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Showing posts with label Indian Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indian Books. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review - Half Pants Full Pants by Anand Suspi


“This is a book about childhood, best enjoyed after you have left it behind.”

What the renowned filmmaker RR Balki has to say about the book:

"After Malgudi Days, I could never imagine that somebody could create another childhood classic for adults to regain their innocence even for a few hours. Suspi’s tales would have made R K Narayan smile. Oh! That beautiful Kannadiga gene!"



'Half Pants Full Pants' by Anand Suspi is an endearing read. It is the author’s debut novel where he recounts his real-life childhood tales from Shimoga, a then sleepy town in the state of Karnataka.

This book was sent to me by paperboatdrinks (Hector Beverages) and was with me for over 2 months before I picked it up to read. Well, as the adage goes – better late than never; I am so glad to have read it. Reading it was such an amazing experience. As I turned pages after pages of this book, I often got transported to my own childhood days and to my own stories. A wave of nostalgia often hit me and I wished if I could relive my childhood again. It is perhaps our lives' biggest irony - when we are kids, all we want to be is grow up and when we do, we wish we could travel back in time and enjoy the pleasures of childhood again.

There are altogether 38 stories in the book – some from the half pant days and other from the full pant days of the author. And each one succeeds in evoking a sense of nostalgia in the readers. In some way of the other most of us – from the pre-internet and gadget-free childhood days, will be able to relate to these real-life childhood tales of the author in some ways or the other.

The first story in the book revolves around a popular idea that did the rounds in my school days too – when a coin in put on railway track and a train passes over it, it turns into magnet! Back then, I didn’t have any mean to check it. The author being the son of a railway employee had the opportunity to find out the truth of the idea first hand. But, instead of a magnet what he got was a 5 paisa badly shaped chapati!



The author has had a fair share of adventures in his childhood. Some of them are exclusive to him – how many of us can boast of driving a train? I guess none of us can boast of that. But, there are so many other anecdotes - on fighting mosquitoes to imagining self to be some sort of detective (most of us must have been thorough that phase after reading famous five books), to climbing trees, saving pocket money, to delving deep into philanthropy, to detesting gourds (same-pinch), and so on. One thing that is sure this book will do to you - it will make your revisit your childhood.

Thank you Anand Suspi for crafting a book of your childhood tales; and thank you paperboats for publishing it so that it could reach the readers.

Highly recommended. You can buy it on Amazon or Flipkart. It makes for a great gift to friends and family.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Temple of Avinasi - The Legend of Kalki by Ayush Pathak

From the ashes of Epic Wars shall the great Lord of Dark rise,
So terrible his wrath, every protestor shall demise…
Ripped apart would be the Shield and the protecting forces,
A whole world shall fall, mortal or otherwise…



When I started with this book, I was not really expecting too much. For the first couple of pages I was having problems getting used to the terms like Light Seekers, Dark seekers, Devs, Asurs, Nashwar, Nishachar, etc. But, as I delve a bit deeper, things got clear and I started enjoying the book and there was no looking back! The story in the book takes you into a magical world. At the end of the book, I was simply amazed by the author’s vivid imagination and the way he has weaved a fantastic story. One will find that the author draws inspiration not only from Indian mythology but also from those from around the world.

The story revolves around the prophecy of the final avatar that will save the Earth from all the evil aliens and dark forces. This so called avatar is presented to us in the book as the fourteen year old child – Angel (I know such a clich├ęd name), who oblivious to what destiny awaits him lives in the valley with his friends and father. But, his perfect life is soon to get unsettled. We will know about that in the book. There is too much happening in the plot that it is difficult to summarize in a review.

Although I admit that I loved reading the book, I do wish the author had named the characters different. This book is supposedly based on the Kalki avatar from Hindu mythology. But, when you hear that he is named ‘Angel’ – it doesn’t quite sync well. Also, I found Angel’s father name funny - Mr. Betterclouds! Also, I felt the author had only the Indian readers in mind when he wrote this book because words like Nishachar, Nashwar, etc., won’t really go well with readers who do not have much idea about such Hindi words.

