Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Circle of Fate by Prita Warrier

It's never easy to accept life and it's surprises. Some come as a sigh of relief while the others bring the worst out of a person. Author Prita Warrier in her book "Circle of Fate" brings readers to a territory which explores the dimensions from all the sides and let them be the best judge. So how does she fare in the entire journey? Let's  find out. 

Devaki, an ageing widow, lives with her maid, Ambli, in a village in Kerala. Though she is haunted by nightmares from her past, she lives through the days in the belief that one day her only son, Naresh, now estranged, will return to her. One day she gets a call from her grand daughter, Sheela, who lives in the US, giving her news that Naresh and his wife Meena have been kiled in an auto accident. A story of women haunted by their past, struggling to make peace with their present and hoping to have a bearable future.

First look at the title and the cover and it completely intrigues the reader. It tends to put up a religious facade but behind that facade are many questions which still lie unanswered. The blurb talks about an aging widow and her tryst with cultural divide and other bitter truth of life. It's a precise summation which actually forces the reader to go through the book. 

The story is set in America and in the backwaters of Kerala. The glittering America, now a haunted dream for Sheela and Kerala, an old sleepy place for an old woman who lives and fights alone. But destiny brings her back to reality when she comes face to face with her grand-daughter and from there on it becomes tough to contain emotions. So how will Devaki be able to handle the young, lost girl? How will Sheela respond to the entire situation? What lies buried in the past? That's what the story is all about. 

It almost sounds mysterious, the novel builds up a certain eerie notion of what has happened and what is about to uncover. It spooks out the best and reserves the unknown for the last. It certainly turns around a lot of situations in its favor with it's hidden agenda. The cultural divide and grief adding to the persona of the story. The strong female head to head narration in the story gives the readers a different angle to look up in the story. There is certainly a taste of the old wine in a new bottle as the story easily traverses from the glint to the pale. 

The downside of the book is it's sluggish narration and a lot of time to build the characters. The introductions feel stretched. Containment and being a lot more precise could have been a better idea. The vividness gets lost in the tides of time as it doesn't sparks off extraordinary chain of events till the end. 

All in all the story doesn't fair bad under the conditions and hostile atmosphere. It certainly takes a huge chunk out of the great old debate of new v/s old and good v/s bad to keep the readers busy in the tussle. It's an age old drama which comes of age and hints at blind faith or modern day ignorance towards certain values. There are hiccups in the story. Be ready to put foot into the unknown territories and experience life with ladies at the forefront. 


3 OUT OF 5

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Curse of the Red Soil by Durgesh Shastri

Small towns have always been amidst attraction. They tend to generate impromptu interests and leads others to believe in the fact that there is really something there. Author Durgesh Shastri in his book "Curse of the Red Soil" lets loose a flurry of events and let readers be in the thick of things. So how does it pan out? Let's find out.  

History bears testimony to the fact that the jet black bidriware statues have mesmerized people from all around the world. Aaradhya, an engineering graduate, finds herself in the middle of a deadly mental storm when she realizes that a bidriware statue has turned into a nightmare for her and is giving her sleepless nights. She begins her quest to unravel the truth and undertakes a journey full of thrill, deceit and betrayal. 

Things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mission has turned suicidal and could ruin her future and destroy her family. The situations take her through a roller coaster ride through several monuments like the Bidar Fort, Jharni Narsimha, the Gurudwara and the Charminar area of Hyderabad to name a few. The answer to her questions lies in a secret hidden by her father a secret that can shatter several lives and curse those who commit crimes in the city of the red soil. Read curse of the red soil to experience a blend of suspense, thrill, love, history and mystery all at once.

First look at the title and the cover and it surely looks something out of the blues. The book cover resembles the front page of a newspaper, so much so making it look like a report. Even the title feels a more history laden book but that's not the case. The blurb talks about a young girl and her exploits in Bidar. Probably the blurb could have been kept more mysterious with some thought provoking lines and giving away less. 

