Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Immortal in Death by J.D Robb (In Death, #3)

Often in a crime thriller the basics fetch a lot of water in the jug. Even though it is half full it let the cops take the control and score the hits rather than the assailant. Author J.D Robb in his book "Immortal in Death" let traditions continue but circumstances shift a bit. The shift is cataclysmic though. So is the author again at the top of his game?

She was one of the most sought after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted—even another woman's man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas put her life on the line to take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the facade of glamour, Eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming obsession with youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City where drugs could be found to fulfill any desire—for a price..

Let's find out. First look at the title and the cover and fancy is stripped. The cover looks barred from any over enthusiastic ramifications. The title keeping up with the tradition is a typical In Death with a word exemplifying the book. The blurb is centered around Eve Dallas and her new run in with injustice and crime. A typical blurb sans any major highlights about the story. 

Eve Dallas has finally settled down into a role of a lover and a cop. She is about to be in the nuptial with Roarke yet her mind suffers from the past delusions. On the other hand life is at ease as a cop. But when a chance encounter with a mad model turns into a murder she is at it again like a lifeless zombie. But this time it is more personal as her friend is prime culprit. So for once will Eve be able to choose heart over mind? Will she get ample support for it? Will Mavis come out unscathed out of all this? What is the true story behind the series of murders? Let the story roll in death. 

Eve has changed a great deal since her last few encounters. She has a life and a man to look up to. She is socializing and for once she is not that strict ass cop. But then duty calls and she is back in her mold. As tough it gets for once in her life she has to stay calm and let the mystery talk to her. The crime scenes are not a talking spot, the crime a clean entity and the links too weak and time running out. She has to be couple of steps ahead in the entire fiasco. The story is demanding and it craves for attention and spares none. It cries out for each and every character and let all of them be involved in the gory mishap. The suspense piles up and the drama keeps getting better of each and everyone. It is a death dance. 

The story could have been toned down when it comes to involvement of few characters. Their importance undermined by their fleeting presence. Nothing gives the pleasure when it comes to keeping the readers off trail but at times the story gets boring. 

All in all it's a crime thriller with vendetta, but then it always is. There is little margin for error but then it can cost one too many. The makings of a classic thrill keeps the readers hooked till the very end. It's a chessboard with moves being countered time and again and readers being stumped and thrown off their game completely. The denser it becomes, the messier it gets. There is only one way out of it and Eve Dallas is the only bad ass one to get to the depth of it. An enthralling read. 


4 OUT OF 5 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Ghost Ship By Clive Cussler (NUMA Files, #12)

Naval life is a fantasy. It has a lot about it which goes unsaid. Ships, crew and other aspects which never get highlighted in a day to day life. Author Clive Cussler in his book "Ghost Ship" let readers be part of a voyage which is neither pleasant nor dreamy. So is he able to weave the charm? Let's find out. 

When Kurt Austin is injured attempting to rescue the passengers and crew from a sinking yacht, he wakes with fragmented and conflicted memories. Did he see an old friend and her children drown, or was the yacht abandoned when he came aboard? For reasons he cannot explain, Kurt doesn’t trust either version of his recollection. 
Determined to know the truth, he begins to search for answers, and soon finds himself descending into a shadowy world of state-sponsored cyber crime, and uncovering a pattern of vanishing scientists, suspicious accidents, and a web of human trafficking. With the help of Joe Zavala, he takes on the sinister organization at the heart of this web, facing off with them in locations ranging from Monaco to North Korea to the rugged coasts of Madagascar. But where he will ultimately end up even he could not begin to guess.

First look at the title and the cover and the sinking ship it proof itself that it is no less than an adventure. A story with lots to offer. Title it old classic yet offers nothing new out of the blues. The blurb talks about Kurt Austin and his latest endeavors and the after effects of it.  The blurb could have left out a lot of words which hint at what the story is going to be. 

