Friday, February 26, 2021

Vengeance of Hope: Can freedom ever be for all? (Silrith #1) by P.J. Berman

Readership of fantasy stories & series cannot be defeated. I am and I will be an ardent lover of this gender, it helps of mind roam out of the real world. These fantasy stories bring novelty to them. Some bring magic and wizardry, while some bring a distant future, while some bring completely dystopian work in front of us. " Vengeance of Hope" brings us one such world.

Vengeance of Hope: Can freedom ever be for all? (Silrith #1) by P.J. Berman

The book can be called a Middle-Aged World Book. Though it is a fantasy book, you will not find elements of magic or supernatural in the story. Berman has conceptualized the Kingdom of Bennvika where our story is based out. After the death of her father, the previous King, Silrith lost her right to the throne and came face to face with tyranny who took over the Empire with evil intentions. Two more characters that get a good platform throughout the story are Ezrina, a tribal woman fighting for the rights of her clan, and Zen, a noble, who wants to correct things by the novel concept. Some multiple subplots and characters will accompany you throughout the stor

Well, plus point of the book, the variety of characters and places, had also added complexity in grasping story at times and is the prime reason why it took me time to finish the book. The story was also a lengthy one, not a light read. Language usage is easy makes it a smooth read

Overall a nice read. I would like to thank the author for providing me with the review copy in exchange for an honest revie

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Feral Dreams: Mowgli & His Mothers by Stephen Alter

It was the subtitle "Mowgli and his Mother's" of the book Feral Dreams that took my attention when I selected the book. But somehow it's a selection of cover, a herd of elephants, that gave me the impression of a wildlife book. And maybe that was the reason it took me some time to take this book. One more reason for the delay in reading this book was smaller fonts than regular hardcovers, otherwise, a short book of 200 pages usually won't take that much time.

Feral Dreams: Mowgli & His Mothers by Stephen Alter

I was under the impression that there might be some retelling of Mowgli Kipling, but no I was proven wrong, and I am glad about it. The book covers the story of a boy who grew up in the jungle, where he was looking after a herd of female elephants. He also roamed in the jungle along with langurs. He was then adopted by a lady and moved to a mi missionary. Throughout the story, you can feel Mowgli's longingness towards the jungle and his efforts in adapting to normal human life.

The book brings different offerings to its readers, catering larger community starting from middle age to all. The author has used relatively easy language, the narration style is simple and straightforward. At times you may get lost in the bounty of the jungle while reading the book, and at times you may find barbarian behavior of selective few humans toward jungle scary and make us believe that we humans are more dangerous than animals.

The book deserves a 3.75 out of 5.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Book Review - Bharatvansh ka udai (Rankshetram #4) by Utkarsh Srivastava

I have read around dozen books in Hindi literature, unfortunately, Hindi authors are not vocal and their books are not appearing on social media as much as English authors. On top of that, there are not many series in Hindi series which you will enjoy thoroughly. I am following two series Hindi series seriously, and Rankshetram is one of them.

Bharatvansh ka udai (Rankshetram #4) by Utkarsh Srivastava

With the fourth part, the story of Rankshetram comes nearer to the bigger stage of the finale. Our central characters are majorly the same as the last part, Durbhiksh, Durdhala, Mahabali Akhand, Meghvarna, Sarvadaman (Bharat). As mentioned in the blurb, this part starts multiple threads in the story, sooner gets matured and finished in this post, but some create new threads for which we will need to read next part and lucky for me, as I have received 5th part with this post. So no waiting for me. I am not divulging more of the story front as the blurb is good and interesting enough.

Coming to writing style, as I have shared in 3rd part review, Utkarsh's writing style is improving with each new post of this series. If you compare the first part of the series with this one you will feel that 1st one might have been written by someone else. And I think this happened because Utkarsh wholeheartedly accepted feedback and worked upon genuine one. 

When the series started, the story's time seems Pauranic times, but you cannot place it among any mythological incident. As the series progressed author has established its relationship with Puru Kula and Bharat of Paurava Clan (later on known as Kuru clan after his descendant King Kuru). I consider it as a strong point showing the storytelling skill of the author. 

I also found some good philosophical discussions between intellectuals. Which I observed first time in the series (sorry if I have missed one in previous parts but they may not be as good as these parts)

My only complaint from the whole series is hurried storytelling, every event takes place almost immediately. For example, if a warrior had left for a place, in the next line he would reach the place. Sometimes I feel that the previous line was redundant.

Coming to cover art, I liked new covers of the whole series, they are attractive enough to capture the attention of the targeted audience.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Shall We Tango, Charlie? by Chetna Lumb Bedi

I have just finished "India's Most fearless" on audible when I saw this book on Writersmelon. I was not aware of the fact that the story was female-centric, instead only the color character on the cover made me believe the book was a love story. The cover was attractive to get at least one glance from any age group interested person. It is not just cover but the story was equally gripping. After capturing the cover photo I was planning to take it after finishing two ongoing books, but I read the prologue and then the next chapter before I realized in 90 minutes I finished 3rd of the book. Yes, it is correct, and you won't believe I have finished the book in the next two sittings.

