Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tenth Avatar - A Quest for Answers by Kanchan Joshi

When I was about to start "Tenth Avatar: A Quest for Answers" by Kanchan Joshi, I was blown off by its marvelous cover and its colophon narrating what the story is about. It definitely raised the expectation of what was to come inside.


Book Blurb
A brave prince from ancient times, who is also an accomplished yogi with super human powers. A genius mathematician struggling to unlock the secret workings of the universe. The two, separated by thousands of years in time, work together to make humans realize the true nature of the world and the real potential of their lives—guiding them toward the next evolutionary step. 
Welcome to a world where the astonishing magic of ancient times and cutting edge research in physics and mathematics meet to explore spirituality. 
"Tenth Avatar: A Quest for Answers" is interwoven between Ramayan and present era where the topics of spirituality, divinity, and meditation are scientifically and logically explored through the characters.

The book is written in a third person narrative. Personally, it felt that the switch between the eras could have been more smooth. My favorite portion was the chapters where the eras did not change and the story moved seamlessly.

The characters in Ramayan Era are comparatively well narrated as compared to the ones in present with the exception of Krish. There are times where the plot feels too much descriptive and dragging. The end felt rushed and abrupt with a possibility of continuation.

Whilst its debatable as to whether one agrees with the books viewpoints, Dr. Joshi has made a laudable effort with his imagination and writing. But personally, I felt that the books overall finishing could have been a lot better.

Overall Verdict:- Good effort, but could be better

For Dr. Kanchans Joshi maiden effort my rating for “Tenth Avatar” would be 3/5.

Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Vimanika Comics - The Legend of he Immortal Volume 3

Ganesha is one of the most favorite Hindu God. You will hardly find a Hindu kid who has not heard the story of Ganesha's conflict, death & resurrection with elephant's head. We were brought up listening & watching this story in multiple formats, still, it will never bore you out. The thirth part of Shiva - The Legend of The Immortal by Vimanika comic is the story behind Ganesha's birth.



Book blurb
Vimanika Comics is all set to mesmerise you with Shiva: The Legends of The Immortal (Book 3) - the third installment of the critically acclaimed and highly popular Shiva series. The creative team for this graphic novel promises a visual delight in combination with excellent narrative and well researched mythological adventure. Since the story deals with the birth of Ganesha and his interaction with Lord Shiva, the team has decided to narrate the story in third person and used stylised animation style artwork to appeal to the younger audience as well. After a prolonged marital bliss, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati face their first domestic discord when Lord Shiva enters Goddess Parvati's bath chamber without her consent and intruding on her privacy. Parvati is furious with Nandi for being unable to stop Lord Shiva at the gates of the bath chamber. She creates her own Gana, Vinayak and assigns him to guard the palace and prevent anyone from entering the palace without her permission. She also gives him a magical Danda, staff filled with her powers for protection. The little boy promises his mother to guard the palace under all circumstances and is even ready to challenge the mighty Lord Shiva to a duel to keep his promise. Lord Shiva faces the biggest dilemma of his life where he has to choose between punishing his own son or accepting defeat at the hands of an apparently insolent boy. The graphic novel is high on action and drama with lot of exciting fight sequences between Ganesha and the Ganas, Devas, Kartikeya and Lord Shiva. Get set to treat yourself on authentic Indian mythological adventure in true Vimanika style
I am not stressing more on the story part as 90% of Indians might have known about i. Those who are interested can buy comic from Amazon.

Vimanika has made sure that unlike other kids' comics, they always showed reason behind all mythological events. Many people know this story, but why Shiva replaced Ganesha' head with the elephant is known to very few. When comics come with entertaining learning from, everyone loves it. I am keeping all these Vimanika comics as precious gems for my kid. I will make him go through when he will reach the age.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3/5
  3. Artwork - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, March 17, 2018

I did it my way - An Inspirational Story of Bikram Dasgupta

I rarely read autobiographies. But "I did it my way" by Bikram Dasgupta attracted me as it is about a thought leadership & revolutionary in the field of system & technologies. Being an IT professional with management degree I like to read such stories.


Book blurb
Story of a middle-class Bengali boy whose impatience became the reason for his success.

