Monday, April 29, 2019

Demons of Time by Varun Sayal (Book Review- 4*/5) !!!

There are not many books which are written in a fantasy world which really impresses the reader. It takes a lot of back-end work for the author to ensure that the world he creates is not only easier for him to understand but also makes the journey of his readers entertaining and thrilling. Varun Sayal has done the same with his first book in the Time Travelers series named “Demons of Time”. The book also has the tagline of “Race to the 7th Sunset” which is actually based on the theme of the story. Whenever Time traveling becomes the core of any story, it becomes very difficult for the readers to maintain timelines and understand the aspect of each and every world that the author creates with his imagination.

This book begins from 3077 BC and is written in quite relevance to India with even the characters’ names based on Indian culture and tradition which makes you feel at ease as soon as you start reading the book. The cover-page does make it look quite Western but the book reflects complete Indian-ness and makes you excited for how author is going to show India and World in the future years. Author has played a wonderful game (in a good sense 😉) by traveling the characters from 3077 BC to at most 2024 which for us is just within a decade kind of future from today. This makes it more exciting to know how these old Sanskrit-based characters are going to play their part in this technologically advanced world.

Another thing which author has taken care is to keep as less characters as possible so that readers can easily go through the story without finding it hard to go back and remember which character they had missed among ample of them. The important characters such as the protagonist Tej, Rigu, Kumbh, Vetri, Manika, Gajendra are very well developed as you can actually understand their mindset and character. Even the other small and supporting characters are nicely described.

The kind of twists and turns that takes place in the first half of the book when Tej is told about his own reality and the way he needs to go to future to save a mass killing gives the book a powerful start. Then the way in the future, the character of Ravi is utilized for Tej’s campaign is what gives this book an acceleration in the second half. His conversations with the intelligence department, colleagues etc. are very entertaining and the way he uses his mind in this new environment and the way he learns the new technology etc. is nice to read and go through the journey of a character along with the time leap. Another thing I would like to mention is that the whole journey of time traveling right from preparation to getting to the target is of just 7 days but still the steadiness in the story-telling speaks a lot about the writing skills of the writer.

The author ensures that he gives reasons and logics to everything he is talking about but also takes care that he doesn’t become too technical to make it hard for readers to comprehend why the certain activities are taking place. The explanation of physical concepts is done in a very easy language which makes this book one of the recommended books if you want to get into other tough books from the same genre. I liked the narration of the story as author choses to talk about everything in equal quantity- hate, love, betrayal, magic, physics, emotions, happiness, sorrow, anger, time-traveling events, relationships, etc. The book before ending throws another twist with an edge of emotion to it which makes us excited for the 2nd book in the Time Travelers series. I wish author keeps all the upcoming books in the similar pattern- simple yet thrilling. I give this book 4 star out of 5.



Sunday, April 14, 2019

Finding Utopia by Ruhee Advani (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!

There are few books which can’t be judged on the same parameters as others because of the way they are presented and written. How can you judge a book of 50 pages with an average size of book with 250 pages, right? This Sunday, I completed reading a book named “Finding Utopia” written by a young authoress named, Ruhee Advani. This book is of around 50 pages which is written in a format of a play which has around 3 different acts with distinct themes.

Ruhee has very cleverly kept this book short with an interesting concept for youngster which speaks about the trauma and confusion they go through when they are in their teens and about to pass-out from college. The insecurities of the children about their present and future, their questions about life, their fear about what they are doing is morally right or wrong is all discussed in this book in a very lighter note.

The 1st act speaks about how Juhi’s friends are discussing about her state of mind which is not going great and seems if she has lost her way. Then a great conversation between Juhi and Arjun is kept in the focus where this stranger gives answers to all the questions Juhi had about life, herself and circumstances which were disturbing her mind.

The 2nd act is very short where the realization of all what the stranger Arjun discussed with Juhi is discussed. The 2nd act describes about Juhi’s life getting back on the way as her inner thoughts are stable and she has got all the answers she was searching for.

The 3rd act is about Juhi sharing her experiences with her parents where she gets to understand a new dimension of life where you need to search for your soulmate in a person who has capabilities to change and transform your life. The way book ends with a romantic angle to the whole act is a sweet and perfect way how this book could have ended. Overall, this book is a good light read of 30-45 minutes in between of thick books that we are usually indulged in. I give this one 3.25* out of 5.



The Last Avatar: Age of Kalki 1 by Vishwas Mudagal (Book Review: 4.75*/5) !!!

I sat in the flight for the first time just 4 years back and post that I had the experience of flying for 8 times. I saw people reading and working on their laptops but I loved watching the world from feet above through my window seat. I used to think how these people end up reading something when they can also enjoy clouds like me. Last weekend, I had gone to Delhi from Mumbai due to some assignment and because of having books at my end pending for reviews, I thought of finally reading in the flight and utilizing the 2 hours in the sky. I picked up “The Last Avatar: Age of Kalki 1” written by one of my favourite authors, Vishwas Mudagal, and I would like to thank the author for making my flying experience better than all the flights I had before.

I must say that since I read his 1st book, I was waiting for his 2nd book desperately and seeing a book from an altogether different theme surprised me. Vishwas is an entrepreneur in the technological space and I never knew he possessed interest in history and mythology. The book is all about the blend between his domain expertise of technology with history, mythology and even future. There are many books which have been written on the concept of the Last Avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kalki who shall come on Earth whenever needed on the planet but I must say this is the easiest book written till date which shall let you enjoy this book lightly without getting too much confused between timelines, characters, situations, fantastical world etc.