Shall We Tango, Charlie? by Chetna Lumb Bedi

As the blurb mentioned, "Shall We Tango, Charlie?" by Chetna Lumb Bedi is a female-centric book. Unlike normal female-centric books, which focus too much on the love story, this book is more of an exemplary hardship of a lady in the armed forces and her achievement of reaching elite force's troops. But just hardship won't interest readers, so the author has used the right mix of Ahna's (protagonist) and her near one's issues as well. 

The book has the following unique features

1. Shows work and challenges of armed forces day to day life

2. Shows struggles and challenges to reach elite troops

3. Internal politics and friction female has to go in fields

The book is a good pick at any time for any age and any genre lover. The writing is simple and smooth. The choice of words is good even for beginners. Also, an occasional dose of inspiration, courage, and comic episode keeps the story interesting throughout. With its emotional touch with iron-willed heart character of Ahana has won the heart of readers.

I will give 4.25 out of 5 to this book.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Modern Hindi Short Stories by Bhisham Sahni

A comfy sofa-chair, center table with books & coffee strongly suggests that the book would be a good companion for a nice reading journey. The plain sky-blue background suggests an uninterrupted interest quotient. My assumptions were right when I read the book, "Modern Hindi Short Stories" which was indeed a nice try to bring classic Hindi literature to English readers. 

Modern Hindi Short Stories by Bhisham Sahni

The short book consists of 14 beautiful short stories in less than 230 pages. Each story from a different author, hence touching different notes with narration. Though it is not possible to bring out the same level of the emotional connection while translating, here translator has done a pretty good job. My personal favorite stories are

1. The Mark of Man by Himanshu Joshi

2. Miniature Tajmahals by Rajendra Yadav

3. Sargam Cola by Asgar Wajahat

The best part of short stories is you can read at leisure and without depending upon the previous chapter. I haphazardly read a book.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book.

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Wrath of the Hellfires - Vikramaditya Veergatha Finale by Shatrujeet Nath

Before I start the review, I would like to apologize not only to the author, Shatrujeet but also to the eager fans of the Vikramaditya Veergatha series for delaying my review. I know when I got the book, I had planned to finish it within a week. But due to some unforeseen reasons, it took me around 3 weeks to finish it and another week to complete the review of the book. For a regular person, my apologies look like a drama but only a true fan can understand my gesture. 

The Wrath of the Hellfires by Shatrujeet Nath

The last part ended with Vikramaditya cornered on multiple ends, his council of 9 was divided, his family was shattered, his city was almost crumpled, still the Samrat was strong-willed. He didn't budge on any duty. His unnerving loyalties to his subjects and his promise to omniscient gave him fruits in the finale. Read the book to know how multiple attacks on the city were handled by Vikrama & his counselors. The book brings us new characters some as allies and some as foes to the king. Read the book to know how Vikrama dealt with Devas, Asuras, Human (including his vessel kingdom as well as Huna & Saka), and finally Veshaada's Dagger.

I recommend reading previous books before taking this one. This book should not be read independently. Even I refreshed few things from previous parts. Coming to the storytelling as the finale, Shatrujeet has woven all loose threads in tight nodes to make a grand platform. They say even the smallest gesture of kindness can bring unexpected help to you, the same way the author has sprinkled multiple virtuous deeds of Vikrama over 4 parts which came back as a blessing. 

The writing style was as usual smooth and intriguing, and randomness in plot jumps always hooks you to the page. I can remember multiple instances where I was determined to read till a certain incident get finished, but due to jumps, by the time that indecent was concluded my mind was tracking another one. 

The usage of language is easy, and it can cater to a larger reading population. Though the plot demands multiple characters (more than 100 given in index only) I was able to track them through out the story. 

I feel that books should be translated into vernacular languages and also should be adapted for series. If I get time I will make a video on the series covering why it should be adapted. 

I am concluding my review with ratings of 5/5 and a tag of must-reads.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Myths and Legends from Around the World by Sowmya Rajendran

I remember growing up listening to Hindu mythological stories from my father. We did the same with our kids but nowadays he has developed taste for more than Hindu gods and goddesses, even panchtantra. So we shifted to different genres. Recently I was recommended the book "Myths and Legends from Around the World". 

Myths and Legends from Around the World by Sowmya Rajendran

The very first impression of the book cover was that of Maa Bahuchara & her sister deities. I am not sure whether your guys know it or not, but in southern Gujarat, many goddess shrines & temples have similar decoration to the one in cover design.

The book contains a little over 20 short stories, from different cultures and civilizations. Even theme of the stories is also divided into three parts just like of Hindu belief of creation, organization, and destruction. You will find stories based on deities and animals. I read one story per day to my kid for the last month and he enjoyed it.

The language is easy for kids. The story length is also aa per child's interest not too long not too short. If parents read it to a child it will take roughly 10-15 minutes which is adequate for them to get sleepy with a nice story. 

I love it and currently second round is going on with some of the favorites of my child.

The book deserves 4.5 out of 5.

Book links - Amazon & Goodreads