The Curse: A Book Review (And Welcoming 2019)

Hello Everyone. I know it has been a very long time since I posted. It seems like life and I are wrestling to have control on the schedule, and life keeps on winning. But the good news is that I am reading and writing again. That’s a big deal for me because the past one year felt like that words have turned into strangers. They won’t entice me in reading, and they won’t entice me in writing. I cannot explain the joy finding the words again.

So let us start 2019 in February with a book review  with a hope that I will be able to win future battles as well with life.

The Curse: A Dystopian Thriller

By Randeep Wadehra

Amazon

Goodreads

Available for Free on Kindle Unlimited

Blurb

Through peace, it’s justice we seek!
The hunter will meet the fate of the hunted
And the mighty will serve the meek!

Twenty years ago, a corrupt President, a greedy industrialist, and a sycophant policeman uprooted the tribal people from their own land and burned their houses. Twenty years later, the Republic of Bodh is in danger from a similar evil troika.

The curse uttered by a frail tribal woman during the carnage twenty years ago has inspired Jwaala, the only female leader in the senate, to reform the Republic of Bodh.

But the same curse has turned Saaya, once an innocent victim of the massacre, into a relentless killing machine with a mission to prey on the predators.
Even when the Republic spirals into a storm of scandals, the greedy and corrupt President Chaupat is torn between his lust for a dancer and his unrequited passion for his wife Kaamini.

Will Saaya succeed in his mission or will Chaupat thwart his efforts?
Will Jwaala, orphaned in a violent attack, be able to turn the curse for the greedy into a blessing for the poor? Will she succeed to save the Republic from another ensuing bloodshed?

The Curse is a gritty political thriller about people who have lost much to greed but want to transform their nation. 

Initially, I had no interest in this book, but when my friends started telling how this book was written so well, my interest was piqued. I picked this book only to see what was so good about it. I did not expect it to be an excellent read, however, the book proved me wrong. It even appealed to apolitical person like me.

This is the story of a dystopian world which is being ruled by Chaupat. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. There are pockets of slums which government refused to recognize. The people living in these slums are considered dispensable. In such corrupt and oppressive society, there emerged our hero or heroes who want to change the system—some from inside and some by violence. It is an interesting book which you will want to read ahead to know about.

What I liked

  • Story in itself: Although it is not a very unpredictable story, it still manages to capture the interest of the readers by its details, language and writing style. There is a little suspense to the story, but I was able to guess that early on. Part of it was unanticipated, but it was such a hurried execution that I thought it more of a passing end than the big reveal itself.
  • Idea: The book is very relevant to current times. It talks about the things that are happening around me, the fears that I am truly afraid of at this time, and because of this, I could relate to it more.
  • Politically Impartial: The book actually considers as evil both the main party and opposition and hence stays clear of political partiality. Although some would say that there is a certain kind of partiality in declaring all parties as wrong as well, the book still felt impartial in its intake.

What I did not Like

  • Predictability: I have no idea how the author could have avoided the predictability, but I wish there was less of predictability in the story. I wanted to be taken up by surprise by the end. However, the only surprise sequence of the story was too short to garner any attention.
  • Names of the Characters: I think what adds to the above point is the names of the characters. For non-hindi speakers, this might not be an issue. But for hindi speakers, the names added to the predictability. Each name is the directly chosen to express what the characters role in the story is going to be. I understand finding such right names is difficult and must have been a difficult job for the author. But, I would have liked something subtler in these names—not this outright definition of how all the characters are going to be. This added to the predictability for me. Even though it felt like careful and deliberate selection by author, I could not enjoy that.
  • Ending: I have said this earlier as well, but the end sequence of the story—the one that was supposed to be the surprise—was not very well-executed. I wished it wasn’t the miss and blink kind of thing. I would have enjoyed the book more if that ending had appealed to me.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, the book is an interesting read. Those who want to read something about the political situation in the country (I do think this is applicable to many countries) will enjoy the story. It is written well and flows smoothly. The book is a short-read. For the people who have Indian KU subscription, the book is available free of cost.  

Overall Ratings

Advertisements

Monday Musings(30.07.18)– Cycle of Life and Profession

Hello everyone.

I have been lost for a long time. But then this is the place I always intended to return too. Apologies for vanishing and for not being able to fulfill the promises to myself and to my readers.

Recently, I was talking to my office colleague when I told him, “Sometimes the life just gets too real.” We all poked and made fun of the statement, but that is what really happened. I was in some weird funk– I had no will to read, no will to write, no will to watch anything worthwhile. All that I have done in past few months is browsing of Netflix and watching the things which call for no-brain and which I probably won’t even think of watching otherwise. But then few weeks back, this all changed. I have a diary full of words (not good ones though). I had my will to read and write again. My life is still a mess — personally and professionally, but I have an idea of “Plan B”, and I guess that is what really matters for now.

Today’s musing is about the cycle of “life” and “profession”. I have been reading a book called Magpie Murders which is a murder mystery. There is one thing that I want to discuss which is triggered by the book. The book mentions Agatha Christie and how she did not like Poirot. I remember reading one article in Guardian about something like this. I could not find the right article, but here is the link of something similar. The article mentions how she was bored to tears by her own creation of Hercules Poirot. She goes ahead and gives advice which speaks volumes about her “love” for the character.

