Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review: Let the Game Begin by Sandeep Sharma

There are times when you feel like going back into time to put together the pieces of puzzle. Curiosity is the mother of all virtues. The knack to devour the knowledge is the best action forward. Author Sandeep Sharma in his ripe age has learned to touch the right chords and now with his new book "Let the Game Begin" he wants to tinker with the minds of the readers. Is he successful in it? Let the book unravel itself. 

Two kingdoms, Chaturanga and Sarprakt, separated by a mystic mountain range are at war with each other since ages. Chaturanga, ruled by King Viratha, is soon bestowed with a dynamic heir, and the whole kingdom is drowned in rituals and festivity. On the other side, Sarprakt is executing a cruel conspiracy. King Viratha, crippled by the conspiracy, urges the mysterious man of the mountain to devise a method to recreate the conspiracy and that gave birth to 'The Game of Chess'. Serial killings shock the nation as the police are rendered clueless. The killer leaves behind a trail of chess pieces with a strange message. Random people are murdered. Connoisseurs of different fields - History, Chess and the Security forces - have united as the next intended victim is the most powerful person of the country. How is Chess involved in the whole scenario? How will they find a man who died 4000 years ago? Can a person defy the laws of nature? Does history really repeat itself? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Interesting title, lifeless cover and a history laden blurb. Few things right, few things wrong. The book starts on a mixed note. The blurb has a major say when it tries to catch the attention of the reader. A lot depends on the story line and the blurb gives a crisp outline of what to expect in this book. The lesser green pasture is the book cover which is dull and pale in comparison of  what it has to offer. 

The story is set in the past and the present. The past governed by two kingdoms and their animosity and the present which relies on the past. Combine both and the outcome is an explosive atom. The past sins have followed the people in the present and there is no way there is mercy involved this time. Mysterious deaths, experienced people, national security and an unsolved riddle awaits the eager minds of today. Will there be an end to it? Will there be a definitive conclusion to the folk lore? Let the game begin. 

The attractive part of the book. History!! A major turn on for the voracious readers. The concept is right, the idea vivid, the execution part on target and part off sets the book in two different directions. A commendable attempt to alternate between two worlds in which one exists and one is a superficial creation from what's left of it. The book certainly has some major goals set, and it tries to achieve all in one go. The characters are interesting. More so from the past. The story holds true in certain areas when it concerns the past. The ancient historical scenes are deep, scathing and holds major promise. 

Where the book loses out. The steam in the present is awry. The depth is lost. The clumsiness of too many characters adds to the slide of the story. The book tries to match up the might of the past but in vain. Present is filmy, less spicy and more on the sour taste. It leaves a lot to be desired. The major gaping hole in the book is a solid backdrop for both the present and the past. Elaborate scenes are the need of the hour and the book has to be given more substance when it comes to characters past. 

All in all the book is a decent attempt at breaking the barriers of the modern confines. The more it goes dark, the more it catches eyeballs. The concept has to be utilized better in order to achieve greater results if the momentum has to be sustained. The historical era oozes pomp and show but needs more in order to complete the book on all fronts. Vengeance is the vendetta which keeps the flow adept to the needs. But more work is required to give it a befitting end. It needs more in terms of clarity but the pace has been set which should be a spillover in the coming part too. Cautious approach yet far from the desired results. 


2 OUT OF 5

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Review: After the Crash by Michael Bussi

Detective fiction is glorified by the likes of Sir Doyle, Madame Agatha Christie and readers tend to lose the connect often in the modern day fiction. The theatrics involved in the modern detective fiction tends to lose charm at times rather the subject becomes shallow after a point of time. The pull is not all stories muster nowadays. Author Michael Bussi in his first translated work "After the Crash" has tried to break the shackles and let the readers take control the direction of his book and the story. How far, thus is he successful in assembling the biggest jigsaw puzzle of all times? That's the readers need to find out. 

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl's hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything - then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone.