Kurt Austin is under rehab. Not fit for duty. But when duty calls he responds but this time the game is bigger and messier. Her ex along with her family goes missing in the sea. Presumed dead or not, Austin never let the trail go cold. So how will things look up after digging up? What is going to unfold and what role NUMA will play up in the mess? Who will be more responsible and who will be reckless and off the game? What's going to haunt the hunters and the hunted? Let the story deal about it. 

Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala never rest. They are looking for opportunities to get the scruff by their necks and let it end once and for all. But this time something else seeks them and it's a lot more dangerous. The story never succumbing to theatrics let tricks and spread out action and drama be the driver. It has an unsettled approach, the only settling idea is the characters blending in and the motive of the entire fiasco being ably supported by mysterious people. There's a lot of heavy air surrounding the events which lead up to the hunt and scavenger lay waste to everything which they meet or touch. Sea is always a highly attributed aspect of the story and this time it doesn't disappoints either. In depth knowledge pertaining to naval explorations and wrecks and technicalities makes it a NUMA winner. 

The possible downside of the story is it's full representation of the antagonist. The character sketch far from impressive and at times a shadow moving backstage. More leverage was required to let the balance be even and keeping the scales equally tilted. 

All in all the book is a thorough sea adventure. The story is mystified, the actions petrifying, the results magnifying and the entire idea magnetized. It never fails to catch the rhythm as it switches from one event to another like a breeze. The story flows along on the high tides of action and low tides of drama. The truth and helplessness is an added score to the story. Hardly any weak links and the story let itself talk out of the grand mess. It's a voyage taken under great risk. But a thorough journey for the readers. 


4 OUT OF 5

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Hidden Husband by Shikha Khanduja Kaul

There are few relationships which offer a head to tail fairy tale experience. Some are cut short by society and some by own actions. So what it takes is a combined effort to let it float in the outrage of a storm called society and its people. Author Shikha Khanduja Kaul in her book "Hidden Husband" let the lovers speak for themselves rather than others being judge of it. So has she done it with flair? Let's find out.  

Aisha is trapped in her own secret which makes her life hell. Her love for Raghav is true. But hailing from two very different cultures is the basis of their continued friction. Aisha is a Punjabi girl from Gurgaon and Raghav a Bihari from Ranchi. Raghav's family will certainly not accept a girl from outside their community. And yet, he continues giving her false hopes through his efforts and promises. And then they take a step which entangles her life further. Will she manage to come out of this quandary or must she continue to live in her self-created web? Explore her journey that makes her realize the atrocities being committed on women in the Indian society and the tough decisions she must take, keeping her most loved ones oblivious to everything happening in her life. 

First look at the title and the cover and the humor of the title comes out with that suitcase and the girl holding it. The cover image indeed is thoughtful and reminiscent of the story. The blurb talks about a girl and her plush life turned haywire with some decisions leading her on and leaving behind scars. The blurb certainly keeps the content hidden and intent on showcase for the readers. 

The story is of Aisha who has a plush HR job in a company and is single yet marriageable. But when Raghav a boy from Bihar enters her life it all but takes a great fall. Her emotions keep flickering and love blossoms till the very end result. But things are not so cushy and from there on it's a tussle between Aisha and society and her family and relatives to keep the relationship alive. But what measures will she take to keep the love safe and sound between her and Raghav? Will it last long? What role will Raghav play to give her the comforts? Will it help both of them? That's what the story is all about. 

Love has not fixed face value. For some it can be a fairy tale, for some a sapping experience and for some it becomes the test of time. It makes people adventurous and ambitious. To stay put is no where close to being a primary idea. Being jumpy in love when it comes to commitment and futuristic goals is always a sheer delight as well as plight. The book pry opens the nuances of one such relationship where temper, commitment, values and attitudes are at stake. There is no love lost yet a lot of it is lost in transit from being lovers to permanent partners. The stiff resistance of Aisha is noteworthy. The fact that she wants to turn it around for herself selfishly is indeed a marvel. Existence and sustenance too find place in the story and let the relationship run its course like a roller coaster. 