Bikram Dasgupta has seen it all—from a boy who joined IIT Kharagpur for ‘serious fun’ to selling oxygen cylinders in his first job; from being dubbed as an ‘ideas man’ by IT doyen Shiv Nadar to co-founding India’s number one PC company of its time, and then going solo with his own entrepreneurial venture.
I Did it My Way is not a rags-to-riches story, but a fascinating insight into the life and times of someone who didn’t shy away from thinking big and, for whom, progress meant creating his own road and establishing new milestones. Bikram reveals his beliefs, ideas, influences, failures, and successes in a rollercoaster journey of over 30 years, exemplified by a single-minded, near obsessive determination to move ahead in life, despite debacles.
The book is ultimately about reiterating the belief that every person has the power to create their own destiny. 
Bikram had got the chance to study at one of the best possible educational institutions in India. Being a grad of IIT Kharagpur he met with equal minds & developed himself. He joined Indian Oxygen as his first job, he learned many things there. He lived Vizag for a short span & met a young manager who has inspired Bikram a lot. Bikram's sales traits built on the job. Soon he joined HCL technologies, where he worked directly with the founder. His journey continues when he shifted to PCL and reached a new high for himself & company. Finally, he started his own venture. With his sons, he is now leading his company. He has also established an NGO & adopted an old age home. Throughout his career, his interest towards drama was always alive, he has actively participated in events.

The best part is the book is hardcover, and hardcovers are my personal favorite.  I didn't feel like reading a biography, it was more like reading protagonist Bikram's life journey. I really liked the book. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at FlipkartAmazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review of Earth to Centauri: Alien Hunt

A few months back I read "Earth to Centauri: The First Journey" the first installment in Captain Anara - Antriksh series by Kumar L. I was fascinated by the level of sci-fi novel upgraded by Kumar L in Indian literature. In the genre of sci-fi or space fiction, Indian lacks quality and quantity of books Kumar L can fill that gap. Reading second book "Alien Hunt" was a treat for me.


Book blurb
The year is 2118. The first journey from Earth into interstellar space has been successful, but the explosive secret carried aboard the probe Voyager 1 will have grave consequences.
As Captain Anara and her crew return to Earth aboard their spaceship, Antariksh, civil war breaks out in the world they have just left behind. A cryptic message warns her of the dispatch of mercenaries to Earth. Their mission - unknown but deadly. She may have just days to prevent the outbreak of an interstellar war which would bring unimaginable carnage to Earth. 
Her crew and the National Investigation Agency, engage in the greatest undercover search for the mercenaries in the streets of the megacity. As they race against time to uncover the plot, a traitor is unmasked, and Anara herself comes under suspicion. She must use every ounce of her resourcefulness to protect thirty million people and one unique, innocent life.
Immerse yourself in an edge of the seat techno-thriller on a realistic future Earth and geek out on the technology just a few decades away from today.
The last part ended with captain Anara leaving HuZryss with Joe & Lucy. They were coming back to Earth after a long journey. Unknown to them TruKifs went to an extream and started rebelling against Discat - RyHiza. TruKifs made a powerful weapon and a spaceship to attack the earth. Captain Anara's team got this warning message while they were still on the way to earth. On reaching earth she explained the situation to authorities.

Soon, the extraterrestrial terrorist entered the earth. Their plan was to leave an impact so strong that humans never thought of going back to HyZryss. Being an alien they took help of a human. A traitor was in for personal gain. I would recommend you to read the series to know what will happen to earth.

The writing style of Kuma is plain and straightforward. Where the first volume was more explanatory for the initial building block for series. This part is more filled with an action thriller. The author has tried to make readers visualize the futuristic world with advanced technologies & gadgets. He has thought about 70-80% scenarios as per future technologies.

I found some flaws in the plot
  • Suspense behind Biw. Can't explain exact details as I don't want to give spoilers
  • TrueKiff spaceship hidden on the dark side of the moon. But in the first part, it was discussed that human has already colonized the moon. So how come no one has seen a spaceship landing on the dark side of the moon
  • Tej was shown as an intelligent agent. They how come she did blunder of using Prana protocol when she knew target cannot be reached
  • Terrorist's easy entry & exit to the underground city of Shivaji Nagar
  • Terrorist used tons of earthen technology in traitor's absence
Well, it doesn't mean I didn't like the book, I just became more a fan who scrutinize plot in detail. You can find many such plots in Star Trek or Star Wars as well. In short, I liked the book and I am already a fan of captain Anara series.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Character - 3.5/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review of a Self-help book - Stepping Stones - Taking Towards The Goal by Lubhna Dongre

When Vishnu told me about 14-year-old girl's self-help book, I didn't believe him. So he sent me the link of "Stepping Stones - Taking Towards The Goal" by Lubhna Dongre. I was dumbstruck when I checked the book. Being a teenager I was eager to read it.


Book Blurb
As the sun consistently rises and sets, you too must approach your goals with the same commitment and steadiness, every day, like nature, and contribute to the world by passionately living your purpose. Some days you may toil and sweat; other days you may carry a lighter load, finally basking peacefully in the fulfilment of your dreams. You make a contribution to life. You find yourself living in harmony with seasons, knowing your mission is right. The cycle of life continues, and you move into the cycle.