The language used in the book is simple. The author has made the effort to put in every single detail of the world he talks about in the book. You can imagine each and every scene as it if is happening right before your eyes. The story moves forward smoothly and swiftly, keeping the readers on the edge. There are many layers in the story and each of them gets unveiled at appropriate times throughout the story and it builds the tempo.

This book is the first one of the six book series that the author has in mind to write. With this book, he has raised the bar quite high and I am hoping he lives up to the mark in the rest of the books in the series. I will certainly look forward to them.

I received this book from Leadstart publishing in exchange for an unbiased review.



Monday, January 20, 2014

AJAYA - Roll of the Dice by Ananda Neelakantan



Ask any Indian about Mahabharata, he will tell you Pandavas were the heroes and Kauravas were the evils ones in this epic saga. That is what we have heard, seen in the Mahabharata TV serial that was aired on Doordarshan and that is what we have always believed. But, Ananda Neelakantan – the author of the book Ajaya – Roll of the Dice (the epic of the Kauravas clan) has other ideas. He in his book has switched the roles of both sides and has presented the epic Mahabharata in a new, never-thought-of light.

I have read Anand Neelakantan’s previous book Asura, so I thought that I had a fair idea of what to expect in this book. But, as I turned pages after pages, the author took me by surprise. I would not deny that the book intrigued me and kept me glued for all the time I was reading it. But, do mark my words of caution; the book is an epitome of radical and preposterous ideas that could even be dubbed as blasphemous by many. So, if you read it with an open mind, you will enjoy it more. If you mind what the author says about the heroes of the original Mahabharata in this book, you are likely to end up irritated.

To cut the long chase short I would quote the blurb from the book which gives an idea about the premise of the book.

The Mahabharata endures as the great epic of India.

But, while Jaya is the story of the Pandavas, told from the perspective of the victors of Kurukshetra; Ajaya is the narrative of the ‘unconquerable’ Kauravas, who were decimated to the last man.

At the heart of India’s most powerful empire, a revolution is brewing. Bhishma, the noble patriarch of Hastinapura, is struggling to maintain the unity of his empire. On the throne sits Dhritarashtra, the blind King, and his foreign-born Queen – Gandhari. In the shadow of the throne stands Kunti, the Dowager-Queen, burning with ambition to see her firstborn become the ruler, acknowledged by all.

And in the wings:
* Parashurama, the enigmatic Guru of the powerful Southern Confederate, bides his time to take over and impose his will from mountains to ocean. 
* Ekalavya, a young Nishada, yearns to break free of caste restrictions and become a warrior.
* Karna, son of a humble charioteer, travels to the South to study under the foremost Guru of the day and become the greatest archer in the land. 
* Balarama, the charismatic leader of the Yadavas, dreams of building the perfect city by the sea and seeing his people prosperous and proud once more. 
* Takshaka, guerilla leader of the Nagas, foments a revolution by the downtrodden as he lies in wait in the jungles of India, where survival is the only dharma.
* Jara, the beggar, and his blind dog Dharma, walk the dusty streets of India, witness to people and events far greater than they, as the Pandavas and the Kauravas confront their searing destinies.

Amidst the chaos, Prince Suyodhana, heir of Hastinapura, stands tall, determined to claim his birthright and act according to his conscience. He is the maker of his own destiny – or so he believes. While in the corridors of the Hastinapura palace, a foreign Prince plots to destroy India. And the dice falls…


The writing style is good. The plot seems well researched. However, there were points when I felt the author is trying too hard to portray Duryodhana in good light (He is called ‘Suyodhana’ by the author in the novel). It is not retelling of Mahabharata, rather a very different narration of the epic. 

