Book Review : Finders, Keepers

Image Courtesy: Amazon

Image Courtesy: Amazon

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Finders, Keepers. Losers, Weepers Two men are murdered in settings which speak volumes of involvement of some sacred cynicism. A psycho-killer on the loose? Or is this the beginning of something much more grave and dangerous? This is the tale of how Deputy Director, I.B., Shoumik Haldar and celebrated author Ishan Vajpayee exercise all their tools of conventional and unconventional deduction to solve the puzzles thrown across by the enemy, yet unrevealed. Intertwined intensely with the opulent mythological tales and specimens attributing to the rich cultural heritage of this country, the story depicts the resurgence of a dormant historical sect, which attacks the very foundations of one of the most powerful and secreted organizations of all times. Spread across the length and breadth of the entire Indian subcontinent, read the mystery as it unravels with the duo travelling from one corner of the country to another searching for the signs.

Review: 

Before you attempt to read this book, I must advise that you gather enough patience in your kitty. Finders, Keepers is a huge novel, almost an epic with a heavy dose of Indian Mythology. I haven’t read a longer one by any Indian Writer in English yet. And in my opinion, you should read the entire novel only if you have the time to. The story and plot is sprawled all over India with references to Mythology that’s millions of years old. It would be a shame if someone doesn’t read the entire turn of events.

The basic premise of the book dates back to King Ashoka and his devise of creating a clique of Nine Unknown Men with all the knowledge in the world. They gather their respective departmental gems into a book each that will be protected by guardians for centuries. The book begins with two murders and enter IB officer Shoumik Haldar to investigate them by special request from an eminent personality. Anticipating a connect of Mythology in the murders, Shoumik decides to confide and take assistance in a very able author, Ishan Vajpayee. A few murders follow and they unravel the immensely complicated mystery that has been protecting and progressing our country since long. Do the Nine Unknown Men still exist? What knowledge do they guard in each book? Why are they murdered one at a time? Who is behind all the murders and what is their motive? These and many more questions spring up in the first two chapters itself. With a whopping total of 624 pages, the book traverses at a gradual speed to solve the case with the help of two efficient men.

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Book Review : The Homing Pigeons

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

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In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.

They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

Review:

I had opted to review this book reading truckloads of accolades from reviewers everywhere. If you have read my previous reviews, you might be knowing that I’m weary of reading innumerable romance novels these days. Yet, the keyword on the blurb which appealed to me was ‘recession.’ Being a victim of this menace myself, I wanted to know how the author handled it in this book. And I wasn’t disappointed. The blurb promised a love story and it is one, albeit a different one.

The story revolves around the two main protagonists – Aditya and Radhika, and is narrated from their perspectives in alternate chapters. Fair enough, it starts with Aditya, the victim of 2008 recession. What would you do if you lose your job? Has the thought ever crossed your mind, dear reader? Deplete all your money, worsen relation with your immediate family, lose your senses, cater to various addictions, fall prey to weird situations – All of these happened to Aditya and he became a gigolo. I will not divulge the circumstances that made Aditya do whatever he did with a makeshift profession. I will not judge the author for the profession he adorned his protagonist with. All I can say is that loss of a high-profile job and an absolute penniless condition can turn people into different personalities altogether. It happened to Aditya in the book, and it definitely happened to many people in reality who had lost everything during a recession. The other protagonist Radhika has a complicated past and present, and probably a future too, as the book ends with such a hint. They never fall out of love, and yet are never meant to be together.

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Critique the Critics

Well, I knew this was coming someday or the other. I have been joking to my friends about the fear of getting killed by an author whose books did not receive favourable reviews from me. Something similar happened yesterday to a fellow book reviewer. Another author with three books already published wrote this in his status a day or two ago:

amit shankar 1

His third book, recently released, is being reviewed in the Indian blogosphere these days. A fellow reviewer of mine did not like it (she had valid reasons which she explained in her review) and rated it 2/5 which is the lowest rating on her blog. Other fellow reviewers who liked the book (for valid reasons again) were mentioned in the author’s profile. It is evident that the status is directed towards a particular reviewer or perhaps others too who wouldn’t write a favourable review.

What is more appalling than the status is further reaction from the author and his friends. I am awed by the atrocity of calling people names. Satire, is not everyone’s forte. And this is plain and simple wrath –

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Book Review : Seven Days Without You

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

‘Seven Days Without You’ is a story of two childhood friends that finds its destiny only when they live seven days away from each other. What the joyous life of years together couldn’t unearth, was dug out by the heart breaking realities of seven days that were no less than a new life for him– one where his childhood friend was not with him.The protagonist, Vishwas is all set for his first job. Enthralled with excitement the small town ‘mummy-papa’ boy leaves for Delhi and would return after seven days. His seven days without Shailja do not happen as he thought they would. His dreams ruined, expectations shattered and fantasies turned into nightmares, he realizes that life isn’t as simple as it looked from the balcony of his room. Fun, joy, excitement, sorrow, disgust, embarrassment, deception and then LOVE… Seven days teach him the perfect definition of every sentiment. The battle of emotions and confessions that lasts for seven days transmutes his years old relationship into something else, and his heart overflows with the love he thought Shailja would never kindle inside him. What happened in those seven days that gouged his love out of friendship? Will Shailja still be waiting for him after these seven days? And will she reciprocate his love…?