Are we setting goals and if yes are they right; what is the future of them? Explore the many questions with this teenage girl through the pages with her thoughts and the guidance from leaders which are best suited to guide the youth. Lubhna takes you through a journey starting with knowing yourself to the ultimate goal of life. Look through the perspective of what a teen thinks about purpose, programming, pleasure, peace and so on...
Dive into the world of contribution.
"Letters and emails from eminent personalities, guiding you towards significance of goals in life."
Lubhna has used a mix of self-help & motivational to give a good touch to the book. She has presented "P"'s of life. According to her "P"s of our life are potential, purpose, programming, progress, plan, problems, persistence, power, performance and peace. These "P"s can help us to grow and live peacefully. You can relate more once you read through the chapters.

The work and research that author must have done for the book are clearly visible while going through the pages. She must have read the ample number of books to know what teenagers' reading preferences, behavior, and likings. She has covered everything that a teenager is must be in need of reading. Her concept of bringing important points to the reader is wonderful. 

Talking about the writing style, although the writing is quite good I would suggest that if some kind of exercise/game or fun fact/example would be there in this book then this book could have been on the other level. I feel the book is written for teenagers, and they are not fond of the self-help genre. As this genre require quite some efforts from reader's end. Giving them concept only would get them bored. Balancing concepts with examples will maintain reader's interested. Having said that, I still admire this book.

If you have just completed your board's exam and you want a clear vision of what to do next then you must read this book.

It takes a lot of courage and dedication to write a book at this age so for that I would like to congratulate the author Lubhana Dongre, Keep it up.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Concept - 4/5
  3. Content - 3.5/5 (Due to absence of examples/fun-facts)
  4. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Vengeance of Indra - Vikramaditya Veergatha - 3

"Vikramaditya Veergatha" is slowly taking over the place of "Shiva Trilogy" by Amish Tripathi in my personal Indian mythological fictional 1st position. Shatrujeet can see many such fans having the same opinion. The way Avanti & neighboring states are being portrayed, I can feel that India has its own version of "The Game of The Throne". I think Indian director should grab the opportunity otherwise some foreign entity will milk it.

Book Blurb
VENGEANCE IS A CAGE. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM.
In their greed to possess the deadly Halahala, the devas and the asuras have employed every dirty trick against Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine. But the humans are still standing, bloodied but unbowed.
When the wily Shukracharya discovers the secret to breaking the Council’s unity and strength, he forges an unlikely alliance with his arch-enemy, Indra, to set a deceitful plan in motion.
As cracks emerge between the councilors and their king, ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Vikramaditya and Kalidasa’s friendship, signaling the beginning of an eclipse that will cast a long shadow over all that Vikramaditya holds dear. And into this shadow steps Indra, bearing an old grudge – and a devastating new weapon.
How much longer before the Guardians of the Halahala finally fall apart?
Talking about the story, after the defeat of Ahi, under the cunning guidance of Shukracharya, devas took the road of "Divide & Conqure" to break down Vikramaditya's & his council of Nine. Kalidasa was allowed to leave Sinduvrata unharmed by Samrat and Kalidasa went to Hunas. This has started creating voices in council & allies of Avanti. On top of that Indra's interference have made situation worst for Vikrama. On the border, Ghatakarpara was kidnapped by Shakas On and all in this volume Vikramaditya's life became burning hell from troublesome. The only hope for Samrat is an unknown may-be ally from Dandaka for which they started exploration & powers of councilors.

Talking about action thriller series, this volume is more about building a bigger battlefield for upcoming wars & clashes. Just like Harry Potter where story reached towards wizard politics in 5th part, this volume has a bigger role to play in upcoming volumes. With more than 4 fronts to fight back with little/thin layered ally will be a bigger challenge for the Samrat in coming challenges.

With pace reduced compared to last two parts & too many characters & plot to get aligned I think the author may have to add one more volume in series. Well for Vikramaditya-fan like me, it will be a treat.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Characters - 5/5
  3. Content - 4.5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Book Review Saints Known to Me By D M Kher

India is full of sages & ascetic personality. "Saints Known to Me" is a collection of 15 such persons. Most of these sages were from British India time.


Book Blurb
Anyone can do miracles! The author late Mr. D. M. Kher has experienced many miracles presented in this book some hundred and fifty years ago and confirms that a yogi, by means of his practice gets knowledge of future events and knowledge of his past births. He is freed from hunger and thirst. He can walk on water and can float in the air. He can make his body as light as cotton and can thereby walk in the air. A devotee acquires some supernatural powers by virtue of his firm devotion to his desired deity and on the strength of these powers he can work some miracles for which human intellect fail to find any earthly explanation. The true, mysterious anecdotes about unknown yogis, saints and sages from British India are presented in this book.
The author D. M. Kher has spent a great deal of time with various sages & saints. In his childhood, he listened to stories of various sages from Kaka Puranik (1st sage discussed in the book) Each of the personalities had done something different which was not possible with normal men's life. There was something mystique around their life & their powers.