I would not want to get into the details of how the story moves in the book; you have to read the book to know about it. Overall, I think the author has put his arguments and point of views about various incidents that takes place in the epic Mahabharata very deftly. That is why I was looking forward to read how he would explain the horrendous treatment to Draupadi after the Pandavas lose the game of dice. But, that is why the author stops and decides to narrate the rest of the story in the next book. After some thought, I realized he might have deliberated done so, to lure the readers into the reading the next book.


I definitely want to read the next half of the book – The Rise of Kali.

received this book from Lead Start Publishing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Land of the Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal




Land of the Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal

I have been reading this book for the last two weeks. I went slow, read a few pages at a time. This is the sort of book that needs slow reading. I am not saying it is a heavy read, but I would definitely say that it is brimming with information of events on the various events in history of India that eventually had a geographical significance. Hence, one should take their time to grasp and understand it. I should apologize to Think WhyNot Group, who send me the review copy of this book as I took more than the due time to read and review this book.

India has been known throughout the history as the land of seven rivers. The tag line of the book says - "A Brief History of India's Geography". That itself is intriguing. Indians have bad memories of the partition which resulted in the creation of our country along with our neighbours. Various regions of the country are still under territorial dispute with the neighboring countries. Major ethnic groups are asking for division and creation of states for themselves. Hence, a knowledge of India's historical geography is a must for all Indians.

The blurb asks interesting questions.

Did ancient India witness the great flood? Why did Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath? How did Europeans map India?

It is very possible that these questions never crossed our minds, but they are sure to ignite your curiosity once you come across them. The author delves deep into our history to find answers about our geographical history. He talks about Indus Valley Civilization, the Mauryan empire, various dynasties that ruled the country, the British rule, partition, and much more. He also talks about the battle of Kurukshetra. The geographical history of our country is very much entwined with the political history and hence, one cannot segregate events into a particular category. The political events in history always had a geographical consequence and the author dwells on them to understand its significance. He also dwells on the tectonic movements of the earth's land that has over ages changed the geography of the world.

The book is full of interesting takes on the geographical changes that finally shaped India's destiny. You will feel enlightened once you have read it. Having said that I must add that the information in this book can be overwhelming at times. If you, like me were never very strong in the subjects of history and geography, then you might have to re- read parts of the book in order to understand it properly.

About the Author: A Rhodes Scholar, an Eisenhower Fellow, Sanjeev Sanyal is a global strategist in India's largest banks. He juggles between India and Singapore for work. He was named Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. His first book, The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise After a Thousand Years of Decline was published by Penguin in 2008.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Shoes of the Dead by Kota Neelima

"None of us can match the powers we challenge. It is an unequal fight, but we have the dead on our side."

We have often heard about crop failures, how it affects the farmers and how so many of them, think it better to end their life rather than live a life burdened by debt. Such news had made the head lines some time back, when the suicide toll of farmers in the Vidharva region of Maharashtra had reached alarmingly high numbers. To write a novel on such a sensitive topic is a tremendous task, because the subject is not just social, it is political as well. The author, Kota Neelima who works as Political Editor with a prominent newspaper has done full justice to the topic in her latest book- Shoes of the Dead.

Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides.

Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party—first-time member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary—is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis; every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence.

The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner.

Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.


Very often when one read a political novel based on real incidents and when the subject is as heavy as this one, the readers often feel bogged down. But, that is not the case with this book. As Gangiri fights for a cause, the readers heart goes out for him. There is a ray of hope. We hope against hope, that maybe things will change for the better at some point.

"There were many such farmers, different names, same fate. As Gangiri heard the stories, he once again found himself wanting something that was denied to him, something he could not have. Justice."



If you have a keen interest in the politics you can even deduce who is who for some characters in the novel. The book is unsettling at times, at times you might feel you are having quite an easy life and that can fill you with guilt. It takes a great deal to write a book on such a sensitive issue with such aplomb. The writing style is crisp and lucid. The characters are real and they will stay with you for a long time. The book will keep you interested till the very end.

