594/

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Review- The Legend of Lachit Borphukan

 I would start with a note here. I am not a fan of historical fictions. And my not liking historical fictions has got lesser to do with the genre itself and more to do with the writers not able to do any justice to the theme they pick up. Most would just pick up a personality or event of their choice and then spice it up with some "must-have" themes of love, friendship. They even mostly go through similar journeys irrespective of the book or the topic. With time I have realized, the reason is that most of the times the authors do not understand the people they are writing about.


And that exactly is what has made this book different.


The Legend of Lachit Borpukhan works not because of Lachit Borpukhan himself, but because the author Nilutpal Gohain understands him so well and his resistance against the Mughal army. 



This is the perfect lesson on how historical fictions should be written. Covers everything and does complete justice to the lead character as well as the important event of the naval war that takes place as the heart of the story. The events and details which lead up to the war and then its subsequent execution and final victory is so beautifully written, you almost feel a part of the time and era itself. You can almost feel how much Nilutpal really cares about the subject and Lachit himself and you can very easy relate to how much the legend means to the land of Assam. 

This is a perfect David vs Goliath story where the wits and tactics displayed by Lachit is what made all the difference.

Mostly I would put out positives and then negatives and give my final rating. But I honestly didnt find any negative aspect to the book or the writing style of the author.


I would give it a perfect 5!!


You can buy the book from

https://www.amazon.in/dp/8195176119




Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Review-Dare. Dream. Travel by Shefali Arora

 A few weeks back I had the pleasure of reviewing On the Krishna Trail by Lalitha Balasubramanian. She very clearly brought out the difference between visiting a place of worship as a devotee vs a tourist.


Now, what is the difference between a tourist and a traveler? The book by Shefali Arora brings out this difference most clearly, as traveler focuses more on the journey rather than the destination itself.

 




A very interesting cover. I have been an avid fan of Life is Strange game series, and the cover starkly resembles the artwork in the game. So, definitely a plus from my side.

The book is actually a compilation of a few female travelers who wanted to share their experience of various journeys they undertook and how it went from being ordinary to an extraordinary endeavour and what they learnt out of it. At a lot of times, their experiences also teach a lot of things to interested travelers who seek similar adventures.

The book is for everyone. Any person who dreams to travel or who finds peace in traveling will find a major or minor connect with this book. The fact that these all are stories of female travelers adds another zing to the book.

A few of these experiences felt very close as I myself had experienced a few similar to those. The one driving in snowfall, or the one about having a generous host, as I mentioned previously, everyone will find some or the other connect to one of the experiences definitely.

The book is written in a very interesting narrative. Kudos to Shefali sometimes normal telling of certain events also sound interesting because of the narration.

On the flip side, nothing to take away from the book or the writing itself, certain experiences turned out positive for certain travelers, but might not for those who seek similar adventures. But again, that takes nothing away from the book.

It is a must read for those who wish to share their own experiences some day as well. A perfect case study in how to compile as much varied experiences and then narrate in the most interesting way. I would rate it 4.5/5

You can buy the book from Amazon

https://www.amazon.in/Dare-Dream-Travel-Shefali-Arora/dp/939131726X

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Review- Babri’s debt

 This week I read Babri’s debt by Dr Kamiksha Narda Sharma.



First a word of appreciation for the publisher “Book Street Publications”. I read another one of their book “To Color The Heavens” some time back and one recurring theme I found was both the books talk about extraordinary journeys of ordinary and relatable people. And the journeys are so well documented that you start feeling as if you know these characters from the books and really feel for them and hope they find peace and success in life. So definitely Book Street is doing something right there.


The cover is simple yet has a charming effect. The title reveals quite a lot about what to expect yet has a tone of mystery.


The story really is about a group of few girls who are all batch mates in a medical college and the author has put in a lot of details and exposure of how things are , in the field of medical science. One of the girls Nancy is the main protagonist and the story really follows her journey and shapes the flow of the book.

Dr Sharma has made a lot of effort to shape her characters and other people who influence their lives. All characters seem relatable and their struggles very realistic. The communal tensions and how orthodox people behave across religions is recorded quite realistically. How these communal tensions impact the protagonists form the crux of the book 


On the flip side, Certain situations and characters play very expected in the story. Certain characters when introduced you immediately know their entire character arc right to their final situation. I feel a certain novelty could have been introduced to make them unique.


That said, the book has no major faults. It’s not an easy breezy read because of the theme of the book which is quite intense. But definitely makes an excellent read during times when you want to introspect or want to spend a few hours with yourself.


All in all I would call this an excellent read . I would give it a 4.5/5 stars rating 



Book is available on Amazon 


Babri’s Debt https://www.amazon.in/dp/8195230628/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_AFRRYG69PQBTAT5JJWQX




Thursday, 16 September 2021

Review- The Secret of Stolen Idols

 I will be honest. I was waiting to read this book since it was announced. The theme, the cover, and the initial reviews were compelling enough for me to give it a read. And I really wanted to know what author Vivek Rajiv Chaturvedi has written. I finally got a chance to give it a read and needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint.


First I would like to applaud Vivek and the team of The Book Bakers for a magnificent cover. The cover is compelling and gives a hint of the mystery that is in the novel.



The book is written in a very stylish narrative. Every scene is built with some flavor and characters fit very well into the chapters. The book is centered around Goa and it’s history, it’s colors, it’s culture is displayed in full vibrancy. Goa is almost a character in the book.

