The Revenge of Kaivalya- A Book Club Review


The Revenge of Kaivalya by Sumana Khan

 

Sometimes, even if you hate horror, the book exerts such a compulsion that you cannot help but just read it. Despite of my fear of the creeping shadows and creaking doors, I managed to finish this book. Oh, I was afraid. I stopped reading the book at nighttime, but in the end, it was an interesting journey.

Synopsis
 
Deep within the womb-like forests of the Western Ghats, an entity manifests itself at the malevolent moment when the ocean rises to devour hundreds of thousands. Kencha, an unwitting witness to Its birth, is soon found dead – his body branded with a strange message written in HaLegannada, an ancient version of modern Kannada. Even as Dhruv Kaveriappa, Chief Conservator of Forests – Hassan division investigates Kencha’s death, he senses an unseen danger in the forests of Kukke, Bisle and Sakleshpura. Animals drop dead; plants wither away and just as he feared, the forest claims its first victim. Shivaranjini, on vacation in Sakleshpura, suffers a devastating tonic-clonic seizure moments after she returns from a visit to the forest. Soon, she begins to exhibit a bizarre personality disorder. Perhaps there is an outbreak of an unknown rabies-like disease? Or, as ridiculous as it seems, could it be a case of tantric witchcraft? 
 
The truth unfolds in a dizzying maelstrom of events – a truth far too terrifying to comprehend.
In one sentence, it’s a book about many people; but it’s the story of a ages old spirit called Kaivalya who want to extract revenge for something. I know that story sounds cliche, but it’s a story which enthralls one in its web by its beautiful language.
 
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What I liked

1) Language: The book uses a lyrical prose which is hypnotising enough to initiate the horror in the readers. I have read a few horror books, but not all affected me the same way as this. Probably because it was a usual story with an amazing language, it did make a huge difference on the reading. I had to stop reading the book during night to save myself from the thrall of words.

2) Powerful Women: Though the book had many male characters, it’s the women who carried the story on their shoulder. Be it Tara, Shakti, or Priyadarshini, each female character is shown in her own might and that too without losing their feminism.

3) Treatment of the story: This should not be a head here, but any story which has the capability to leave one sleepless should get laurels for its treatment of the story. And this books deserve these laurels in spades.
What I disliked
Too many characters: I understand that it was the requirement of the horror genre and the story, but there were just too many characters involved. I had to turn back and see who they were talking about at times. But this could be because of my bad memory for names as well.
Overall Opinion
If anybody can stomach horror, this book deserves a chance. I was afraid of the book, but yet it was thoroughly enjoyable. There wasn’t even one section which bored me.
Meet the author
 
 
The Author’s Thoughts
 
In the early stages of my manuscript, I knew the title of my novel had to be the name of the principal character. And it could not be just any name. It had to fit into the storyline – from a time perspective, as well as setting the atmosphere. It had to sound ancient and also define the character. Tall order!
As I read up on the history of Vijayanagara, I hoped to come across a good, strong name…but history, normally, is about men and their wars and conquests. I hoped to select a name from our puranas. But nothing clicked. What about our stotras? Maybe the lalitha sahasranama? Or ashtalakshmi stotra? One evening I sat mulling on ‘Kausalya’…thanks to the most famous line ‘Kausalya supraja Rama purva sandhya pravarthathe’ from the Suprabhata 🙂 I went to bed with that line in my head.
The next morning, somehow, ‘Kausalya’ had transformed to ‘Kaivalya’. I did not remember coming across the name in any of my previous research. Curious, I looked up what ‘Kaivalya’ stood for. And was fascinated.   Read More ……..
Stalk her @
   
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Temple of Avinasi- Once Upon A Time Mythology Novel

Temple of Avinasi

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The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

I selected this book  for two reasons. First was because its story sounded interesting, and I am  intrigued by the legend of Kalki. For those who don’t know, Kalki is supposed to be the final incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Secondly, this books completes the mythology part of my Once Upon a Time challenge.

