Posts Tagged ‘book review’

UNNS – True to its name this book is truly Captivating

I am a big time fan of author’s first book – Finders, Keepers. Therefore, I read UNNS twice so that my fondness for Sapan didn’t cloud my judgement while reviewing his second book.

Let’s start with the cover page of the book – UNNS, the second stage of love, blue colored rose and the sub-title ‘The Captivation’. Everything depicted on the cover page beautifully carried the idea of what lies ahead. A young story, darkness of human emotions, love, betrayal, rage, regret and what not.

UNNS is story of Atharva and Meher. I said story because contrary to the fact, it is not a typical love story. This book is a soul who lived all seven stages of love again and again and finally breaks away the captivation in the end. Destiny bring a young couple together attaching them with the invisible string of fate. Same twisted fate tread different path for them setting them apart and then bringing them together again and again.

Story moves with a constant pace with flashbacks and current events along with the twist and suspense at the end of almost every chapter. Setting of the story and the sub-plots created all necessary elements.

I will not dig much into the story, instead I will elaborate some unique features of the book:

First – Title and the book even the blurb talked about all 7 stages of love. Sapan managed to arrange chapters of the book with the chronological order of all 7 stages along with the weather. And he did a full justice to each stage. I mean, if the stage is ‘maut’ then the subsequent paragraphs will take the story towards the same fate. What is phenomenal is that along with this, both Atharva and Meher lived there own 7 stages of love interwoven layer by layer in the story. Very few authors think about naming the chapters with such creativity and interlace it with something so complex yet succeeded to keep it simple.

Second – From very initial chapters Sapan started scattering breadcrumbs for readers to catch. You have to focus on every small details, tiniest hint to appreciate the book. Everything has a purpose, every paragraph has a reference. Even the details as insignificant as the favorite dishes of Atharva and Meher. This is a genius masterstroke by Sapan.

Third – Some words are best left unsaid. Sapan cleverly dropped some of the conversation at the cliffhanger. Trusting readers to guess the emotions embedded in the heart of the characters and in the process connect with them. I think this gave diversity to the book, not all readers think alike. You may have your own unique version and I can have my own version of the same story. It gave me a sense of purpose while reading this book.

Finally, Sapan’s UNNS is not perfect but the question we should ask – Who want perfect?

Atharva and Meher made different choices in life, choices which destroyed them, gave solace and closure. In the end, they both saw the order in chaos. Chaos of shrewd mind and innocent emotions.

I would like to mention two line of our beloved shayar Mirza Galib, which will give complete essence of UNNS – The Captivation:

Mohabbat mein nahi hai farq jeene aur marne ka,

usi ko dekh kar jeete hain jis kafir pe dam nikle

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I came across novels of Kavita Kane every now and then but this is the first time I got my hands on her latest novel ‘Lanka’s Princess’

Kavita Kane bravely picked up the most difficult character to narrate the events of Ramayana. Story of Surpanakha was shrouded in mystery throughout the epic. Author did a beautiful job of connecting all dots and filling the gaps with her vivid imagination. One unique element of the novel is the depiction of all shades of feminism, joy and warmth of jovial girl, agony and pain of hurt woman. This novel is a blend of all recognizable-unrecognizable human emotions.

All we know about Surpanakha from the theaters and TV serials that she was an ugly & lustful witch who completely enamored by handsome Lord Ram. Lakshman sliced her nose when she started forcing him to marry her. She went to Ravan, her eldest brother, asking for revenge, instigating him hurting his ego. This started a chain reaction which finally ended with the demise of Ravan and his Lanka.

This book tread different path of Surpankha’s life, the feminine side. How a child was undermined in her family, ill-treated by her own mother. How a passionate girl fell in love with an enemy and how the same girl turned into a ruthless revenge seeker. There is one another seldom mentioned lady of Ramayana who gets good amount of pages in this novel – Mandodri. I wanted to read more about her but settled with the thought that the book was about Meenakshi.

Meenakshi, youngest child born from the wedlock of a rishi Vishravas and asur Kaikesi, experienced her mother’s hatred throughout her childhood. This hatred transformed Meenakshi into Surpanakha, one who is hard as nails. Her elder brother, mighty Ravan stole all limelight forcing her to live as unwanted child in her own family. She finds solace only in embrace of her father and in soft words of Kumbhakarna.

Lord Krishna in dwapar yug narrates the story to kubja Trivarka. Story of love, war and betrayal, story of Treta yug when He was Lord Ram and she was Surpanakha.

Lanka’s Princess is a fast paced novel with a simple yet effective language. Short and crisp chapters will push you to keep on turning the page.

One and probably the only thing I didn’t liked about this novel is too much feminism. I believed that some of the events are exaggerated to give a black & white contrast. Specially with Ravan, I don’t think he was that evil. Our epics never portray black & white, there is always a grey shade to all personalities. I felt some back-of-the-mind biasing with the character sketch of some of the important characters of the novel.

All in all, good read if you enjoy Indian epics. This novel has capability of getting you to the depth of Ramayana.

‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

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Dystopian novel with Not-So-Distant future and very interesting title.

It starts with a subtle story of ambitious cubicle dweller, celebrating his recent promotion. All hell broke down from second chapter.

Well thought dystopia thriller, which will keep you on the edge from the first page till the epilogue. Author created elaborated plots and sub-plots without any loose ends.