Read this book to understand how politics plays with the life of the farmers when they are alive and even after they are dead.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! Thank you Blog adda for giving me the opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

The blurb says:

The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father. Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most powerful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great. Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and succeeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the mighty Mauryan empire.

History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya.

Satisfied—and a little bored—by his success as a kingmaker, through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Arthashastra, the ‘science of wealth’. But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in small town India who becomes puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals—including a certain slum child who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.

Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics and this landscape is Gangasagar’s feasting ground. Can this wily pandit—who preys on greed, venality and sexual deviance—bring about another miracle of a united India? Will Chanakya’s chant work again?

I had read this book quite some time back and a review of the same has been long due. I had great expectations from this book but, somehow I feel that it didn't really live up to my expectations. And that is not without reasons. The blurb is alluring, the plot is good but the narration falters. The Chanakya part is reasonably fine, but I couldn't relate even a bit to the character of Gangasagar. Many incidents and events in the book are exaggerated. I didn't get the motivation behind Gangasagar's actions. To top that, just like in a hero in Bollywood movie he does whatever he likes and gets away with it every time. I also didn't like the way Chandni's character is portrayed.

The book could have been better edited and could be reduced by some 100 odd pages. The author has tried to draw parallels between today's politics and that of ancient times and has succeeded to some extent. This book is fine if you are looking for a casual read. The story is quite predictable so, you won't have to strain your brain much. But, if you are looking for a classic political thriller, there are better options. Decide for yourself.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can Love Happen Twice by Ravinder Singh


Anyone who has read 'I Too Had A Love Story' by Ravinder Singh and was touched by it, would definitely pick up the author's second book - Can Love Happen Twice. We all have some expectations from an author whose work we appreciated. But, many a times all those hopes fall flat when the author's work doesn't meet our expectations. Let me tell you why I say so.

Here, I can't help but draw a comparison between the two books of the author.The first book was based on a true story, the author's own love story. Not that the writing style of the book was great, but the story touched the heart of many, for its simplicity and honesty. For all the author had been through in his life, the readers felt empathy for him. In the second book - Can love happen twice, which is a work of the author's imagination, he has tried to sell the old-stale-love-story in a new packaging.

Plot is simple. Boy is lonely and trying to live with his past. He goes abroad for work. Sees an Indian girl. Falls for her. Love happens. Boy is back to India. Trouble starts. Suddenly, career is more important for the girl and she breaks up with him. Boy is broken and gets mental. He runs to the street and meets an accident and hence, ends up in a rehabilitation home.

And guess who is telling us this story? His three friends reads his unfinished book on a radio show!

*Silence*

The problems doesn't end with the plot, the characters are also very poorly sketched. The character of Simar is irritating, melodramatic and irrational. She is nothing like the character of Khushi of 'I Too Had A Love Story'. The love portrayed between Ravin and Simar is more of an infatuation which fades with time. To top all this, the author keeps bragging about being a best selling author through out the book. Looks like the success of his debut novel has got into his head. If he thinks that he can sell any crap for a love story, then he is wrong. This book doesn't work for me.

If you have read the author's first book and liked it then, please don't pick up this one. It will ruin your empathy for the author. I don't think I am going to read any more of his work. That is, if he decides to write another book.

You can surely give this one a miss.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Business Sutra by Devdutt Pattanaik

‘As is belief, so is behavior, so is business. This is business sutra, a very Indian approach to management.’

This line captures the very essence of the book.

Devdutt Pattanaik's latest book, Business Sutra - A very Indian approach to management, combines Indian mythology and business and makes the reader delve into a business approach that is very Indian. The author argues that despite its veneer of objectivity, modern management is rooted in Western beliefs. Hence, the approach is goal-oriented, obsessed with objectives, milestones, and targets. By contrast, Business Sutra is gaze-oriented. Great value is placed on the practice of darshan: how we see the world and our relationship with Lakshmi, goddess of wealth.