The downside of the book is its failure to put Raghav in a brighter spot. His role turns into a background artist after the initial mushy encounter and from there on his visibility is gradually lost when required. Few events towards the end have obtained a hurried shape and look very unsettled. The rush to finish the job consumes the best of the story and let mediocre vivid ideas seep in the end. Sameer's character too finds no luck neither he appeals the story and reflects on the outcome substantially. 

All in all with the book offering helplessness which is more of a realistic story with every second girl or a boy it latches on to the approach perfectly. Love story sticks to the old ideas failing to offer any new perspective but the hiccups are rather an eye opener for every relationship to last long. A story with well defined and vivid ideas about love in our society and destructive and constructive attitude of people towards it. A chuckling yet serious affair. 


3 OUT OF 5 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Her Resurrection by Soumyadeep Koley

You kill them, you bully them, tease them, touch them, down trodden them yet they are there to live and live with head held high. They are women. No less than men and not afraid anymore. Yes, they suffer yet someone out there always has a story to tell. To tell the world and men it's not only about you it's about us, together and forever. Complimenting the nature's balance. Author Soumyadeep Koley in his book "Her Resurrection" let a scarred soul be at helm and drive the reins of her life in the direction of her choosing. So how her choices and others collide and materialize? Let's find out. 

What is it like to be an unwanted girl-child in India? What is it like to be sexually harassed at a tender age of five? After being tricked and forced into prostitution, can such a woman fight back to emancipate herself from the unyielding shackles of that life, and intermingle with the ‘society?’ Or would she get lost in the sands of time like the ephemeral existence of a sand dune beset by a sandstorm?

So begins Maya’s story in the picturesque countryside of Maharashtra, where she grows up amidst cruelty and domestic violence, being an unwanted girl-child. Yet, like a lonesome beacon beset by sinister wilderness, she pursues her dreams of reaching the stars with her tiny wings. One night, a twist of fate triggers a series of incidents, when she loses everything she had—even her virginity. 
Severely traumatized after her father’s death, her mother’s imprisonment, and her own gang-rape, Maya finds herself all alone in the streets of Mumbai, with wolves lurking around for raw flesh. She’s weary, but not wary. She has no sense of the fate that awaits her. What follows, would change her life forever, as also yours, as her heart wrenching, yet inspiring story echoes through time.

Inspired by true stories of survivors and real life events, ‘Her Resurrection’ bravely paints an appalling picture of the society. Heartbreaking, hopeful and immensely healing at the same time, this emotional rollercoaster through dreams, tragedy and triumph is a moving tribute to womankind. Are you ready to embark on a transformation journey with Maya?

First look at the title and the cover and a reader's heart goes out for the poor soul. It hits hard when tears streaming down those eyes mean a world to some. The blurb pretty long for a book cuts out the task by highlighting the cruelty and violence administered on girls and women. To put the point across author has used a girl's story to present the hidden facts behind slavery and butchery. 

The story is of Maya who at a very young age is being brutalized and traumatized beyond her imagination. The age of playing dolls left far behind owing to an abusive father and a recluse mother. But she has a will to fight back. Fight she does but fatality is on course to curse her yet again when she comes of age. So how Maya will survive the ordeal or whether she will survive it not? Where will she find solace and what will keep her awake in the horror of darkness? Who will be with her and who will crush her to death? That's what the story is all about. 

It's an eye opener. To shed light on the adversities being faced by women in a society. It's a fight against the butchers. It is a narration of apathy and plight of women who suffer the ordeal sullen and swollen. Battered minds and beaten souls lay the foundation of the brutal encounters of a girl transforming into a woman not on her own whims and fancies but on the tunes of some cruel men. The story is not a story but it's a crusade against the ruptured system and glaring eyes which become judgmental rather than lending support to the helpless. It's a spirited comeback along with multiple roadblocks which really define a woman in modern day dilemma and an age old phenomena. 

