Friday, May 24, 2013


Book:              Asura: Tale of the Vanquished
Author:           Anand Neelakantan
Genre:             Fiction/mythology

Publication:    Leadstart publishing
Pages:              500

X-FACTOR:   Know ‘Asuras’ from their point of view.

My Rating:      4 out of 5

He is an intellect, brave, strong and a great dancer. This story tells you the views of ‘Ravana’. And the author has twisted the original Ramayana to some extent, in order to present the perspective of ‘Asuras’. So, if you are a hardcore fan of Rama, then you may not like it very much. However, as a story, writer does justice with its characters.
Yet another story starts in flashback. It seems that today’s writers like starting stories in flashback. So, the first scene is that ‘Ravana’ is dying, result of the courtesy shown by Rama, and he thinks about his life and past. The story revolves around ‘Ravana’ and how he collects all the tribes of Asuras and makes Lanka. Gods are conquering race and they are affected by cast-culture, gender biases and are arrogance; whereas, Asuras believe in equality and liberalization.
The Rama is unkind and he is not a believer of giving a fair chance to everybody. He is someone who could not stand with his own wife and someone who kills warriors from behind. All these may sound anti-Rama but eventually all of these are truth. We know him as one who is bound to his duty and responsibilities towards people but as all of us know that victorious has always tampered with history. The whole story is almost like Ramayana but the protagonist and antagonist have been swapped.
The story is however, slow when it comes to battles and guerilla fights. It could have been edited well but unfortunately it remains less attractive. The charisma of Ravana has been reduced and many facts have been twisted. Sadness prevails in the story after the first half and people may get misguided by few of the negative views in it.    
Despite of all the facts, the story is interesting and pleasant. I urge people, not to take it as anti-Brahmin, anti-Hinduism or anti-Ramayana. It is a ‘story’ which has been wonderfully written.
The story is very easy to read. Though, not completely dictionary free but the writer utilized good words and phrases throughout the tale. As Ramayana has been written and re-written, may be trillion times, hence people tend to compare the language.
The writer has tried his best to keep up the speed in his writing, which he does in most of the chapters, but some of the chapters are really slow and it takes an extra effort to cross them. He has done a very good effort to curse the caste-system in India, but I think, it could have been more impactful. I honestly wish that editor of this book could have worked harder to make it relentless, when it comes to criticizing a system.
The only thing which I can say after reading ‘Asura’ and analyzing the writing potential of the writer is that, I am definitely going to read his next.
We may talk about how negative it is and how the facts of ‘Ramayana’ have been twisted to support the protagonist but the fact is that it’s a good read. Be rational and broad-minded. We should think about it as a story, not as a history book.
A common boy who fights his way out to become a king, he is courageous, bright, visionary, silly, arrogant and at times selfish. He makes many decisions in his life, few of them are correct and few of them go wrong. His fiasco is not Ravana’s failure but a common man’s. A common man who dares to compete with privileged ones.
I am not sure about Rama but I think we all have a ‘Ravana’ inside us. This book may give a wrong message to faint believers but for most of us, it is a must read and refreshing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shiva and Mahadev are different ??