Synopsis

The world faces oblivion as the four thousand year old Epic Wars threatens it with a renewed assault. This time, the Dark Seekers, alien invaders who were once prevented access through the great shield which protected the Earth, have returned. The Light Seekers and the mortals must do all they can to fight them back once again like they did in ages past. However, with a Dark Lord at their Helm, the Dark Seekers are nearly undefeatable now. Nearly, for in the devastation that they leave, they also raise the cries of the people for the saviour they have long awaited. The prophecized tenth Avatar of Vishnu, a juggernaut myths and legends named Kalki. And in this fray, two fourteen year old boys innocently oblivious to the machinations of a secret cult dedicated to finding Kalki, try to spend their childhood as boys do. But the fate of the world depends on them and the hour demands the final avatar of the Protector of the Universe.

Like all the mythological stories, this is a story about fight between good and bad. More than that, it is the story about identifying the balance of good and bad in one’s own self.  Although the summary sounds too difficult, the book isn’t. The book explores the world of Light Seekers(or Devs) and Dark Seekers, and tries to give a scientific twist to the mythology by calling them as an alien. And then a teenager gets the taste of the power of being Kalki, that savior.

What I Liked

Scientific Twist to the mythology:  The book approaches many of the aspects of Vedas in a scientific manner. I never thought of Sudarshan as a double edged sword. Neither I thought about the planets having a protective shield(like ozone) which makes them appear barren to the people from other planets. I could feel the wheels of my engineer minds turning.

Story treatment:  I enjoyed the subtler aspect of the story, like the ego of the Devs, mixing of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the flying horse.

What I disliked

The names of the characters: This is my problem with many Indian books. The names like Mr. Betterclouds, Angel, Ana confuses me. Why not have proper Indian names if the characters are going to stay and behave as Indians?!

Underutilized plot-lines:  Many plot lines are left unexplored, like the enmity between Shree and Indra, budding romance between Ana and Angel, potential of Alisha and Sam.  Since the book is going to have sequel(s), I’m sure they will be explored later, but for now, they are left hanging in between.

Overall Opinion

An interesting book which deserves reading. I’ll probably buy the sequel too to know what happens next. Maybe there will be some more interesting concepts.

Rating

Four Stars

Divergent

Divergent

Author’s Name: Veronica Roth

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Finally after a long wait, I picked the book. And it was so compelling that I finished it in single read.

Synopsis

Divergent is about a society where the world is divided into factions– each faction has their set function, a set of characteristic that they are supposed to emulate in themselves. Dauntless believe in bravery, Candor believe in truth, Abnegation believe in selflessness, Amity believe in peace and Erudite believe in knowledge and intelligence.

Our heroine, Beatrice, is going through the selection process wherein she has to decide which faction she wants to associate to– the one her parents belong to(Abnegation) or the one she wants herself in.  The initial story is about her struggle to complete her initiation into the faction she selects. But as soon as her initiation is complete she comes to know of a plot which will destroy one faction completely. The second half of the book is about the struggle and choices Beatrice/Tris makes to save the society.

What I liked

Concept of the book–  It’s different and it’s interesting. Although somehow the faction system reminds me of caste system in my country. I know it’s not the same because caste system doesn’t give choice to people now, but when it was initiated, the concept of it must have been similar to the faction concept. Division of work, then the division of qualities, which then somehow got changed to division by birth.

Four-  I am pretty sure that he was the strongest character of the story. The way he was described–his restraint, his beauty, his power, his fear–all appealed to me. The only thing I didn’t like about him was that I guessed in the first appearance that he was Tobias. So that mystery was quite unnecessary.

Al- I loved the author for portraying the character. I always feel that author gives the characters easy way out, but Al is beautifully portrayed. Everything about him, from his crush to his power to his cruelty, was perfect.

What irked me

Concept–  Daring does not  mean that foolishness, but the dauntless activities feels foolishness sometime. They are glamorous for sure, but they are stupid too, something which no sane person will actually do. Similar was the case with other factions.

Overall Opinion

I enjoyed the story. I was so engrossed in it to think about anything else. But I don’t want to read it again and again. It’s a very interesting book, but only for one time.