There is not much to delve hard and deep in the cover. The title speaks itself. The interesting part which can lure a reader is the blurb where the crux of the story lies. The innocent philosophy works charms to pull the reader into reading the book. 

The story is set on the France-Swiss border where a plan crashes. No one survives except one. A 3 month old child. But what looks a case of miracle turns out to be the talk of the town as two families come forward to claim the child. Whose child is it? Vitral's or De Carville? One question but no answer. Will the mystery be solved? In the age of science and technology what will set the case apart? Grand-Duc, what role will he play and 18 years later will he finally solve the mystery? Truth be told. 

Strange is the book, stranger the story and strangest are the characters. It is a combination of probabilities, delusional chase, guts & glory and above all faith & determination of mankind. The pursuit of happiness is not a short one in this case. The more you probe, the more it rebels. The story is dark, demented, tormented by aspects which can squeeze the best of the brains. It is not a gallop. A slow poison which can indulge the reader, take them for the spin and drop them back to square one. The lesser is applied, the more complex it is. It is an art form and trickery with skilled illusions. The book is not the aftermath of a crash, it is the aftermath of maths, science and fiction. 

Negatives!! Good question but found none. 

Overall impact the book is beyond comprehension. There is so much to it that it will take sometime to grasp the nature of it. There are aspects to be explored, leads to follow, subtle hints, mysterious, brutal, quiet at times yet marveled by the brains behind it. There's dollop of charm with the divide between the society portrayed and pursued with a definite direction. The characters, the story and the sadness of the situation are the winners in the entire drama. But who's the ultimate beneficiary. The reader and their thirst to devour the best. 


5 OUT OF 5

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: Forget Me Not, Stranger by Novoneel Chakraborty

The final part was always crucial. The crux was to deliver what has been a constant phenomenon till now. Inner cores have screamed loud to let the hair down and finally establish what has been elusive for the longest time. Author Novoneel Chakraborty in his final part "Forget Me Not, Stranger" closes down the door on what can make and break the entire journey. So has the ends been tied up cleanly? Are all the questions answered? Let the book answer and settle all the replies. 

"I'm Rivanah Bannerjee, 23/F/Mumbai. Some of you might already know how my life is on a razor edge. Those of you who don't, just know this: I may be killed soon . . . by the Stranger. I don't know who or what he is: a ghost, a person or a figment of my imagination? All I know is he isn't just one thing: he is sexy and scary, terrific and terrifying. What I don't understand is why a young, harmless girl like me, who works in a big city, stays away from her parents and has a screwed-up love life, would be of any interest to him. Unless there is something about my own story that I do not know In the hotly anticipated final installment of the Stranger trilogy, Rivanah will learn the answers to her many questions. What is it that binds her to the dead Hiya? Who is the Stranger? Why has he been following her all this while leading to an intense, breathtaking climax.

The trilogy has already seen two parts. The cover is bland for the tastes and the way story has been belted out in the first two parts, the cover is a huge let down. The title carries the good old tradition from the previous installments rendering mystical and a dead end approach. The blurb carries the same old question. But the question has become larger than life and Rivanah dreads and fears about her life. The eerie intonation to the story continues to haunt and lure the readers. 

The story picks up from where it was left off in the second installment. Rivanah still pursues the stranger, there are questions to be answered, her past is a mystery, present is a mess and an uncertain future looms large. Fear is her best companion. As she oscillates between her past and present will there be an end to this never ending mystery? Who's the stranger? Why is he part of her life? The final part will answer it all. 

Consider this. Rivanah the soul of the story is struggling, And her struggles are far from over. What pleasure can you derive out of her misery? The only sadist pleasure a reader gains out the story is satiated answers to a lot of questions. The noose and the grip tightens around with every page as every word, every line adds to the irresistible yet insomniac amount of detailing involved in the story. There are places where a reader can feel Sherlock but the story always has a bit more to throw you off the radar. It is deep, dark, meaningful, engulfing and twisted at a balanced scale. Patience of a reader is tested throughout yet the journey is a slow death with a tinge of holy grail which is the key to the stranger and Rivanah's misery. The book can change the perception and challenge the inner sanctum of your existence. It is an unbelievable yet believing mystery. 