The book moves with a good pace, and each chapter is laced with a shroud of mystery which builds further as the story moves ahead. The entire story and the elements of surprise and mystery are built very well and integrated masterfully together.


I didn’t find any major problem with the book. Just a few minor ones. One is when characters are being introduced, Rajiv takes a well crafted scene to introduce them. However, these scenes add a lot to his credential but do little to the story or the character himself. 


All in all this is a must read if you are interested in reading books of thriller genre. I like books which have something new to offer and the story as well as the narration style both are very creative. 



All in all I would go with 5/5 stars for the book


Book is available on Amazon


https://www.amazon.in/SECRET-STOLEN-IDOLS-VIVEK-CHATURVEDI/dp/8195037259

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Review- Tomb of God

 I very much am fan of books which make the readers think and not everything is served on a platter..


I picked up Tomb of God by Victor Ghoshe and though it took me multiple sittings to complete the book(partially my fault), it is very well deserving of accolades.



The cover is interesting. Wont say it does justice to the book but would definitely stand out in a book store and would compel you to purchase.


The premise is interesting. Victor has done a lot of research and travel to paint the picture of all the places the book visits. You get a very realistic look and feel of those places and can very well fit in the shoes of the protagonists. The book begins on a kind of familiar note, a disaster when all the characters of the book are set into motion at some point of time or another. Victor has scaled multiple timelines, multiple geographies and definitely multiple cultures and brings out the stark differences very smartly. The mystery element of the book is interesting, and culminates into a fulfilling ending.


On the flip side, no major complaints actually. At times, some of his characters behave a bit out of the loop. In the beginning a lot many characters are introduced across many geographies and walks of life and confuses reader a bit, but when the story is set into motion you feel comfortable in how story moves. 


Overall it is a book that you will most def enjoy. It is not a very easy one sitting read, the book forces you to think and be imaginative and that may take multiple sittings. That said, you wont be disappointed if you pick this up and read it through.


I will go with a rating of 4.5/5


You can buy the book on Amazon


https://www.amazon.in/Tomb-God-Victor-Ghosh-ebook/dp/B0937C1NBD/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UO5CC3PF3YGI&dchild=1&keywords=tomb+of+god&qid=1630462206&sprefix=tomb+of+%2Caps%2C284&sr=8-1

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Review- From Kanha to Krishna: The Journey to Divinity

 This is the week of Krishna! Few days back I read and reviewed the very interesting and unique travel memoir by Lalitha Balasubramanian, 'On the Krishna Trail'. So, when it was the time to pick up my next one, I decided to choose 'From Kanha to Krishna: The Journey to Divinity' by Pranab Mullick. Kind of my own Krishna Trail in books.


A lawyer by proffession, Pranab has put loads of reading and experience into the book and it shows. Cover is interesting, with two facets of Krishna, one at a young age and one when he became the mastermind Krishna that we know him as. There is often a discourse about how could a mischief like Kanha become such resourceful and mysterious, yet mastermind Krishna and this book helps bridge in the gap. What happens in the life of Krishna that helps him take this journey.



Interesting choice of cover, right there. Marked with the tone of divinity and the two stages that the book talks about. The title is interesting as well. So, definitely accolades to the author for both.


Since the time Amish Tripathi started a never seen before trend of mythological fictions, there have been many interesting and riveting titles that have come up on the Indian books scene and its very fascinating to find what all different authors have to write and portray. Some time back I read Kaikeyi which narrated the story of Kaikeyi and this one talks about Krishna.


Author has invested a lot of time and energy in development of few very interesting characters, the character of Chanur comes the most to fore front. Depicting the entire build up of how Kansa became the demonic king, how the prophecy of his sister Devaki's eighth son being his demise came to happen, how Kanha became the lovable and charming boy of Nandgaon, how Radha came to his life, how he never saw Radha again in his life and so on. 


Pranab has tried to keep the book as realistic as possible. The story of Krishna is marked with divitnity, mysticism, magic but Pranab has translated each and every event to reality. Sometimes he has went into details of how these events played out, while some times he just gives out a hint and leaves it there to readers's imagination. Kudos to writer for his imagination and translation of such acts into reality.

The war on Kansa's palace is a long scene, and plays it out perfectly like a well thought of war scene. The entire scene is interesting, and well laid out and keeps you on your toes. A lot is happening in this scene and never does it confuse you and keeps you engaged.


On the flip side, the greatest strength of the book is also its biggest weakness. In an attempt to strip Krishna of any kind of divinity or mysticism and just to portray him as a regular person(its a re-imagination of Krishna) and even gives him kind of a sad ending. But this attempt also makes the central characters of Krishna and Kansa as weak. Both are narrated as pieces in the game of a chessboard which are strong but then, are being played by someone else. Krishna still takes a few key decisions towards the end but Kansa is completely being managed behind the scene. This robs the book off some sheen because in the end Krishna and Kans are the reason people know this story of, not Chanur or Akrur. 


But barring these little pieces, overall the book is a very engaging read. Its a page turner and you cannot keep the book without completely reading the journey that Kanha took to become Krishna. The overall atmosphere of Mathura and the times have been described very tastefully and lingers in the mind of the reader long after he is done with the book.


Overall I would give this book a 4/5.

You can purchase the book here

https://www.amazon.in/Kanha-Krishna-Divinity-Pranab-Mullick-ebook/dp/B07M65C55L/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kanha+to+krishna&qid=1628434456&s=digital-text&sr=1-1