Rating
Four Stars

Mockingjay- An end to Hunger Games

MockingjayAuthor’s Name: Suzanne Collins

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Finally, the last installment of the series. Finally, the Hunger Games ended. A resounding end to the epic started with the first book. It’s one series which has impacted me deeply.  The best part, the author managed to put an end to those games. Worst part, there were just too many deaths.

Synopsis

The book starts in District 13. Katniss have become the face for the revolution, though she is still undecided whose side she should take.  All the districts revolt and the final showdown between the capitol and districts happen.This story is how each of the character makes a choice in how they want to defeat the Capitol. I can’t say more without actually revealing the story, but this book is DARK.

What I liked

President Snow: He’s still as creepy as ever. Though his scenes have decreased, his presence has not. He’s one of the best anti-hero written as per me.

Imperfect Peeta: Does this make me cruel that I liked this imperfect Peeta more than the original Peeta? He seems like a believable person now.

Finnick: I loved everything about him- his background story, his love, his performance- everything.

What irked me

Triangle Love Story: This time it isn’t Gale which irked me, but Katniss herself. For three books, she was torn between Gale and Peeta. I expected, rather hoped, that she’ll finally analyze what was there in her heart. But no, in that too she was given an easy choice and her decision was made by actions of Gale and Peeta. I felt so frustrated. :/

Too Many Deaths:  I can’t say if they were necessary or not, but after one point I stopped feeling the pain of the deaths. I got so much involved that my mind actually detached itself from the story. There were many scenes which felt that they were there only to increase the already induced shock.

Overall Opinion

It might be a dark book, but it’s one book which one won’t be able to miss or forget. It imprints itself on the minds of the reader and leaves one with a distaste of all the violence. 

There are section which you’ll want to skip, but still you won’t be able to free yourself from twists and turns of the book.

Ratings

Four Stars

 

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

ianBook’s Name: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Author’s Name: Jennifer Ashley

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I am Historical Romance fanatic. There was a time when I’d read five historical romance novels a day. I’d go on reading and reading and reading.  This was the first genre I started reading as an adult, and I think it’s a genre which left the deepest impact on me.  I still fall back to the genre whenever I’m too tired of all the other books or life in general. 

Anyway, it’s difficult to surprise me with a Historical Romance, but the hero with Asperger’s Syndrome  did surprise me.

Synopsis

Mad Lord Ian Mackenzie has been in asylum for most of his young life. Sometime later, when he has been released from asylum and have settled in the society, he meets a young Widow, Beth. They fall in lust almost instantly, and Ian manages to woo her into an affair ( an marriage too). But the plot hinges on a murder mystery, and the fact that Ian believes that he gets fits of rages. He doesn’t allow Beth to come too near because she might get burned by these rages.

The best part of the plot was that nobody was actually sure if Ian’s Mad or not– not his brothers, not the world, and not he himself.

What I liked

Ian Mackenzie– An amazing character, and the one who carries the book on his shoulders. He’s one of the few historical character with flaws. He suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and is considered quite mad. I had wondered how the author will manage to show his POV, but that’s also quite well done. The following quote from the book is what I felt when I read his POV.

The trouble with Ian Mackenzie’s questions was that he asked the unanswerable. And yet she should know how to answer—everyone should. But they couldn’t, because everyone simply knew. Everyone except Ian.

Ian Mackenzie- Wait, writing it twice won’t express that I loved him, or will it?

Ian Mackenzie- I am wondering if writing it three times will mean that the hero was absolutely adorable.

Ming Vases– A very different and unique hobby,  collecting Ming vases. Though Ian’s obsession with them feel quite real, I liked it for the way it’s portrayed in the book. I could feel Ian’s desire for the Ming Vase  was like my own desire for a certain book.

What irked me

Love at first sight–  One day, I’ll get the hang of the logic behind the love at first sight, but till then I’ll keep it in the “What Irked Me” list. 

Sequel Characters–  I believe in one set of characters for a book. Unless it’s masterfully handled, when the whole family and their stories are introduced, it distracts me to no end. 

Letters to herself– I’m a person who is in love with letters and diary entries. I don’t find anything more touching than the romance via words. But the diary entries by Beth, the heroine, felt like a filler to me, or may be a way to add in some sex to the story.