There are couple of parts which look little clumsy and scatter the immense attention in between the readings. Apart from that a naked eye is good for nothing to pick and point loop holes. 

All in all a befitting end to the trilogy. Expectations were at an all time high and the output is picture perfect. Perhaps there are too many knots to untie and too many scars to be healed. But the story holds true and has retained the essence right from its inception. The bar of the anticipation a lot of notches higher with a justified imprint on the minds forever. It is telltale which will be considered a perfect representation of a thriller. A ride into nothingness yet an urge and a wish to find out what lies in the end. Surreal and a rousing fantasy worth all the wait. 


4 OUT OF 5  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith ( Cormoran Strike, #3)

There are great amount of subjects which have a chosen set of fetish and dark delirium. The grasp of such discussions is always a bit without air. Silent whispers are the only ally when it comes to discussing the dreaded and the obnoxious. Robert Galbraith in her third venture "Career of Evil" has tried her hands on exploring the dark alleys hidden in plain view and what's there and more to be seen is a paradoxical twisted discovery. So how successful Galbraith is putting the two and two together? Let's find out. 

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them... A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, Career of Evil is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives. You will not be able to put this book down.

You can hate and love Harry Potter but you cannot Robert Galbraith. The alter ego has undergone a sea of changes since its inception. From Cuckoo's calling to Career of Evil there have been giant leaps towards a much darker intonation and Galbraith seems to be mastering the art with every new piece of fiction. The blurb is pitch dark gory and not a very pleasant sight for the readers. But it has to be explored and it is there to be discovered. A discovery to a new world. Cover, title and the blurb are a combination of gothic thinking and rough deliverance. 

The story is set off in Cormoran Strike's office where his secretary discovers a piece of leg in a cargo. Alarm bells are set ringing immediately as Cormoran suspects somebody from his past to be the doer of it. But the task ain't easy. With a missing body, a messed up past, a scared yet defiant secretary Cormoran has to run lengths and breadths to discover this one. Will the beginner's luck abandon him? How will the lives of both Robin and Cormoran be entwined in this doldrum? Is there a way out from where they seek and look? Is past just a myth or present just a farce? Let Cormoran and Robin be at it's neck to solve the mystery behind the leg. 

First things first. It is a gory fetish which will allure the readers to go through the book. It is the not so charming personality of Cormoran that will lead you to believe in the book. It his learned secretary Robin who will set the pace of the book and it is who shall not be named that will change the course and complexion of the story. It is so dark even darkness will have a new synonym. Kudos to the author to think out of the box for the subject. It is a narrative with a lot of hiccups but the hiccups are well placed and well controlled to let the book be within limits and not become an exaggeration. There are very methodical and surgical traces in the story which sets it apart from the conventions of a thriller. It acts on its own and reacts violently when the core is shook, But the growth of the story is very demented and demands some serious concentration. Power lies in the words weaved to make it a story. There is a deceptive charm to the antagonist and a clumsy Cormoran complements the suit perfectly. 

The book has a severe problem. It ain't sharp when it comes to juggling between past and present; professional and personal. There is a conflict of emotions on both the fronts which overpowers the characters and lets the steam off. The predictability factor is a touch too high as the book loses the zip and momentum by its second half. There are long narratives which don't make sense at all with context to the story. The limited use of area of action is another setback to the story. 

Overall, the book is a decent balance but fails to live up to the hype. It has a rigid core but mushy outer half. Penetration with the story is there but letting a lot off the hook is a turn off. The book screams a lot of emotions and sentiments which is its strong suit and leaves a lot to wonder about the subject it covers. The highs and lows keep swinging into each others territories and knocking out few crucial elements out of the way. The wonder and despair is there but the outcome not withering. It had a lot to claim but just left a gap wide enough to let the anomalies seek in and weather off a brilliant story.  


3 OUT OF 5