Book:           Oath of vayuputras
Author:        Amish Tripathi
Genre:         Mythology/fiction
Publication: Westland
Pages:         565
X-FACTOR:   Mythology with a twist.
My Rating:   3.6 out of 5
The immortals of Meluha, The Secrets of the Nagas and now the third (last) part of a well-received tale of Shiva, known as Oath of Vayuputras, Amish is having a dream run of his life (perhaps of all 7 lives). After getting criticized about the sloppy story and editing, Amish have tried to rectify all the flaws and I am sure that the editor must have worked very hard on it as well.
If you have not read the first two parts of this book then I will strongly recommend you to read it first, otherwise, this novel will be more like a History Book. Shiva- the protagonist starts in this novel as a hero of all. He discovers that Somras has to be destroyed eventually and seeks help from other allies and kingdoms. He leads the attack against the fiercest enemy and meets with many foes and friends in the course of doing it.
The plot of the story has been started from exactly where it was left in the last novel. The endless secrets which had been introduced in previous two parts like what is evil, why is it and how it can be stopped, have been answered and answered very briefly. When compared to last edition, this one has better language and crisp style. The secrets and twists are well directed and interesting. It binds the reader to the book and compels to forget about meals, tea and Facebook for a while. The author twists the actual mythology for his story and modifies the characters for the sake of making it more interesting, which overall is good. Usually in the books having more than 500 pages, some sub-stories run along with the main plot, but this novel has only one and good plot.
On the other hand, too much of explanation and experiments with the characters may not suit most of the readers. The secrets have been revealed very early in the story which reduces the interest. Hardcore followers of Indian mythology may get disappointed and unhappy about the experiments done with some actual characters of Indian mythology (like Mahadev and Shiva are two different people in the novel). At some places the book reads as a History book more than a novel. The climax of the stories is bad (it is a strong word, I know). It seems that it had been written particularly for the movie which is based upon this (by Karan Johar and perhaps starred by Hritik).
Overall, it is a nice read with good mixture of Science, Fiction, Mythology and History. The story is smooth and well written. The language is not completely grammar-free but still easy to read.
A very crisp and yet descriptive writing has become Amish’s trademark. It has a touch of history and science. There are not many hiccups in the story. The author keeps the same style which he opted in last two novels, which is simple and beautiful.
There are few setbacks and flaws in the story and writing, like, the reference of Bhagwat Geeta has been taken but the backdrop of the story is pre-Krishna. When compared to the last two novels and the first half of this novel, the ending has been hurriedly written. It looks as if something missing or incomplete. But the overall writing remains new and distinctive.
After reading first two parts of the story, the expectations with this one was huge. People rushed to the bookstores to purchase this one as soon as they came to know about the release. Unfortunately, like several other sequels, this one as well, is not able to satisfy the hopes and crashes in no men’s land. Neither good nor bad is something which comes in my mind. However, apart from miserable ending, the novel can be used as an answer book for first two novels in this series and there are instances where a reader can enjoy and cherish the writing. Though, as Shiva could not cross the line and become god, likewise, Amish remains a good writer and misses the exceptionally good writer’s spot.
I will recommend this novel to all who have read the first two parts and all who want to read something unconventional and want to know more about the history and Mythology (beware of hypothetical incidents and characters though).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bricks of Corruption

Book:              Corruption in Construction
Author:           JK Hirani
Genre:             Fiction/Humorous 
Publication:     Leadstartpublishing/frog books
Pages:             198
X-FACTOR:       Fresh writing style 
My Rating:       3.5 out of 5

THE STORY: It's like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story. So, it is an allegory here more than a story. This story is about a bunch of friends who are engineers (also). I don’t know how many engineers we have in Indian fiction. I guess too many to count. But as I say, every story has something different. This story is short, crisp and fast. Nice incidents, embraced by emotions like love, care, friendship and mischief. Story gives almost equal treatment to all of its characters. The protagonist, Aryan leads the story through different incidents and shows how important it is to talk with your own conscience at times. Aryan represents today’s young generation who is full of zeal, energy and positivity. Despite of all-corruption status of our nation, they dare to see dreams of a developed and bright India. Half of the book reads more like a memoir than a story, but in later half, it takes the shape of a good tale. It also tells many things about the corruption in construction sites and gives an idea about the reasons of delays in government projects.
There are no lapses as such but a few places where the story becomes slow and stretched. I think leaning about furnaces and other engineering stuffs can test the patience of a common reader. In the story, engineers are beaten by contractor’s men but everything settles down without any retaliation. There are instances where the tricks used by the protagonist is unrealistic like while trying to remove truck from traffic, convincing boss for leaves and some other places. The climax is most dramatic, though it does not happen in real life but still people will enjoy it, as an allegory.
Overall, it is nice story. Flirting and rusty language usage at some places makes it a fun read before it gets down to its real business at the end.