The only part which doesn't fits the story appropriately is it let goes other characters without giving them a chance to express themselves. Multiple voices form the firm foundation of a strong rebellion but it  gets lost in the transition of Maya. 

All in all their is no us, no we, no he it's only she who leads from the front. Outcome far from known yet resilience keeps her drift. Adrift she is but teachings and experiences brings her back to reality. A reality far distant from the nuances of fiction. It's not an imagination, it is a presentation of the lack of sense and morality among few who continue to devour and destroy the very existence of women in the society. It's a trance to be in when her cries and smile are at stake. Be with her and get enthralled. 


4 OUT OF 5

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Scion of Ikshvaku By Amish Tripathi (Ram Chandra Series, #1)

There are few stories from the past which have been retold in so many different ways that people even in the deepest darkest corners understand about their existence. Ramayana and Mahabharata are among the very few. Their purpose is to keep alive the sanctity of these people of past and pass it on from one generation to another. Passing on the virtues and path of righteousness and learning of the wise. Author Amish Tripathi in his book "Scion of Ikshvaku" has taken fond of Ramayana and let it be remolded into a passionate affair for the readers. So what does he brings to the table? Let's find out. 

Ram Rajya. The Perfect Land. But perfection has a price. He paid that price.
Ayodhya is weakened by divisions. A terrible war has taken its toll. The damage runs deep. The demon King of Lanka, Raavan, does not impose his rule on the defeated. He, instead, imposes his trade. Money is sucked out of the empire. The Sapt Sindhu people descend into poverty, despondency and corruption. They cry for a leader to lead them out of the morass. Little do they appreciate that the leader is among them. One whom they know. A tortured and ostracised prince. A prince they tried to break. A prince called Ram.
He loves his country, even when his countrymen torment him. He stands alone for the law. His band of brothers, his Sita, and he, against the darkness of chaos.
Will Ram rise above the taint that others heap on him? Will his love for Sita sustain him through his struggle? Will he defeat the demon Lord Raavan who destroyed his childhood? Will he fulfill the destiny of the Vishnu?
Begin an epic journey with Amish's latest- the Ram Chandra Series.

First look at the title and the cover and it looks provoked and anguish. A tout frame, a vimana in the air and forests set up the peculiar image of Ram. The title provides the melody. The blurb narrates the incidents of the past where Ram Rajya was famous in Ayodhya and Sapta Sindhu was powerful. It was ruled by humans and demons. So what changed the course of time is what the blurb is trying to suggest to the readers. 

Ayodhya has been ruled by a wise king. But his wisdom abandons him and he finds himself weakened by demon king Raavan over time. His family wants a heir and soon he finds himself father of four. It's up to Guru Vashishtha to train the young kids into able leaders and ruthless warriors. But among them hides a righteous person. Ram is different from the others and his destiny is marred by birth. So what will it take to change the outlook towards him? How life surrounding him evolve? How will he resurrect himself from the pains of taunts? Will Ram ever be able to prove his worth to his belligerent father? Only the course of time will tell. 

Ramayana along with Mahabharata left some important learnings of life. A person leans on to Ramayana for peace and the correct course of leading life. For the laws of that time are imbibed and reciprocated and passed on from one generation to another. From the hands of wrong till the womb of right it's a journey of peril, pain, anguish and patience. It's a survival guide against adversaries hidden in plain veil or unknown distant enemies. The story is about control on oneself and treatment met out at the hands of commoners and lords. The book revolves around reviving the epic into a fresh lease of literature. Care has been taken to let each and every word speak for itself and let characters stroll around with freedom. Liberal as well as strict in nature it justifies the very existence of Ramayana. Narration is vivid and surreal and is not lost on a reader. 

