Monday Musings: Series Books

Ha! Here I am again with a Monday rant. And this rant is about the series books. The series books are quite common phenomenon these days, especially if it is fantasy. I guess it does not make any sense to develop the whole world for one book only. Probably it is not possible to work the whole kingdom’s story in the book. I can name many, many series which I have read and I have enjoyed like the Harry Potter saga, Kingkiller Chronicles, GOT, LOTR– I’m just naming the common ones here to get my point across. And then I have read the fluffy romance series like Bridgeton series, Duchess series which do not need to stand on the stones laid by the previous books. And then there are series like the Psy-Changeling series which are in between the two(And which inspired today’s rant).

I rarely review series books on my blog, because in my opinion a series book rarely stands alone. It is complemented/supplemented by the books before and after it. It might come any time in the storyline, but the history developed in the beginning and the ending(definitely the ending) also matters. Sometimes, the middle drags while the beginning is brilliant (Hunger games, I am looking at you here!).Then how do we judge these books? On the basis of the series? Or on the basis of individual book?

The rant is inspired by Nalini Singh’s latest addition to Psy-Changeling series, Allegiance of Honor.

I love Psy-changeling series. I love Kaleb, the action, the romance and the world building. When this new book came up, I was excited. 15th book in the series, definitely should be awesome. And it said that it will take us back to the past characters as well. Cue the excitement music.

But then I read the book and realized the book is a bridge, a filler of sorts to take us to the next level in the series. I am disappointed– not by the series yet, but by the book, even after getting the necessity of such a bridge. A book should not have 478 pages which act as a bridge.

That’s the problem with the series. Either they start sounding similar (I phrased a word called series-ennui for this :-P). Or they end up sizzling down the whole beautiful world created in them, or they drag on so much. Or one is waiting ever and forever for the next book to be released (Patrick Rothfuss– I love your writing, but I’m tired of waiting).

It’s like you can’t hate them, nor you can love them.

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Snow Queen: A Short Story REview

It has been so long since I read short story or reviewed it or talked about it.  I recently read Snow Queen and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Hence this small Sunday review.

 

There is a magazine called Timeless Tales magazine which I enjoy, not only for reading but also for prompting my creativity. The prompt for coming season in the magazine is Snow Queen. And then I realized that there is a story of Hans Christian Andersen which I have not read.

 

It was totally my loss– the story is awesome. It is a bit of a longish tale with seven stories combined into one, but each tale carries its own magic. And more importantly I believe that the story describes how we all grow old. The story talks of a goblin-made-fault-finding mirror which shatters and enters into the eyes of the humans and makes them see the fault in everyone. Isn’t it true for our growing up as well? As we grow up, we start seeing more of faults then the good qualities in everything. And then we get lost like the characters of the story in one or the other thing– without knowing the reason why are we lost.

 

I absolutely adored the story. I am not sure what I will be able to write for the magazine, but it was a very interesting reading at least.  As the story progressed I could see the story which inspired Chronicles of Narnia(it felt inspired to me for the Edward’s abduction section at least) and Frozen(although the story is too altered).

 

That’s all for today. Oh, and for my writer friends, the Timeless Tales magazine is a paid magazine for short story submission, in case you are inspired.

An Autograph for Anjali– The Book Review

An Autograph for Anjali by Sundari Venkatraman

 

An autography for Anjali

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Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?

Will Anjali find happiness and peace?

I picked this book from Amazon on one of my purchasing frenzy. My reasons for buying  was simple– I know the author, saw the promotion of the book and liked its premise. I have read Sundari’s previous work too but did not enjoy it much. However, this was an interesting read. I personally feel that as an author, her voice in the story has matured, and she has become bolder in the exploration of subjects. Although I still believe that there is a long way for her to go, but she does seem to have found her voice.

I finished it in a single read and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the story. The book is pure romance, with a bit of mystery thrown into it. What I loved  was the non-preachy way it was treated with. The author remained in the character and avoided judging them on her own.

What I loved

  • The first thing I loved about the book was the well-developed characters. I liked that characters had their backstories and that they were 3 dimensional in nature.
  • The second thing that I enjoyed was the pacing of the story. So many times the story fails because of the pacing, especially the story which has both romance and suspense as the feature of the story. But the Book has the right pace to keep the readers interested in the story.
What I did not like

 

  • The head hopping is there in the novel. I think I am developing an allergy to the head-hopping thing.
  • There were a few “suspended belief” moments where my belief had to be too stretched to get into the scenes of the story.
  • The third thing which I think was seriously lacking in the novel was the setting. The author has nailed the party scene and everything, but then she has skimmed over the settings. For the author who has the rich Indian land as the background, there was no connection with the location. I think that connection would have made the story more authentic.

Overall View

Overall the book is an interesting one-time read. It is a pleasant time pass read. I might not read it again and again(maybe, once more), but it is perfect read after a heavy day of work.

Overall Rating

Three Stars