The blurb says:

Business Sutra uses stories, symbols and rituals drawn from Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology to understand a wide variety of business situations that range from running a successful tea stall to nurturing talent in a large multinational corporation. At the heart of the book is a compelling premise: if we believe that wealth needs to be chased, the workplace becomes a rana-bhoomi—a battleground of investors, regulators, employers, employees, vendors, competitors and customers; if we believe that wealth needs to be attracted, the workplace becomes a ranga-bhoomi—a playground where everyone is happy.

Brilliantly argued, original and thoroughly accessible, Business Sutra presents a radical and nuanced approach to management, business and leadership in a diverse, fast- changing, and increasingly polarized world.

The book is divided into three sections: 'Introduction', 'From Goal to Gaze' and finally 'Business Sutra'. I found the first two sections a bit cumbersome. But once you are through it, you get into the flow of the book. The author's writing style is detailed, crisp and there are no loose ends. The content of the book is well complimented by illustrations and drawings. The book is not the kind that can be rushed upon; instead, it should be read slowly - a few sutras at a time. I seriously thought that 10 days given by blogadda, to read and review this book were not enough. In fact, I want to re read this book at my own pace sometime soon. The beauty of the book is that, you don't have to read the book in any chronological order. You can start with any sutra and there will definitely be something to learn from it.

The author has not only explained each and every sutra, but has also dwelled on how they are valid in the current business scenario. It is a very well researched and well written book. You don't have to be from a business background to read and understand this book. The author's writing style is simple, lucid and easily understandable. While reading this book, you will be able to relate to a lot of scenarios presented in the book. In fact, the way you see business and life will change.

If you love to read book based on mythology, you can't miss this one. It needs a bit of patience to read it but, it is well worth it.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! Thank you Blog adda for giving me the opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

R.I.P by Mukul Deva


I am a day late in posting the review. I had received a free review copy from blogadda and was supposed to post the review within 7 days. Well, I had planned to post is yesterday but, sometimes life has something else in store for you. Well, as the saying goes better late than ever. RIP by Mukul Deva is a fast paced political thriller with elements of love and parenthood in it. As you read it, you realize that the author had drawn inspiration from India's present political, social and economic scenario. Here is the blurb from the book cover.

R.I.P. The Resurgent Indian Patriots. Self- appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants. Even if it means killing them. Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team of Special Forces officers rally to protect the country from the enemy within. They call themselves the K-Team. And no one is safe from their deadly intent. Hellbent on stopping them is Raghav Bhagat, rogue para commando, gun for hire and Krishna's bete noir. Caught in the crossfire is Vinod Bedi, Special Director CBI. Reena Bhagat, a glamorous news anchor, embittered by her husband's betrayal. And two young boys, Sachin and Azaan, torn apart by the loss of a parent. It doesn't get bigger.

K team has taken it in their hands to resolve the issues facing the nation. For that they carry out meticulously planned assassination of prominent people in power who are corrupt and are splurging common's man money on themselves. This is done to warn the government that unless they change their attitude, things are going to get real dirty.

The narration is fast and crisp and keeps you engaged pretty well. Explanation or various methods and techniques for assassination are provided where deemed necessary. As I read the novel it reminded me of Rang De Basanti and A Wednesday. These two acclaimed movies shows how common man fed up with corrupt politicians take it in their own hands to clean the system. While the movie had strong characters that were etched into your mind, RIP lacks that. I felt the author could have worked a bit more on the characters to make them more relatable. The passion to save the country which the characters felt didn't reflect in the writing.

 RIP has the elements of a masala Bollywood thriller. I would not be surprised if it adapted into one in times to come. Having said that, I should also mention that towards the end of the novel I could predict what is going to happen. Guess, I have seen too many Bollywood movies. Political thriller is not really a genre I read much. So, it was a welcome change for me. If you are looking for a quick read, surly give it a try. I will give it a generous 3/5.