The story is set in Bidar and revolves around Aaradhya Patil and the Patil legacy. Something from the past haunts her, but she cannot put her finger on to it. But the sudden interest and few turn of events have again come full circle to give her jitters and with the help of her friends she needs to expose the ugly truth. But the enemy is formidable and has a veil which works as a perfect cover up. So what will it take to uncover the truth? Who will come out as a winner and who will lose the game of wits? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is an outright thriller with offensive measures to take it forward. The story constantly remains on the onslaught and settles for very less of peace time. It turns around and comes back to hit the readers back. The story line has a mixture of action and thrill which lends a backbone to the book. The entire air of mystery gives wings to some anticipation in the story and leads readers to believe in the book. There are few close moments in the book which gives it a hair raising experience.

The downside of the story is it's repeated feeble attempts to make mystery look big. The story gets exposed and it doesn't turns it into a creepy mysterious thriller. The edge of the seat experience is found wanting in the initial run and it all seems too easy upfront. A few more surprises could have been thrown to let readers deviate off track and then bring them back to reality. It could have gone a little more harder on confrontations between characters. 

All in all the book generates a decent amount of interest and sails with caution. There is fair amount of turbulence and it lends the story to sway either ways. It doesn't comes out as a complete winner but gives the thriller genre a thing or two to rejoice about. A tighter leash on the story line could have made the outcome look more settled and hard hitting. But some brownie points as the set up gets the story moving in the right direction. A fair attempt but need to finish it off with the best shot. 


3 OUT OF 5

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review:The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles, #2)

When you look back in a series quite often the expectation barriers are sky high where it is never easy to spin a tale of that gregarious momentum. But then it's how an author shapes the story that gives the tale a lifeline to survive. Author Jeffrey Archer in his book "The Sins of the Father" puts on his thinking cap and spin a yarn of the finest story to pull back the readers and let them be in a pandemonium. So has he succeeded in his efforts? Let's find out.  

Only days before Britain declares war on Germany, Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of long-buried family secrets, and forced to accept that his desire to marry Emma Barrington will never be fulfilled, has joined the Merchant Navy.  But his ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German U-boat, drowning almost the entire crew.  An American cruise liner, the SS Kansas Star, rescues a handful of sailors, among them Harry and the third officer, an American named Tom Bradshaw.  When Bradshaw dies in the night, Harry seizes on the chance to escape his tangled past and assumes his identity.
But on landing in America, he quickly learns the mistake he has made, when he discovers what is awaiting Bradshaw in New York.  Without any way of proving his true identity, Harry Clifton is now chained to a past that could be far worse than the one he had hoped to escape.

First look at the title and the cover and the cover is like an old classic tale overlooking the expanses of the city. The title is quite suggestive. It could have been a more alluring one with only a hint of excitement. The blurb picks up from where the first book left off and carries on the story of Harry Clifton and the Barringtons. The blurb is concise and strikes some particulars in order to get the readers going for a long journey.   

The story is set off in New York & Bristol, where Harry has gone missing and a letter from Tom Bradshaw has come as a consolation for Emma & Maisie. But Emma is not ready to give up and she wants to find more about Harry's death. Meanwhile Giles is out there waging war against Germans but the family legacy is in tatters as Hugo and his spendthrift ways are causing enough troubles. So what is it going to be for Emma? Will Maisie resign to fate? What have Barringtons in store for themselves? That's what the story is all about. 

Continuing the tussle the author himself has set very little margin for error. While highlighting the biggest odds stacked against Cliftons & Barringtons, the story has slowly grown into confidence and spilled over to the unknown territories. There are markings of brute power, will, sacrifice,unconditional love and honor. But then there are also lies, deceit, cunning and naive judgement which ought to raise the bar by few notches. Not to forget that the story just crammers up the past and serves the right ingredients to devour in this hickory-dickory dock kind of a new chapter in the story. There is loads of drama and dollops of suspense in this masterful fiction with a taste of the bloody old second world war. 

The only possible downside of the story is that Maisie's role has been cut down to size when she could have played a sheet anchor role in keeping up the pressure. Her part has been resort to only guest appearances which looks a bit odd and completely awry when needed the most. 