THE WRITING: I must say that it is very well written. The language is easy and dictionary free, it has the pace required and most importantly apart from a very few places it compels reader to hold the book right in front of his nose. The writer describes the incidents quite nicely and in an easy-going manner. Every page shows lots of potential and talent.
After reading the whole story, it is brutal to mention about the lapses but reviewers are cruel people. I don’t know whether there is any side lower and side upper birth in 1st class AC (correct me if there are), this is in context of the episode where Rehaan meets with Deepa. At a point the protagonist shows 1000 rupee note to a truck driver and he runs after him leaving his loaded truck (also, the color of 1000 rupee note is written green but actually it is red). The names like Rehaan and Rehanaa, Aryan and Alya give feeling of brother and sister more than lovers (that’s more what I feel than a lapse). But again, these minor mistakes have no impact over the story and the writing remains brilliant.

THE CONCLUSION: I am not sure whether this story can be placed under humor because there are not many paragraphs which can induce smile. But it is a brilliantly written story. It gives some moral messages which are most needed by today’s youth. Moreover, this book expresses the helplessness of an honest employee in big construction companies. All becomes well at last but it shows that in reality, how difficult is for one to adjust in such situations. It is a nice and less time taking story and would say it will attract the readers who like to read the novels which are fast, less complicated and with a happy ending.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chapters, Cheats and Changes

Book :           Chameleons
Author:         Sanket Ghag
Genre :          Fiction/Romance/Drama
Publication: Leadstartpublishing/ Frog books
Pages :           208
X-FACTOR:  Inside story of an interior designer  
My rating:     4 out of 5  

THE STORY: A review is easy to write, as easy as your daily journal, but writing right review is a daunting task. This story is based upon the struggles of a boy, Sunny, who is living with her ever teasing mother, a restless father, a sweet sister-in-law (who does nothing but serves meals, tea etc. basically) and a generous brother. The question is that why on the earth a common man, who is already rough-casting so much of setbacks and distress in life, would like to read another struggle story? The answer is because it gives many lessons to all, like ‘the thing which you love the most may not worth it at all’.
Chameleon has a tight, crispy and short story to tell but it is not at all fast-track. Sunny is an interior decorator and the whole story sails on the tides of his emotions and banks upon the incidents and accidents occurred with him. Prohibiting myself to go into the deep, I would add hints about the plot. It has good explanations about the places and the crook ways contractors earn money. The writer has used ‘Hindi’ to express the feeling at some spots; most of them have come well. The love scenes are realistic and triggers Goosebumps. As every coin has two sides, this story has some weaker aspects as well. Characters appear and disappear on their will (like genie). The flashbacks are used so much that often a person wonders whether a page or two are missing from the book. Hindi has been used more than required. Nevertheless, every writer has his own style and having said that, I would say that a very descent piece of work and it has a very fascinating climax which justifies the name of the novel.

THE WRITING: ‘Words creates wonders’. It is a nicely written book and if you are a regular reader of novels, you would be impressed by the choice of words and way of explanations on more than one occasion (That definitely does not mean on 2 occasions). I would happily place this novel in ‘no dictionary required’ category. Easy but still such a compiling writing is more like an eye opener for the people who think that using ‘dictionary English’ lifts the excellence of their writing.
On the other hand, at some places Hindi has been just translated into English which hampers the rather crispy language of the story like ‘Had she laughed, the world would have laughed with her and had she cried….’
One important thing (which I think is significant to tell), writer starts a flashback and remains in it for couple of chapters and all of a sudden comes back in present which obscures the reader. I think (personally) flashbacks must end in the same chapter. At an incident, Sunny tells that he had sworn never to ride on a bike, and in the very next scene he is dropped by his friend on a bike. But indeed these small lapses can be easily overlooked owing to the excellent writing and dramatic expressions the writer pulls off. A better story and this writer can do wonders.