This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! Thank you Blog adda for giving me the opportunity.



Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Young India Wants by Chetan Bhagat

I had read What Young India Wants and Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat on my India visit this year. In fact, I have read all the books by the author, but, none of the reviews for those books have found their way into this space. One reason for that is that I had read them before I started this blog. When I read these two books by the author recently, I made sure that I write about it here. The name Chetan Bhagat evokes different reactions from different people. He is revered by many, he is idolized by many and even hated by many. I fall into none of these categories. I pick up his books when I am in the mood for an easy, fast read and Bhagat's book promises exactly that.

Here is the blurb from his book 'What Young India Wants':



In his latest book, What Young India Wants, Chetan Bhagat asks hard questions, demands answers and presents solutions for a better, more prosperous India.

Why do our students regularly commit suicide?
Why is there so much corruption in India?
Can't our political parties ever work together?
Does our vote make any difference at all?
We love our India, but shouldn't some things be different?
All of us have asked these questions at some time or the other. So does Chetan Bhagat, India's most loved writer, in What Young India Wants, his first book of non-fiction.

What Young India Wants is based on Chetan Bhagat's vast experience as a very successful writer and motivational speaker. In clear, simple prose, and with great insight, he analyses some of the complex issues facing modern India, offers solutions and invites discussion on them. And, at the end, he asks this important question: Unless we are all in agreement on what it is going to take to make our country better, how will things ever change? If you want to understand contemporary India, the problems that face it, and want to be a part of the solution, What Young India Wants is the book for you.


When you pick Chetan Bhagat's book, you don't expect it to be a literary masterpiece. It is well known that his books doesn't fall under that category. This non fiction attempt by the author is not different either. The author has tried to address the main issues that are plaguing the Indian society - from the rampant corruption in Indian political system, ever increasing number of scams to the severe flaws in our education system -he talks about everything, gives his views and offers solutions.

The chapters are short and to the point. He often gives examples and shares a story from his personal experience. But overall, the book lacks depth. There is an overview of all the problems without any detailed analysis. Even the solution offered are very general, simplistic and too shallow to be applied in the real world.

The book will work like a crash course if you are preparing for debates and group discussions. On the brighter side, it can serve as a starting point for a much wider discussion and search for real and meaningful solutions to our nation's problem.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shiva Trilogy II - The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi



Shiva Trilogy II - The Secret of the Nagas

Synopsis:

The hunt is on. The sinister Naga warrior has killed his friend Brahaspati and now stalks his wife Sati. Shiva, the Tibetan immigrant who is prophesied destroyer of evil, will not rest till he finds his demonic adversary. His vengeance and the path to evil will lead him to the door of the Nagas, the serpent people. Of that he is certain.

The evidence of the malevolent rise of evil is everywhere. A kingdom is dying as it is held to ransom for a miracle drug. A crown prince is murdered. The Vasudevs - Shiva's philosopher guides- betray his unquestioning faith as they take the aide of the dark side. Even the perfect empire, Mehula is riddled with a terrible secret of Maika, the city of births. Unknown to Shiva a master puppeteer is playing a grand game.

In a journey that will take him across the length and breadth of ancient India, Shiva searches for the truth in a land of deadly mysteries - only to find that nothing is what it seems.

Fierce battle will be fought. Surprising alliances will be forged. Unbelievable secrets will be revealed in this second book of the Shiva Trilogy, the sequel to, The Immortals of Mehula.

I started reading this book right after reading The Immortals of Mehula. The story is very much connected to the first book and it starts right from the point where it was left in the the first book. In 'The Immortals of Mehula' a lot of time is devoted to sketching the characters, depicting the places, setting the plots etc. There were many loose threads in the story and a lot of secrets. The Secret of the Nagas is more action packed in that regard, with things happening fast, secrets revealed, battles fought, it was a page turner right from the beginning till the end. The identity of the Naga queen and the Naga warrior was quite a revelation, but I could guess about the secret of the Nagas.