I would give one piece of advice to young detective writers. Be very careful what central character you create – you may have him with you for a very long time!

In one interview, her grandson had confessed that she wanted to create more characters but was never allowed because Poirot sold the best.

And this made me wonder– how our own actions end up creating a cage for us? Agatha Christie has Poirot as her own cage which does not allow her to move beyond to other characters. Arthur Conan Doyle had Sherlock which overshadowed his other works and ambitions. I do remember reading something similar about Milne who wrote Winnie-The-Pooh.

This just set the series of thoughts on how we all end up imprisoning ourselves in the stories we write. I am in somewhat a similar situation, and perhaps, that is why these thoughts are plaguing me. I have not created a character, but I have created an illusion of comfortable life which is obstructing me from moving to other passions of life. I don’t have agents and publishers to fight with, but I do carry the burden of some expectations. How does one end this cycle of “profession” ? Is it like the cycle of “life” which ends only after the death? Or is there a way to get out of this cycle?

Do you also have some “characters”–fictional or real– which have imprisoned you in the life that you have?

Time Out Thursday: Because This Is My First Life: A Drama Review

This is not a office blog meme sort of thing, but this is something I have been wanting to do for sometimes. Sometimes, I come across things that I want to talk about– the weird things, the ones which does not move around in the world of writing or novels, or maybe they do, but they just don’t suit any categories. Rather than curbing my fascination with these things, I have decided to incorporate them here.

This is not the first time I am doing it, but this is the first time it is coming under some category. Today I want to talk about a Korean Drama called “Because This is Our First Life” (Long title, I know!).

This is a Korean drama involving Lee Min Ki  (and a heroine, who was awesome, but whose name I am lazy to pick up. Nobody measures to Lee Min Ki). So this hero is a very meticulous nerdy sort of person who keeps a distance between himself and the world. In fact, his theory is that he just needs his cat and his house.  And to this, our female character comes as a tenant. It is romantic comedy, of course, but it so thoughtful.

It is a drama which is filled with so much of wisdom and nuances. I cannot explain the drama without spoiling it completely.  There was this one episode when everything was so hopeless for the heroine–she had lost almost everything except for will (and of course, she meets the hero of the story then), but this line resonated with me so much!

“When I decided to follow my dream, I thought my life would be like walking through a dark tunnel. But I didn’t know it was going to be this dark. I didn’t know it was going to be this lonely. How much longer do I have to keep going?”

And then there was this poem, which was the gist of every relationship in life

Meeting someone in life is actually something very astonishing.

That’s because they bring with themselves their past, present and future

That’s because someone’s whole life comes along.

The heart is fragile.

It might have been broken.

That heart is coming too.

I know this is not a traditional poem and is translated from Korean by someone who might not have even got the right essence. But it is just so much true, and it is like the true beauty of every relationship on the show.

This is one show which made me jump on the sofa like a kid with a candy. I clapped, I danced, I cried, and then I cried some more. I hated the ending, but yet, it is a drama which is going to live in my heart for a long time. This drama introduced me to a Doris Lessing and her book called “To Room Nineteen”, and I still can’t believe that I  have gushed so much about a drama.

FrostBite by Joshua Bader

Frostbite (Modern Knights #1)

 

Books’ Name: FrostBite

Author’s Name: Joshua Bader

Publisher: City Owl Press

Buy from Amazon

 

Colin Fisher is a young man with a lot of problems on his plate: a dying father, a dead car doubling as a home, and a mysteriously disappeared fiancée. You’d think with a magical inclination he’d be able to turn it all around, but not so much.

Yet his bad luck appears to be on the way out when the CEO of a multinational corporation offers him a job. It’s a sweet gig as a personal wizard with a fat paycheck. It just has one catch. The paranoid CEO isn’t a mere hypochondriac, he’s been hexed with an authentic ancient curse.

Now Colin is the only thing standing between his new boss and a frozen bundle of fangs, claws, and rage. If he can’t stop the cannibal ice demon in time to save his new boss, it’ll be back to living out of his dead car. That is, if he even survives the battle.

 

Frostbite was a netgalley book—and a very interesting one at that. I was attracted to the book because of its blurb. I mean how cool it is to have one’s personal wizard? If I had one, I would make him/her do all the work of cleaning, washing etc. (Okay, I do have a maid for all that), but a personal wizard will be far more interesting. So, I wanted to see what does the personal wizard do in the book.

But in reality, this story is more than the story of a personal wizard. The story is fast-paced and quite interesting journey of a vagabond wizard to the realization of why he became the wizard. The story has a lot of world-building which happens along with the story as we discover the new world with the Wizard Colin Fisher himself.

What I liked

Fast-Pace: The story is written in quite a fast pace. This fast pace keeps the readers engaged throughout the story. You won’t feel that the story is dragging too much.

World-Building: Very few books are able to make the reader believe the world they are building is possible. This story truly does establish that belief and hence it made the book more interesting for me.