The book starts with an unwarranted nuclear test that China conducts which shocks everyone in the world. The case gets escalated right up till President of USA. Later on, book discusses how there is difference of opinions even within China where the Government is not happy with what a person has done just for his personal satisfaction. Finally, we get introduced with characters- Shen and Nushen who belongs to Homo Supernus because of which they have some extra super-powers than human beings. Nushen, throughout the storyline of the book becomes my favourite because of the way she supports Neel, who is believed to be the next avatar of Vishnu- Kalki.

The chemistry of Nushen and Neel is so wonderfully described that the whole segment when they run away from China’s capture is entertaining and chilling to read. The flashback of Neel with Arya and Tiger is also an interesting read. The secret that gets unveiled with that backstory has another big part to play in the book. The character of Jian who is basically the antagonist of this book is mentioned as someone having immense power to make the nuclear test at his will, capture anyone from anywhere, make famous Chinese actress his slave under his recluse. The segments where his difficult decisions etc. are narrated are also described in a great manner as you can feel his strength, horribleness, hatred, divisiveness, lustiness, betrayal etc.  The characterization of each and every character is done with perfectness as you can completely imagine how they look and what they are like.

I liked how author manages to discuss something as complex as concept of secret society named The Rudras so easily making it understandable to everyone. The author also manages to discuss something as terrorising as ISIS in the form of terrorist group- Invisible Hand in the book which manages to attack the Indian Parliament having the top ministers in the building at the time of bombing. Talking about the climax, this is one of the best climaxes I have read from books that still have parts to go for the story to end. This book ends with something which doesn’t let this part of book feel as incomplete but yet makes you thrilled and desperate for the further part of the tale.

Closing the review, I must talk about the cover page which has this larger-than-life sci-fi version of Lord Hanuman’s image. The cover page because of this looks spectacular and makes the reader astonished as to how Lord Hanuman is related with the last avatar of Kalki but I must tell you, this is not just an image made for cover concept but is also the base of the war in the story. Do read this book to find out about it and Vanar Sena’s importance. I give this book 4.75* out of 5 for the incredible writing, flawless narration, seamless execution of complex concepts, action-packed scenes explained with words that helps you in imagining everything in front of your eyes easily and with all of this, still assuring that the book discusses above love and relationships incessantly. Kudos!



Friday, April 12, 2019

The Ramayana Secret by Anurag Chandra (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

There are few authors who blow your mind with their first book itself. One of such books written by a debutante author, Anurag Chandra, which I completed reading this weekend is “The Ramayana Secret”. I generally write review of any book just after completing it but this one, unfortunately, I wrote after 7 days but still the book is afresh in my mind. In all these days since I completed it, I discussed its version of Ramayana with many of my friends and uncle-aunties and all of them are surprised and astonished with the version Author has based his Ramayana upon.

To start with, the cover page of the book, the synopsis mentioned in the backcover and the overall presentation and publishing quality is spectacular where the first fight to grab reader’s attention is won. Secondly, whenever there is a book with several characters and relationships among them, I always have to maintain a note separately where I keep on drawing the tree as per the hierarchy. This is one of the few books where I have been able to find a nicely drawn family tree with all the major characters of the book defined properly. This helped a lot in the initial chapters of the book where the characters keep on getting introduced.

I have read many books based on Ramayana but what I have liked basically about Anurag is his approach towards writing this book in the age of trilogy. Though the book can surely have its 2nd part but atleast the way whole Ramayana is covered in 220-odd pages is compliment-worthy. Also, the small chapters make it easy for you to go through the book in a single sitting without getting bored. The narration is very powerful and beholds you like any great book. The characterizations are done with very limited words hence there is not much investment author has done in this department but still manages to make some of the characters as your favorite such as Lakshmana, Vibhisana, Ravana’s son etc.

The many myths that author has tried to bust with his version of Ramayana is applaudable. The relationship of Sita and Ravana is the major one that will make this book a talking point. Then the concept of inner and outer world is nicely explained in the initial chapters. The background of Lord Rama’s ancestor regarding what they couldn’t do for inner world is nicely described. The whole segment of Surpanakha and why Ravana actually took Sita away to keep her as a hostage is again a new something in this book. Similarly, Kaikeyi and her role is mentioned quite differently.

There are few parts I would like to mention which made me interested in reading this book:- The way justice is made to Sage Gautam and Ahilya by Rama is nicely narrated. Rama’s advice to Bharat is one of the powerful segment in the book. I liked the way whole Lanka sequence is narrated regarding Ravana being egoistic and not listening to anyone in his family. How even his family had members who tried to stop him from doing wrong kept the war segment interesting. The Bali and Sugriva section is also narrated well. The whole Hanumana’s visit to Lanka’s section is beautifully written. The end of the book becomes very emotional with Sita leaving Rama and then Luv and Kush segment made me even more sentimental. The discussion on how the Ramayana got wrote in a different manner for the world gives this book the kind of ending it needed. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I wish Anurag Chandra come up with such short mythological and philosophical stuffs at least once in a year with a book. I give this one 4.5* out of 5.



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