I don't want to delve deeper into the plot here as the blurb says a lot about how the story progresses in this book. I have read in many reviews that readers were disappointed with the language in the book.
It is simple and amateurish. I have no such qualms. I was looking for an easy, fast and action packed book. The book delivered on all areas for me. I am hoping all loose threads and unanswered questions will be addressed in the next part of the trilogy.

Eagerly waiting for the third book of the trilogy - The Oath of the Vayuputras.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Shiva Trilogy I - The Immortals of Mehula by Amish Tripathi


It has been over a month and a half since I read this book. The review has been long due. The problem in writing reviews after such a long gap is that I tend to forget the tiny details of the story. So, I have decided to make the task easy by quoting the synopsis at the back of the book followed by my views on the book.


Shiva Trilogy I - The Immortals of Mehula


Synopsis:



1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilization.


The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Mehula - a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Rama, one of the greatest monarch that ever lived.




This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They all face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracized and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills.

The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: When the evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge.

Is the rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva, really that hero? And does he want to be that hero at all? Drawn suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as love, will Shiva lead the Suryavanshi vengeance and destroy evil?

This is the first book in a trilogy of Shiva, the simple man whose karma re-cast him as our Mahadev, the God of Gods.



On my India visit in 2011, I had seen this book on almost every book store, be it in Airport or Railway Station or at Crosswords. But, at that time, I was not really drawn to the title or the cover page of the book. So, I didn't buy it. Later, I saw the review of the book on blogs I follow and everyone was all praises for the book. That's when I was intrigued and decided to read it. I bought the two books of the series during my India visit this year. Before I start to shower my praises for the book, let me tell you, I am not very familiar with the actual Shiva and Sati story. So, the fictional take was all new and fresh for me.



I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The plot is gripping and kept me intrigued and engaged. The story has several layers, after every few pages something new is happening and the beauty of the whole thing is that it is intricately connected and it builds up towards the bigger picture. The author has done a commendable job in weaving mythological facts with fiction and has created a fantastic story. Kudos to his imagination! But, there are few things that I believe does not entirely suits the era the story is set in. For example, our country was not called India at that time. Many a times Shiva is portrayed as the cool dude which doesn't fit into my image of a mythological character.



The book is just not a fictional take on Lord Shiva, but has an underlying philosophical message - One's deeds decides one's destiny. It is an easy and fast read. The writing is simple and easy to understand. It has a good balance of mythology, fiction, suspense, adventure, romance, virtues and principles. The ending is quite a cliff hanger and compels you to read the next book of the series- The Secret of Nagas.


I will recommend it to anyone least bit interested Indian mythology.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Siege of Mithila by Ashok K. Banker




 Siege of Mithila by Ashok K. Banker 

One genre of books that I have started enjoying a lot recently is, without a doubt 'Indian mythology' or 'mythological fiction'. The two great epics of the Indian history are Mahabharata and Ramayana. I have already read two Mahabharata centered book – Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik and Palace of Illusionsby Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, so my next choice of mythological book was Ramayana centered. One of my blogger friends suggested me to read the Ramayana series by Ashok K. Banker. That I did as I got the first book of the series from the local library here. I enjoyed the book thoroughly only to discover later that the library does not have any other books of this series and hence I had to wait for my India visit to get my hands on the rest of the series.

Synopsis:

The bestial demon hordes roar towards Ayodhya having swept all before them. Rama cannot return home to defend his family. He must journey to Mithila—a city lying directly in the path of destruction—to join a small band of heroes planning a valiant stand against the armies of darkness. Can Rama unearth a hidden dev-astra to help in his battle against his nemesis, the demon lord Ravana?