Review: 

I was attracted to this book only for the plot mentioned in the blurb, the concept of seven days of separation and conjugation. After reading the entire book, I found the core idea to be the only interesting ingredient. Rest – gone all wrong again. I’ll give you an example. Would you like to read a book which has the following lines…

The unsullied moist breeze of the jungle and the magnificent expanse of verdure, for a while I forgot the scene beside me. (p. 30)

…coupled with the ones below?

“You told me that you have got a bike. Where it is?” (p. 77)

As I kept reading, I had a very strong feeling that either the author had a split personality while writing or there was a ghost writer involved. There is a distinctive switch from pedestrian ‘Indian English’ to a better choice of words – at irregular intervals. I don’t know if it is humble enough to suggest that the author had MPD while writing, so I’d rather assume that the editors decided to garnish the chapters with their own choice of trail mix.

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Book Review: Arjuna

arjuna

Image Courtesy: Google

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Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of Indias greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjunas story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life.

Review: 

Disclaimer: I do always refer to the names of Indian characters without the suffix ‘a’. It is and will be Arjun for me, not Arjuna. 

Mythology has always been the Achilles’ Heel for me. I have been trying to comprehend the epics since childhood through bland text books and the legendary television serials, especially Mahabharat. It has been mostly futile, though. As if Valmiki and Ved Vyas had conspired eons ago to confuse me with their magnanimous works. It is because of this confusion that I still pick up mythological books, to test myself.

Anuja Chandramouli, the author of this book had asked me very graciously to read and review it for her. I’d be lying if I said that I started reading without expectations. I had presumed the book would be unusual, perhaps presenting Arjun in a different light, assess him from a different angle, or even let him speak out his life to the mere mortals ages later. Alas, I was disappointed. The book is an abridged Mahabharat in English with interesting trivia and anecdotes, which are often left out in the popular versions of the epic. It is not fiction, in my opinion. Anuja has been true to the original text, the stories, the characters, their circumstances. The figments of her imagination are much less in quantity than what would have made it a great book.

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Book Review: Tantra

Blurb View: 

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer.

In India, she finds more than she expected. For one thing, her fellow operatives have made a truce with the vampires. For another, it’s way too hot to wear leather.

At first, it seems Anu’s biggest challenge will be evading the nice boys her aunt wants her to marry. But when children start disappearing, she discovers forces older and darker than anything she’s faced before. All of Delhi is in danger, especially the sexy stranger who sets Anu’s pulse racing.

To prepare for the coming battle, Anu must overcome her personal demons and put aside years of training. This time, her most powerful weapon will come from her mind, not her weapons belt.

Review: 

As I glanced the blurb, I was not too impressed since fantasy/vampire thrillers are genres I mostly stay away from. It is futile to explain why they fail to arouse the core column of interest inside me. Perhaps I like being grounded to reality through the books I savour. Nonetheless, I chose to read the book solely to review it. And I have to admit, I am impressed, indeed. Owing to the ‘vampire’ and ‘vengeance’ mentioned on the blurb, readers would tend to assume such in the initial chapters but the plot unfolds gradually.

The protagonist Anu Aggarwal is portrayed as a no-nonsense professional guardian, who despite of being utterly professional gets emotionally involved in her profession for reasons personal. I liked the idea of the heroine being the so-called ‘coconut-type’, putting on a stern persona but having a perfectly sensible and emotional interior. She is shown as a skillful vampire-hunter with no mercy for the bloody creatures. Having confessed that I haven’t read a single vampire thriller till date, or watched the popular series of vampire movies, I certainly felt clueless about the techniques of fights and jargon used. I wish the author would have explained the background to some extent as to why or how Anu became a guardian, and how do her likes take down vampires. Little episodes about how Anu tries to cope with the Delhi culture, her doting aunt, relatives and the process of arranged marriage are well sketched to grasp the readers’ interest. Few of them are hilarious and reflect the show-off traditions of upscale Delhites.

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Book Review : I Too Had A Love Story

Blurb View: 

Do Love Stories Ever die?.. How would you React when a beautiful person comes into your life, and then goes away from you… forever?

Not all love stories are meant to have a perfect ending. I Too Had a Love Story is one such saga. It is the tender and heartfelt tale of Ravin and Khushi, two people who found each other on a matrimonial site and fell in love … until life puts their love to the ultimate test. Romantic, emotional and sincere, this heartbreaking true life story has already touched a million hearts. This bestselling novel is a must read for anyone who believes in the magic of love …

Review:

I had seen glimpses of this book here and there on various websites, but did not have the time or reason to give it a read. Recently a friend mentioned that the author is her friend’s relative and its a true story. So I grabbed a copy hoping it would be worth, but..I surely was disappointed. The plot is touching indeed, there is no doubt about that. Who wouldn’t want to read a love story about a couple who meet and part by death? The kernel of the story is pretty appealing with attributes like a foreword written by N.R. Narayana Murthy (ex-CEO and co-founder of Infosys) and the author being an MBA from a leading B-school in India. All these attract the readers, especially the teenage ones looking for some extra mush in their hectic lives. But, and there is a big BUT here, the writing style did not attract me at all.

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