All in all there have been no let downs since the time this journey of Barringtons & Cliftons has started. There is at one hand the bitter truth and on the other hand a handful of deep dark mysteries which ought to destroy the very existence of both the families. Either ways it's a win-win situation for the readers as they experience a tale of fiction which looks as real as a sitcom on T.V channel. There are no soft tales here but its a brutal deliverance with a calm demeanor. A wishful tale of love, innocence,deceit and power.


4 OUT OF 5

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Arjun:Without a Doubt by Dr. Shinde Sweety

Some epics have lived long enough to grown timeless and priceless in stature. Mahabharata & Ramayana are couple of them. Mahabharata talked about because of the nature of it's vivid jabs about life and turmoil which leads to chaos and talks about "dharma" and 'adharma" in person. Author Dr. Shinde Sweety in her book "Arjun:Without a Doubt" traverses a path less explored and gives readers to something to hold on to. So how does it feels to be on a road very less traveled? Let's find out. 

I knew there was nothing poetic about death. I knew not that the most horrific battles are fought off the battlefield. 
Arjun the idealist in a non-ideal world, the warrior whose deadliest opponent was his conscience. History forgot his voice, but misquoted his silence. My self esteem originates from me and ends in me. Why does your honor depend on me? Find your own. 
Draupadi the untamed tigress, the fragrant flame, the unbridled spirit. Power does not justify sin. Power is not virtue. Virtue is that which lasts in spite of power. 
Krishn the enigma whose unique ideology churned the battlefield into a quest for truth. The missile the trajectory the vision. The trio that makes for the core of the Mahabharata (Indian epic).

First look at the title and the cover and not much can be looked beyond the vivid colors of the cover. It's pale and dull and offers no bright scope. The title reveals a lot about what the book is going to be in a very short spell. The blurb talks about three people from Mahabharata and their point of views which are to be detailed in the story. It's a precise blurb which never shifts out of focus and nags the reader to go for the book. 

The story is set in the time of Mahabharata and tries to lend voice to Arjun, one of the timeless warriors of the epic. He is duly assisted by Draupadi and Krishna who lend voice to his concerns and try to unravel the facts and myths concerning the epic which have eluded many over the years. The story embarks on a journey which might change the entire landscape and the ongoing tussle of how to look up to Arjun after his glorified and mystified tales. 

The book has a subtle expression to it. The pain and sorrow is evident when the words are meted out from the narrators to the readers. It connects the missing dots which evidently or unknowingly have been washed away with the tides of time. The Krishna & Arjun chemistry and above it all the Arjun & Draupadi relationship sheds ample light on what happened back then and why it happened altogether? There are few surprises in the mix which catches readers off guard and staunch followers of the epic can relate to them with ease. It gives a different scenario to tackle with and lead to ultimate salvation and the talked about nature of the story. The book's language is an added plus to the story.  

The downside of the book is its familiar notions coming into play. Once the book settles down and tries to uncover the entire mystery behind the saga and small crucial elements, it tends to tread on the paths of well known events and occurrences which numerous people have gone through again and again. The melodramatic spike in the expectations too fizzle out by the end of it all as facts remains facts and Mahabharata remains Mahabharata. 

All in all if Arjun didn't had a source till now to showcase his prowess and plight, the book helps his cause. If Krishna's actions are to be justified concerning Arjun, then the book tries to say it all and if Draupadi played a part in Arjun's life then this is where you can find it with ease. But then it all doesn't change the history and no matter what the consequences or repercussions of their actions it all comes down to the fact that Mahabharata was victory of good over bad. The book is a source to enlighten and refresh the minds. It's not a sparking revelation but a fine tuned version of the epic. 


3 OUT OF 5

Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles, #1)

There are lot of epics certainly non-fiction. To put forth an idea of fiction blended with reality of life, harsh and cold is certainly something which has not been given a serious thought to. It adds to the life's dull moments and gives extra spice. Author Jeffrey Archer in his book "Only Time Will Tell" meticulously weaves a spider web of tales within a tale which can change the entire landscape of fiction writing. So how does he plans to capture the attention of the readers? Let's find out. 