Of course, we all know that Rama will be able to defend the city of Mithila. That is the beauty of Banker’s writing, despite knowing (almost) what happens in Ramayana, the reader’s interest in the story doesn’t waver even for a moment.  The author’s has used his own imagination in sketching the characters and in describing the events that place during the course of the novel. The story builds on where it was left in ‘The Prince of Ayodhya’, so if you want to read this book, I would suggest you to read it as per the series.
For me that star character of this book was Sita, of course, apart from Rama and Lakshmana. She is introduced not as a delicate princess but, as a warrior princess who is well versed in the art of archery and swords play. The demon lord Ravana is depicted as pure devil whose only aim it to conquer Ayodhya. There is Manthara who to please Ravana plots one evil plan after another to poison the sisterly relationship between Queen Kausalya and Queen Sumitra. She even schemes to get rid of Rama. There is also the story of Ahalya and how Rama releases her from her husband’s curse. The story seems to pace slowly as by the end of the novel we only reach till the swayamvar of Sita. But, the novel is filled with numerous sub plots and stories that keep the novel interesting and enlightening. All the sub plots culminate toward the bigger picture and a momentous climax. 

Ashok K. Banker takes you on an amazing fascinating journey, from Ayodhya to Mithila. It is an enriching experience. You will feel drawn towards the world of Ramayana as you turn pages of this book, that is the magic of Banker’s writing. I am very looking forward to reading rest of the series.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Untruly Yours by Smita Shetty



Untruly Yours by Smita Shetty

"To some Natasha Iyer has it all - living the life of an affluent NRI, wife of a prominent psychologist and mother to a cheeky 11 years old. However, behind closed doors, cracks are beginning to appear in her seemingly comfortable relationship with her professionally consumed husband , Rakesh.

Although Rakesh seems content with his alpha neatness- fetish , melodramatic wife and bright son; Natasha yearns for romance, passion and excitement. Ironically, the psychologist husband fails to read between the lines and Natasha is left to her own devices to deal with her unresolved emotions.

An unexpected call from India takes her through a journey of self discovery with her devastatingly handsome work colleague, Steve. She uncovers in some aspects urban India has changed considerably but equally, deep rooted social issues still prevail in the so called modern, educated, changing society. A chance encounter with her blast from the past - Veer, adds to the emotional roller coaster ride. Her one-man - women status of many years has failed to equip her with vital tools to deal with the unanticipated surge of attention from Steve and Veer.

As she attempts to master the finer points of courtship, flirtation and seduction; her life spirals out of control. Natasha is compelled to make tough decisions about her love,friendship, marriage and parenthood."


Untruly Yours is the debut novel of the author - Smita Shetty. The story line is obvious from the blurb. In the 150 pages of this fast paced chic-lit novel, the author tells the story of Natasha who seems to feel that the spark in her relationship with her husband has vanished. She is restless and yearns for some excitement in her life. If you look a delve a little more deeply into the character of Natasha, you will discover that there is a bit of Natasha in most women. Sometimes, the zeal of life is lost in the daily mundane chores, one feels people takes you for granted and it brings a feeling of love-less-ness and loneliness. Many a times it is far from the truth and it is just a passing phase. The author has told the story of a woman passing through this phase of life and how she copes with it.

The strength of the novel are it's character - entirely believable and relatable. In particular the author's description of Natasha' s MIL as Godzilla of Godzilla as hilarious. The story is packed with a lot of drama and has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. I thoroughly enjoyed turning pages after pages, only that there weren't too many of them. I think the author could have done with another 50 pages towards the end. I felt the ending was quickly wrapped up. A special mention for the cover of the book, I loved it. It is chic and stylish and catches your attention. At least, it was so in my case.

If you are looking for a quick, light read go for this book for sure. I am sure most of my female friends will be able to relate to at least something in the novel.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange of an unbiased review.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!
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