Overall Opinion

Despite the above mentioned things I didn’t like, I think one should read the book if only to sample the craziness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Did I already say that I loved him as a hero?

Rating

Four Stars

Catching Fire

catching fire

 

Author’s Name: Suzanne Collins

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Since I finished Hunger Games, I have been itching to start this book. But I made myself wait for sometime so that I can absorb the previous book’s impact. This book doesn’t dull the impact, but fixes it in the mind. I dreamed of Hunger Games Arena and one of the Korean actors as the protagonist in the arena described in book? Don’t ask me why not the Indian actors, because my dreams have tendency to be weird.

Is it possible to like and not like the book at the same time?

Synopsis

The book starts some time after the previous book. Both Katniss and Peeta are back in District Twelve and are living in the victor’s village. Life is much better than the previous life, but still the sword of Capitol hangs over their head. President Snow informs Katniss that she started a revolution in the Districts and threatens her, but Katniss vacillates between whether she wants to stop this uprising or not. Just like she vacillates between Gale and Peeta.

What I liked

President Snow: He’s an absolutely creepy villain with his breath of snow and roses. He captures the page whenever he came into the picture.

Arena: When I read about the Arena, I was actually awed. I liked the description and the concept of the Arena.

What irked me

Gale: I tried. I really tried to see why Katniss will even think of any romantic relation between them, but I couldn’t find even a single reason. There’s no chemistry between Katniss and him. Even their kisses seem forced.

Last Explanation by Haymitch: I could bear everything the book dished out except when Haymitch tells the plan in the end. It’s such a dry commentary and also so short that I actually turned pages to see if there’s something more which I missed, or maybe the book is censored or something. How could the person with so much of wit and understanding lay out any plan like that?

Overall Opinion

Is it possible to like and unlike the book at the same time? The book kept me hooked to the story, but it could have been better. There were sections which felt too dragged, while there were sections which passed in a blink of a eye(like the speech I mentioned above).

All in all, it’s a worthy sequel to Hunger Games.

Ratings

Four Stars

 

The Hunger Games

Book’s Name: The Hunger Games

Hunger Games

Author’s Name: Suzanne Collins

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Another book which I started very late. I should have read this ages ago. But well, better late than never, right? I am not a blood-bath favoring person, neither I like the reality shows. That’s the reason I kept on postponing reading this. Now when I’ve read the first part of the book, I think the section which showed the games was the best section. I’m all set to start the second part. It’s better that I bought all the three parts together.

Synopsis

The book is about a dystopian society where Government organizes a fight-to-death match called hunger games between children of its territories to curb rebellion. Twelve boys and twelve girls are left on the field to kill and survive the others. Our heroine, Katniss, goes into these games along with a guy, Peeta from her own district. The story shows how she fares in these games.

Although it’s a story of many deaths, it’s a story about survival too. Collin takes us on a ride where we can actually sympathize and love the characters, and hate a few of them. I won’t say that it made me cry for the fate of the children, but it was intriguing enough to keep me involved in the story.

What I liked

Realistic Heroine: I liked that Katniss was shown as a realistic character. There were points where I felt that she was given an easy way out, but overall her reactions were real. She tried to survive as much as she could. She was nice, but she was practical too. I especially liked that she just didn’t fall in love with Pita.

Understanding between Katniss and Haymitch: I enjoyed how Collins  showed their understanding. It was utterly believable that Katniss could actually decipher what her mentor wanted. Also, it hammers how they both had that winning streak.

Rue: I’m pretty sure there’s nobody who hasn’t loved little Rue for her perfect fragility. She steals the heart with her cute demeanor. 

What irked me

Gale: As a character, he’s not shown at all. I mean he has one or two scenes. Yet by the end we are supposed to believe that Katniss is confused or she thinks that he thinks of her more than a friend, Bah. It might be a great premise for sequel, but then it’s a bit unbelievable stunt for the book.

Overall Opinion

It’s a good book. I won’t call it a masterpiece, but it has its own beauty. It keeps the readers hooked despite of its predictable plot.

Ratings

Four Stars 

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