The epic tale of Harry Clifton's life begins in 1920, with the chilling words, 'I was told that my father was killed in the war'. But it will be another twenty years before Harry discovers how his father really died, which will only lead him to question: who was his father?
Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who worked in Bristol docks, or the first born son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?
Only Time will Tell covers the years from 1920 to 1940, and includes a cast of memorable characters that The Times has compared to The Forsyte Saga. Volume one takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford, or join the navy and go to war with Hitler's Germany.
In Jeffrey Archer's masterful hands, the reader is taken on a journey that they won't want to end, and when you turn the last page of this unforgettable yarn, you will be faced with a dilemma that neither you, nor Harry Clifton could have anticipated.

First look at the title and the cover and there's no reason which can deter a reader from giving it a go. The magnificence of the 1920's is written all over the image and the title adds to that subtle element of mystery. The blurb talks about Harry Clifton and his journey across Bristol and all over England which will set tone for an unexpected and tormenting future. The blurb is a bit lengthy and could have been given a trim to make it more hard hitting. 

The story is of Barringtons & Cliftons, both the families coming from two different sections of the society. Barringtons are rich and Cliftons are poor, Barringtons command respect while Cliftons earn it the hard way. Barringtons have it their way whenever they want but for Cliftons it's a tough ask. So what is it in store for both the families when their younger ones will tread on a path filled with turmoil and happiness. Who will have the upper hand by the end of it all and who will turn into a pauper? That's what the story is all about. 

There is a certain sensation to the story and it tickles down like sweat from the brows. It slowly enjoys that shiver down the spine kind of a notion and sets parameters of how to handle the story. The book is a generic divide between the rich and the poor, luck and hard work,right and wrong and most importantly destiny and the destined. A choc a bloc story with the serene calm which rather ruthlessly rules the roost. The space given to the characters explored with command and the tone and tempo falling back and forth only airs the grievances of both the families. The surprises add to the misery of the reader and you need to hold on to the nerves as the more it seems simple the complicated it becomes with time. 

The only possible downside of the book is lack of depth to certain important events which are a passing affair. Probably a few words more and it could have given a lot more clarity to the story. A few events have been dragged way beyond their limits which could have been curbed easily. 

All in all it's a master saga like a dream come true. It works on the formula of "stay calm and it will happen soon". What is it, for whom and when are the questions to be answered and they are gradually in time. The story is a methodical dissertation of the best of fiction. The colors of life come alive and make it a reality as what starts is not easy to finish. You tend to ask for more by the end of it. It's a swansong written and experienced only once in a lifetime. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review:The Shivaputra Chronicles by Vikrant R Utekar

When we talk about mythology, there are facts known and unknown which can be talked about for as long as you can't even imagine of. There have been over the years a great deal of research upon variety of subject and authorities have been challenged and new notions have sprouted out of the ordinary. Author Vikrant R Utekar in his novella "The Shivaputra Chronicles" tries to give a fair bit of glimpse into the land of gods and evils. So has he been able to deliver the goods? Let's find out. 

Kaliyuga!The time when it is said God has given up on man!Or has He?For if not, Chandrashekhar Kashyap would not exist. Blessed by the Devas, him and his friends are the last line of defence between mythology and reality.Join Chandrashekhar, the Shivaputra, as he comes to terms with his own capability and fights the greatest evil ever to have risen against the world!

First look at the title and the cover and it looks absorbing with the all alluring concept of fantasy and mythology blend in one. The title itself gives a lot of leverage to the novella. The blurb is precise and talks about the aspects which the story is going to uncover. 

The story is of Chandrashekhar, who is blessed with some powers and he along with his friends are the ones who help God do justice on Earth and ward off the evil. But there is a twist in the fate when the arrival of a mysterious woman adds to his singleton status and he has some pressing issues to deal with. So will C.K be able to deliver the goods? What role the woman will play in his already twisted life? That's what the story is all about. 

The only promising aspect of the book is it covers a very small base of mythology. Other than that this novella has some severe limitations. 

The book lacks depth and folds up too soon. It's more like a hurried affair and without giving any deep roots to the mythology it goes into action and romance mode. The compatibility issues of the characters are visible and there are cracks in the story which need amends. No sparking chemistry is visible and everything happens in a hurry without any proper reasoning. 