The downside of the book is its failure to let everybody off the hook. The end looks pale and seems to be hurried upon. A calm demeanor misplaced by the mishaps of story and suddenly giving it a whirlwind approach. The author in the flow has covered a bit too much for the liking and literally covering Ramayana's important incidents like all in one book. For the series to be alive more voice should be lent to people other than Ram. Their existence justifying their essence which is found missing in this part. Retelling the known till the end with very little new is another drawback of the story.

All in all Ramayana has been revived with a mission on hand. It's to connect people to the core of the story, substantiating it's presence and giving fair privilege to all characters. The book marches on the known territories gleefully and yet finds itself wanting in certain areas of fresh lease. There is a certain tempo maintained and that itself gives the book a very settled outlook. The end looks unsettled but there's still scope for amends. The story has been revived, the epic being retold and with bated breath readers await the future parts to see what unfolds. It's a warm start with a cautious approach. The connection is made, only sustenance is the big question in the future. 


3 OUT OF 5

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: Mistress of Honor by Bhaavna Arora

When life is at stake, there is not much one can ask for. Life of a soldier is put to test every now and then. Their jobs beyond plausible descriptions. What they do is for the country and for the others. Author Bhaavna Arora in her book "Mistress of Honor" let a soldier define a path which will lead to ultimate salvation. What path is it? That's what the readers uncover. 

When Potnis a captain in the Indian Army meets Pansy during the Operation Blue Star he knows he has found the love of his life. Their passionate romance leads them to the altar and blossoms into a beautiful child, Rihana. History repeats itself when Advik, a wayward boy from a broken family, catapults into Rihanas heart, as smoothly as he conquers the skies as an Air Force pilot. What follows is a night of unabashed love, transporting the couple to heavenly bliss. Where will their unbridled love lead them? Will Rihanna remain a mistress to Advik, for whom the love for his country comes first or will she be able to make a place in his heart that is second to none? This heartbreaking saga of love, courage and sacrifice will leave you asking for more.

First look at the title and the cover and the title will catch the eye more than the cover. Cover looks pale when it comes to a very elaborate and threatened title. The blurb talks about two people and how their lives entwine on a roller coaster journey. Let the story do the talking. The blurb talking a bit more than required for the story to leave an impact. 

Potnis is a soldier. A man of duty and action. Pansy a self made woman out to seek peace and justice. But when fate let the two meet, it becomes the story of a lifetime. Together with different ideologies and altogether different attitude towards life, love blossoms and it gives birth to an unusual relationship. Duty, honor and respect it all matters for Potnis and years later it's up to Rihana now to take up the mantle and lead the family name into the deep seas of respect. So will Rihana be able to replicate the love of her family in her own life? How will cupid strike her and will it be enough to woo her? How life will pan out for Potnis and Pansy? That's what the story is all about. 

The story is a solid tribute to a man in uniform. From the day of oath to protect the nation and from playing different roles like a son, a father, a lover, a husband and a true patriot it all counts and matters. The story finds space for it all. The sacrifices suggest a life carved out from the path of thorns. The understanding and respect coming out naturally. Seeking what they believe in is another motto of the story. Calm, calculated and ruthlessness combined together let them lead their lives by example. Giving up comforts and living in the grasp of danger is all what the story tells about through different characters and real life incidents. 

The book fails to replicate the magic of patriotism when it comes to love. It goes through vivid emotions yet stutters and stumbles to enhance the beauty and purity of love. It's more courageous and bold than soft and mellowed. Love is lost in the quotients of reality and even characters living it look out of sorts. More was needed to let love be the talking point but the book banks on other solid characteristics. Rihana could have played a more definitive role with her alliances and allegiances looking dull. 

All in all the book in it's heroic form assumes a more sterner facet. From being on the battlefront or being marred by personal discomforts the story narrates all. It holds on to the little truths of life and let the actions speak for themselves. The words complementing the process. It's a complete tale of valor and glory. Love is a scarce entity and needed more soul. A thorough journey of a soldier, a man and a lover. 


3 OUT OF 5