As a reader, first person narration always intrigued me and in this case author absolutely nailed it. Almost all aspects of the story along with the back stories, descriptions and setting were described beautifully from the prospective of the protagonist. This type of storytelling definitely restrict story to a boundary making protagonist center of the universe but Mainak handled it perfectly by attaching protagonist to threads of all events important for the pace of the story.

Best part of the novel was the transformation of common man from a fearful human to a brutal killing machine for the sake of survival. How societies turned into tribes and the raw human instincts kicking to tackle the hostile and brutal enemies. How the tranquilizing nature of human soul was tarnished with violence in the shadow of fear and death.

Mainak did a wonderful job in describing the inner conflict of keeping sense of repentance alive while killing brutally for the greater good. Effort to bring order in Chaos while dealing with the bigger questions in hand. Question which will haunt every reader till the end of the novel is, Will it ever be normal again?

Some aspects of the novel raise serious concerns on our technology centric life. How we forget the importance of a simple conversation over social media frenzy, how our patriotism doesn’t go beyond liking facebook pages and retweeting nationalism.

I got goose bumps while reading some of the chapters towards the climax. My heart was filled with fear and darkness while reading the first confrontation with the enemy.

I will not give any spoilers, but the setting of the story, selection of the enemy, survival tactics all very believable. God forbid, we may someday face similar kind of threat where the stakes are high and danger is potent.

In the end, I would like to quote last lines of the novel, which I think are the essence of the whole novel:

“It was in those days, that I learned that even if your whole world is painted black, you can start to light it up again. All it needs is for each of us to realise that we should stop waiting for someone else to provide the spark; that the spark lies within each of us.”

 

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The Secret of the Druids is an exceptional novel with well researched story. It is like a big magical cauldron, mixing a perfect cocktail of mythology, history and legends.

This third installment of the Mahabharata Series will take you on a journey of Julius Caeser and beyond, into the mystical times of Druids and ancient India. How roots of ancient Indian civilization spanned across the planet creating Gods and Goddesses. How Immortal glory of our ancient past lived among the legends and stories of the lands across the sea.

Doyle’s scientifically detailed and almost accurate explanation of the secret will dwell in your mind, making sure that you conduct your own research on it. Trust me when I say, you will be enthralled with the revelations of the secret. He has left plenty of dots scattered all along for us to connect.

Vijay and team played the cat and mouse game with the mysterious and mighty ‘The Order’ against time, which I think made some part of the book predictable. Yet, there was a clear effort to bring new adventure by introducing new characters on both the side.

The only part I disliked was the injustice done with some of the key characters of the book. Characters like Radha, Kurt Wallace, Dee deserved more story space and background. Fate of some of them are even left to a cliffhanger without any hint of closure.

All in all, The Secret Of The Druids is a must read for people who love legends, mythologies and mysteries.

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Dasharajna or the ten kings is a part of Rig Veda, story of a valiant king who defied all odds and won a legendary battle against collective mammoth armies of 9 king of Bharatkhanda . India’s very own 300 but unlike Spartans they lived to tell the tale. Initial setup and descriptions were bit lengthy but necessary for the story arc. Kusa fields, Uttanga mountain, Parsuni river and even the animals, all of them played a significant role in the story.

Ten Kings is fast paced account of just one day of righteous king Sudas’ life. How clouds of gruesome battle hovered over his clan and how he snatched almost impossible victory from the jaws of his enemies and laid down the foundation of one of the most advanced civilization of ancient India at Harappa.

Ashok Banker is a master story teller and with his impeccable grip on english language he spun beautiful tale out of Rig veda. With King Sudas, enigmatic Guru Vashishta and fearless warriors of Trstu clan he created a vivid picture of land of five rivers.

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Plot: 4/5

Characters: 3/5

Writing Style: 4/5

Climax: 3/5

Entertainment Meter: 4/5

Unique in its own way, Svaha is a blend of rich Indian mythology and a super hero’s saga. After reading about Thor of Norse mythology and Zeus of Greek mythology finally we have a superhero from our own Indian mythology. It is a fictional story woven around the folk tales and Indian myths of our childhood.

Slash, young reckless naive girl found herself in middle of the grand plan of humanity’s destruction. However, she has a guardian angel on her shoulder, indestructible Soldier X. Flying man in a leather jacket who is cool in his own way.
There is no particular villain, but yes several very important characters. Some of turn try to open the portal between the two worlds to unleash one of the most feared villain of Indian mythology.

There are several sub-plots in midst of the story which creates a larger picture on the whole. Major Khanna from FORCE ONE, Paramacharya of the Trimbak math, The Council and The Deus Corp all trying to exploit the opportunity and achieve their own agenda. The key piece to save the world is ‘The Chosen One’ with Angel on her shoulder.

Can Slash save the world from destruction? Who exactly is Soldier X? Why is He helping Slash?
Pratik did a wonderful job, narrating the whole story in a short and crisp chapters. He avoided the details, which I personally don’t like but way he carried away the whole story with so many sub-plots is admirable. Backdrop of the protagonists and the antagonists are beautifully explained. He built the sense of excitement and suspense which is flawless.

Book ends on a cliffhanger with some loose ends clearly indicating the forthcoming sequels.

With ‘Svaha’, Pratik started an altogether new genre of Indian superhero writing which was long-awaited.

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