Magic: The interesting way the magic is used made me smile in the book. It is creative and innovative.

What I disliked

Unanswered questions/underutilized characters: There are some characters which just touch and go like the lake faerie. I wish there was more to these characters and their roles in the story Probably the reason for these characters are in the coming novel, but for now they feel underutilized and fillers (which one doesn’t notice because of the pace of the story, but I still wanted to know why they were in the story like what is their long-term purpose.)

Overall opinion

It is an interesting book which sets the stage for the coming sequel. You won’t find the main story incomplete in this part of the book, but it leaves the readers with enough thirst to wait for the next part and see what exactly is going to happen. It is like you have decided to enter a dungeon and this is the first room, and you are really curious to know what was the reason author pulled you in this dungeon.

Definitely a must-read for the fans who enjoy such fantasy.

My ratings:

Four Stars

Landline By Rainbow Rowell : A Book Review

I was wondering where to start my reading journey of 2015 from. That was then I remembered Landline in my TBR list. A Goodread winner always incites the curiosity but if it’s from the author you’ve read before, the excitement to read the book doubles up. Same thing happened with me too.

LandLine Cover

Author’s Name: Rainbow Rowell

Add to GoodReads

Buy from Amazon.in

 

 

 

 

 

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble;it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

This book is the story about Georgie and Neal who have been married for many years and their marriage is on rocks. The time comes when Georgie decides to select her career instead of celebrating Christmas in Omaha. When Neal leaves, Georgie is left with the question whether the relationship is over. And then she finds the old landline phone which help us communicate with Neal of the past. It’s fantasy mixed with romance and reality.

What I liked

1) Non-stereotypical characters: It’s not a book which portrays men as the bread earner and the women as the home-maker. Georgie is the kind of career oriented women who struggles to juggle the time between the families. I loved that Georgie is shown with not traditional-motherly habits. There have been many books with perfect women but there are very rare books with imperfect women.

2) Time Jumps : This was a bit difficult to navigate style but in the end, it gave me glimpses of both past and present and immersed me in the story.

 

What I did not like

Slow Plot: This is not really a complaint because, in a way, this made the book more intense, but somehow, I wanted the book to move faster. I’ve no idea how she could have achieved that, but that is what I wanted in some sections of the book.

 

Final Thoughts

I know many people who don’t believe in fate, but the way this book portrays magic and fate made me feel happy. There is a kind of satisfaction in even imagining that despite of all the mistake we make, we’ll be able to reach a path designated for us.It might sound like a lazy way out, but sometimes, our 100% is not enough, and happiness still seem like a distant dream after our efforts. There is some peace in knowing that fate will take its course.

Of course like all stories of Rainbow Rowell, this book will absorb you in itself, but this is kind of hit or miss book. Either one will associate with it, or one will find it complete drivel. In my case, as you might have guessed, it was a hit. I enjoyed reading through ups and downs of Georgie’s life. Although I won’t call it the “best fiction of 2014”, it was an interesting read.

 

My Rating

Four Stars

The Colour Out of Space- A Short Story Review

The Colour Out of Space

Author’s Name: H.P.LoveCraft

Add to GoodReads

Read it online 

This was more of a longish short story, but absolutely worth every word. Is there a genre called Sci-Fi horror? If not, then there should. 

The story is told from a perspective of an engineer who is supposed to survey a valley for making a water reservoir. The valley he comes across is something against the whole landscape of the mountain. Further inquiry leads him to the story of the “strange times”.

I won’t write the story here, it’s a horror story. The monster is not known, but something which came on meteorite. It’s not a story which will creep you, but it’s a kind of story which will make you crosscheck every random luminescence.

The story absolutely sucked me its pages. What a brilliant writing! What a weave of words! The scene it sets was so spectacular that I could actually see the colors which were never named.  I am still awed by the grotesque beauty of the landscape described in the story to say anything more.  Just plain Wow is my reaction. 🙂

Fat by Raymond Carver- A short story review

Fat

Author’s Name : Raymond Carver

Part of Will You Be Quiet Please

Buy from Amazon

Another beautiful short story. Raymond Carver wove words to create the tapestry of the society in this story. Sometimes, it happens when a simple incidence, a simple view turns out to be a moment of epiphany urging us to take a path of life-improvement. This is about once such moment. The story shows a nameless waitress who is telling her friend, Rita, about a very fat man from the diner. Somehow that fat man intrigued her and told her how the choice to change her life is in her own hands.

The story is written on a first read felt weird to me because there’s no quotation marks for the speech and the fat man addresses himself as “we” instead of “I”. First, I thought that it’s an editing mistake, but then as I continued to read the interactions between the fat man and the waitress, I understood why the author used “we”. And when I reached end, the whole perspective of the story converged together to show me one single moment of epiphany. 

The economy of the words in the story is beautiful, and the message outshines that economy. I know there are many things which can be said about the themes and the contrasts in the story, but since talking about them will reveal the whole story, I’ll leave it at you to read.

A short read at around 1k.   Sorry, I don’t have the link to share for this story. I think it’s not available for the open sharing.

Previous Older Entries