THE CONCLUSION: The reader would think that ‘why am I reading about Sunny?’ and as soon as he would finish the question, two words will hit him hard ‘why not?’ Sunny is simple, honest and at times adorable. Immaculate writing style and spice of real life makes the story a good read. I will recommend it to people who like to read a good story in 2 or 3 installments. This is an intense story which has been miraculously simplified.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Past lives forever

Book :          The Pink Scarecrow
Author:         Ankita Srivastava
Genre :         Fiction/Romantic suspense
Publication:   Leadstartpublishing/ Frog books
Pages :         173
X-FACTOR:    Usage of ornamental words 
My rating:     3.85 out of 5
THE STORY: I would like to make it clear that this story has nothing to with war, fight, soldiers or even a gun-shot. This story is simple but yet touches your heart on many occasions. The protagonist is in Army and this story swings between his present and past. A very few characters make the story easy-going. Interesting description of a typical Indian girl is eye-catching and realistic. Some nice poems and songs are included in the book which can be easily dedicated to one you love. Congrats to the writer for choosing ornamental words to describe the characters. The whole book appears like a assembly of pearls.
On the other hand the story is a bit slow and almost stops on a few occasions. The descriptions of the characters are too long (though outstanding in the literature point of view) and not all modern readers would be able to connect well. Including songs and poems was a nice idea but a poem or song after every (or few) incident makes the story even slower. In the party scene I was quite amazed by the capacity of the protagonist to drink that much alcohol and still be normal. Overall, this book is a classic example of romanticism (छायावाद) and to admire and understand the instrumental work of words and emotions, a casual reader is not enough.

THE WRITING: As I mentioned that this book has been written under the influence of ‘romanticism’ (छायावाद) and there are not many places which can be mentioned as a writing lapse. It is outstanding piece of work. The taste of the modern readers has change and people need more spice in a romantic book but still it is the most beautifully written book. The hard work of writer is quite visible in the form of artistic words and exceptional style.
There is nothing negative about the writing but it is the ability/understanding of reader which may become a challenge for the writer. May be if the style of writing could be tailored to match the frequency of Indian readers (most) then it can be remarkably well and enriching.

THE CONCLUSION: The story is very simple and becomes predictable after a few chapters. In fact, I felt that the story has been taken over by the writing style of the author. The story was suppressed somewhere, and writing elegance was prominent. Having said that, if you are a true lover of English literature and romanticism then this book is for you. Read it to venerate the words, descriptions, explanations and positioning of sentences.

Under the hood of teen adventure

Book:           Nayak Brothers: The valentine’s day clue
Author:        Rupali Rajopadhye Rotti
Genre:          Fiction/Thriller
Publication:  Leadstart publishing/ frog books 

Pages:           237
X-factor:       Super easy language
My rating:     3 out of 5

The Story: I must say that writing a thriller is not easy. Besides collecting and joining all links, one has to make it interesting and fast track. The book starts well with the disappearance of Akash, which lets the alarms go crazy in his family, then among friends, and then slowly everybody is involved. The whole story mainly revolves around a bunch of boys who poke their nose everywhere to find Akash and accidentally reveal a few more secrets in the course. It makes me remember a daily soap starring Swapnil Joshi on Doordarshan (don’t remember the name though) in which he and a group of kids are NANHE JASOOS.
In a thriller, it is important how you connect people with the story and the writer has done it well. The story is simple and clean. The first few chapters maneuver interest in the reader, which compels to read further. Easy language makes reading brisk and helps to connect with the story.
Just before the middle of the book, story becomes predictable and lack of thrills (apart from a very few) makes reading slow. I would strongly say that it is an adventure story more than a thriller. But the climax has some nice twists which are worth reading. Goons, guns, smuggling, theft, abduction, betrayal, police…everything is here.

The Writing: As I mentioned, writing thriller is not that easy compared to few genres. The writer does well in order to keep the things together. All the points have been connected well and there is no writing lapse like forgetting about something or a character. The writer has done a fair work while showing the affection between brothers and friends.
On one hand, easy language made it easy-going but on the other hand writer has not been able to thrill the reader. Many different episodes make one to get lost from the actual chase for Akash. The title of the chapters could have been better because if one reads the chapter’s name, he would more or less know the story. I recommend more mystic names for a thriller book. I think writer can include more secrecy while writing a thriller. But having said that, writing is uncomplicated and neat, it certainly attracts teen readers.

The Conclusion: The story is simple and easy-going. As I mentioned I would say it an adventure story instead of a thriller. Language suits teenagers and grown-ups who like to read easy English. After first few chapters, it is hard for a reader to keep up the focus, unless he really concerns about Akash. I recommend this book to those who like reading adventure, like to read English novel without dictionary and likes teen-books.