All in all with an impact title and an apt idea the author has let the chance go waste to capitalize on a new horizon. It rather becomes a clumsy story which lacks direction and purpose. A more pressing issue is that it needs more meat to keep the story alive which should be sole focus in the future. A very shabby affair. 


2 OUT OF 5

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Cult of Chaos by Shweta Taneja

Expectations is the mother of all traits and success is the godfather of all. What happens when you get both the sets right with something which an audience is not ready to gulp down that easily? Author Shweta Taneja in her book "Cult of Chaos" has her own ideas to woo the readers and catch them napping while looking for exhilarating action. So what has in store for the readers and how does it pan out? Let's find out.  

The age of the Tantriks has dawned. They operate openly with their own council, police and judiciary. Of all their creeds, the Kaula Ashram’s white tantriks are the most powerful. The men of the ashram are powerful tantriks, and the women are intimate collaborators. Anantya has forsaken the Kaula path. She doesn’t see the need for official seals. She is more concerned with saving the world than with badges or honours. However, the world is heading straight to hell. Young girls are being sacrificed in a tantrik ritual in Delhi. Someone is summoning the God of Chaos. A daeva seeks to blackmail Anantya for some desperate cause, and a giant, three-headed Cobra shows up in Old Delhi. The Red tantriks are facing the White in conflict, and there is at least one Black tantrik who is messing with perilous shakti. Anantya is caught amidst the conflict, and to add to her problems, the supernatural netherworld comes alive with its ensemble of creatures.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader will feel the glaring eyes and its effects under your skin. The cult face of an angry devi does nothing to soothe the nerves. The title is far from a usual affair and it's the tagline that gives some hints as what to expect from the book. The blurb talks about Anantya Tantrist and her escapades in Delhi. This is where a reader gets taken in by the unfamiliar territory of the book. It's a charm of a blurb which hits the right chord and strikes meticulously. 

The story is set off in Delhi and surroundings, which has been taken in upon by a different society. A society with humans as well as daevas, asuras and more importantly Tantriks of different clans. The clans have their own set of followers but Anantya, a bright young Tantrist is taken in by the road to independence. But her glory lies in the help of humans and her own from where a new enemy has arisen. What awaits Anantya the Tantrist? Will this mystified world let her be herself or will it test her will and throw life off gear? What is rising in the dark and culminating into a threat? Who's on the side of good and who's bad? That's what the story is all about. 

Astonishing and bravado defines the book in a few words. But one needs more to read the book then you have to have an open mind to delve deep and hard into a fantasy world of tantrism and occult. An obscure yet an old and a strong belief, tantrism leaves very little to imagination but the book courtesy it's author changes the perception and takes it to new surreal heights. The story with it's mystery thriller elements cuts out a vivid picture never seen or heard of in modern day writing. It blends Delhi, humans with species only heard or in fact never talked about or only figments of fantasy of readers. The humor, the passion and the action of Anantya and her magical voodoo effect keeps the story on a high dose of adrenaline. Strong representation of characters and each part picked and played to perfection. It's a bit above the unthinkable and gives the pangs of reading a constant companion. 

The downside of the story is it's failure to capitalize on a solid start, a blinding momentum towards the end. A flimsy finish pretty much alike Bollywood leaves a lot to be desired. The book needed more methodical execution and a finish high on expectations and unseen imagination. 

All in all if you have to read the book, the mind needs to be ready to accept the absolutely unexpected. It'll throw a reader's mind off gear with it's charismatic story telling and an even effective story line. The book scores and relies heavily on ideas which might sound old and obsolete but that is where the boldness steps in and creates an aura of dominance and darkness. Everything is in equal measure and the scales of good v/s bad have been tipped to the hilt. It's not everyday you come across stories out of the blue and this is one wonder which can leave you gasping for breath. It's a deep dark temptation with it's own set of secrets ready to pounce and devour the eager minds. A book with winner tagged in its own rights.If spice is what you were missing in your life get the book and traverse one of the most treacherous and over exciting path of tantrism and dark magic. Let chaos descend on earth and rule your hearts. 


4 OUT OF 5