Well, those who believe in super-natural spiritual stuff will love this book. The modern era guys may find these stories bit superstitious. 15 main character's part was not that unrealistic but characters given in appendix may raise questions in your mind for their credibility. Again my first spiritual-religious read for me.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3/5
  3. Overall - 3.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Book Review Zelaldinus: A Masque by Irwin Allan Sealy

If I haven't read this book I would not be knowing that Zelaldinus is "Jalal-ul-din" a.k.a. Akbar. A foreigner in 1590's used "Zelaldinus" name to describe Akbar. I won this book through Giveaway arranged by Vivek Tetuja & Aleph books.


Book Blurb
On a camel’s back hill beyond Agra stands a Redstone citadel altogether different from the white marble Taj Mahal. Fatehpur Sikri is the capital Akbar built to honour the saint who foretold the birth of his first son. In the inner court of the king’s palace is a broad stone terrace with a chequered pattern that resembles a game board. Here, accounts say, Akbar played a kind of chess using human pieces from his harem of three hundred. Costumed in various guises, his women would have presented lively masques upon this stage.Zelaldinus mounts such a pageant, glittering and fantastical, where past and present, nobles and commoners, history and fiction rub shoulders. Its variety of verse and prose forms evoke the carnival spirit of a masque. Underlying the depiction of a rich and varied court life at Sikri are reflections on kingship, a meditation on fathers and sons and a plot within a plot that tells a crackling story of love across the Pakistan border—while through it all strides the nimble ghost of Akbar himself. Jalaluddin (Zelaldinus) Akbar.
As far as story & theme goes a traveler/explorer Ivy came to Sikri. He met the spirit of Akbar. Together they went to various places. Their visits & conversation showed the history of the city & its architecture.

The book is not for entertainment seekers. The theme is different, the style of narration is different (it is in poems & phrases). You need to give serious efforts to read this book. Talking about the language used, that's also unique, and its difficulty level is also high. New entrant should avoid this book. For critically acclaimed book lovers, this is a dessert for you. 

All the trait that makes a book stand out of crowd are present in this book. But at the same time, it can affect its readership. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3.5/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Overall - 3/5
Book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Monday, March 5, 2018

Comic Review - Shiva - The Legend Of The Immortal Book 2 by Vimanika Comics

I was completely in love with quality & level of artwork of Vimanika when I read the first volume of Shiva. So bar for next volume was already set higher in my mind. I am happy that it was matched.


Book Blurb
After the huge success of Shiva - The Legends of the Immortal Book I (Graphic Novel) Vimanika Comics presents its sequel Shiva - The Legends of the Immortal Book II. The sequel promises to match and perhaps exceed the critical acclaim & Success of the first graphic novel of the Shiva series. Buoyed by the success of the Book I, team Vimanika has crafted this story in a first person narrative with Lord Shiva acting as the narrator. The sequel picks up from the point where the first story ends. Lord Shiva has turned into a Aghori(Nomad) and is grieving for his beloved Sati. Sensing an opportunity to prolong his reign, a tyrant Asura(Demon) called Tarkasur seeks a boon from Lord Brahma that he might be killed only by the son of Shiva. Tarkasur then ushers a reign of terror and oppression destroying Vedic culture. He conquers the three Lokas and the Devas are forced to live in exile. Lord Vishnu assures the Devas that Maa Jagdambe will take a reincarnation in the form of Parvati. Shiva - The Legend of Immortals II, dwells extensively on a love story of Lord Shiva and Parvati and the interesting incidents of their marriage. Vimanika comics is synonymous with authentic Indian mythological stories and the team promises to continue this tradition. The graphic novel has been extensively researched by our research team. The artwork is aesthetically pleasing befitting the stature of Lord Shiva. May Lord Shiva keep blessing us perpetually.
The first part completed with Shiva in turmoil after losing Sati An asura named Tarakasura got boon from Brahma that only son of Shiva can kill him/ This set trail of events for the union of Shiva and Shakti once again. Shakti - the divine Goddess - took birth as Parvati. Through her tapas - asceticism she convinced Shiva to marry her. But things were not smooth, as deva's intervention made many things went haywire. Do read the second volume for more.

Vimanika has improved a lot in the context of content alignment. The confusion in dialogs following was high in Shiva, medium in Durga & low in this part. The consistency of figures also improved a lot. A perfect gift or read for the young generation to make them aware of Hindu mythology. 

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Artwork - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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