Posted in Books

Book Review: RIP, by Mukul Deva

About the author:
Mukul Deva is a best-selling author, noted for the spy-military thrillers on terrorism and action. His most famous works include Lashkar, Salim Must Die, Blowback and Tanzeem.

Impressions off the back-cover:
A thriller based in India, with a group of people trying to bring attention to bring attention to the state of corruption and politics etc. by killing some of those corrupt politicians and people. There are people trying to stop them, as expected and innocent people who might fall in their way, as is also expected. The description and cover design with a syringe, a bullet “I” and a soldier call for a fast-paced deep-set plot with lots of action.

My thoughts on the book:
In a crime thriller novel, the hero is a good person trying to stop the villains from reigning terror or killing good people. There is the thrill of a kill and that too at regular intervals. The pace of the novel is fast, and enthralling. It keeps you from putting a bookmark and stopping the read for a while. In the end, it might even leave you breathless.

RIP, by Mukul Deva has a lot of those qualities. The good people, Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team, the K-Team or the Resurgent Indian Patriots (RIP) are hell-bent at stopping corrupt people from ruling the country and bringing it down, by bringing them down. The villains in this case are trying to stop them from killing the corrupt politicians who pay them heavily. They are led by rogue commando Raghav Bhagat.

The RIP start out with three executions done in similar manners within minutes of each other in different parts of the country, and then send out a mail taking responsibility and also warning the country of 3 more killings in the 3 days to follow. Soon after, a minister along with two other politicians (relatives of 2 victims) assembles his own strike team to stop RIP, also giving reports of the police leads to them. The excellent narration keeps us hooked to the story which is like a cat-and-mouse between RIP, the cops and the secret strike-team.

The sub-story also brings a romance element into the picture, and it is dealt with very nicely without hindering the thrill part of the plot. The military details have been given due diligence given their delicate nature and the characters sketched very nicely.

Overall opinion:
“You can smell the gunpowder. Such is the power of the words of Deva.” – The Hindu

I don’t know if it was gunpowder but the book did have a distinct scent to it. The book is a page turner for sure. The action is literally throughout the book. I don’t find any characters that are there for the sake of. Each character has been handled with care, their mindset and thoughts sketched well. It leaves us thinking if such a patriot can be real. This is the first time I’m reading Deva’s work. It is excellent. I’m certainly going to try and find more of his books to read.

Rated a 9/10
Rated a 9/10

Book Details:
Title: RIP
Author: Mukul Deva
Genre: Crime Thriller
ISBN: 978-93-82618-19-5
Price: INR 200
Publishers: Westland


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. This is not a paid review.

Also for the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve, First Reads Challenge at b00kr3vi3ws, Alphabet Challenge at A Bookworm’s Musing.

(January 30th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

I remember reading this short story when I was in school. It was quite recently, as I was browsing through the free Kindle eBooks on Amazon, that I saw this title again and thought to read it.

Very few would not know this story, I feel. This is the story of Della and James, a couple, who each have a prized possession. They aren’t very well off but for those two possessions. The story takes place on Christmas Eve when each wants to gift the other something valuable, but find they don’t have the means to, so they sell their possessions. The decision to do so doesn’t go expectedly, but they still find a gift.

The story is one of my favorites. It portrays a very pure love. For them to let go of their favorite possessions to get the other a valuable gift showed that love very well. Even when they found it didn’t work out as planned, they realize that they haven’t lost much at all. They realize that what they lost can be found again, and in the meanwhile, they have a very wonderful gift… the love they have for each other.

I’m happy that this book is free on Kindle, and now I can read it again whenever I want to.

Rated a perfect 10/10
Rated a perfect 10/10

Book details:
Title: The Gift of the Magi
Compiled by: O. Henry
ISBN: B0082Z3S3G
Genre: Short story
Publishers: Kindle eBook
Price: Free


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

(Jan 24th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai, by Rishi Vohra

Impressions off the back:
The book sounds interesting. There’s this protagonist who sounds like he is seriously misunderstood and bullied, then there’s a whiff of romance indicated and also some fantasy with superheroes too. A mix of events et al. happening at a railway colony in Mumbai… I’m eager to see if the author can blend genres well.

My thoughts on the book:
To delve into the mind of a misunderstood person is never easy. As hard as we try to put ourselves into that person’s shoes, we can’t portray or feel the same as that person because at least a small part of us still looks at the situation from our own point of view rather than that person’s. If just a misunderstood person’s point of view is difficult to narrate in first person, then to look at life from the point of view of an autistic person is quite another level.

The protagonist, Balwant Srivastav is an autistic person. Sort of like how Ishaan’s parents, and other teachers in Taare Zameen Par do not understand that he is dyslexic and needs more attention than his brother, even Babloo’s parents and the railway colony community do not understand that he is autistic and needs to be treated right. They call him psychotic and schizophrenic and autistic to his face, and think very less of him. In the first chapter itself, Babloo tells us all that, and how he is in love with a girl called Vandana in the neighborhood. His parents think of him as bringing sadness to the family and dote on his younger brother Raghu instead.

I particularly admire in these opening chapters, the attention to minute details in Babloo’s daily routines. Though the painstaking effort does drag the story quite a lot, I wonder if perhaps that’s how the mind of such a person might work. They are meticulous in their behavior so this might as well end up being a planned stroke rather than unplanned boredom.

In the colony, there is only the girl Vandana who seems to understand Babloo, and hence the immediate attraction to her. Vandana’s character is sketched as well as Babloo’s. The other secondary characters don’t stand out as much, which is okay. The author wishes to put forward a tale of love, being understood by one heart is enough to give hope to live even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand you. I like that thought.

If the fantasy character of the Rail Man is to be talked of, then Babloo’s confrontation with a gang of guys attempting to rape a young woman and his determination to stop them from doing so is what brings about the Rail Man. A brave savior, or maybe the right place at the right time. Either ways, from the point where this comes, the story seems to move quicker, so Rail Man might be sort of a savior for the story too.

Overall Impressions:
It was only recently that the author Rishi Vohra approached me asking if I was willing to review his book here. I’d read a review of the book by two of my friends earlier and was contemplating the read, so when he sent me a signed copy, I was quite happy. The language is simple, and the dialogues and monologues thoughtfully expressed. There are characters that drift in and out without much prominence or maybe need, like Sikander perhaps, but if they’re not prominent, the story isn’t hampered as such. The opening few chapters are very detailed and slow-paced. If it’s intentional, to portray the meticulous nature of the protagonist, I guess it is understandable, but it could have been a little quicker I feel. It’s a one-time read, but that’s understandable given the background and setting of the novel. I’d dearly recommend Rishi to look at a better cover design also.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai
Author: Rishi Vohra
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 9788184953053
Publishers: Jaico
Price: INR 175


This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book but no other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Also for the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve, First Reads Challenge at b00kr3vi3ws.

(January 22nd, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: The Crazy Algorithm of Love, by Rajrupa Gupta

Impressions off the back:
A romance story set in an IT background… kind of reminds me of One Night at a Call Center in regards to the similarity in setting (not an exact match of course but still). It looks like an interesting read. There seems to be a mini-thriller in the plot too… can’t wait to see if that has worked out.

My thoughts on the book:
Best I begin with a disclaimer… the genre of romance fiction is not and has not been my choice of reading. But it seems to be the “trending” genre, and I see a lot of books – anthologies and novels both – come out in this genre. When the authoress drops a hint about reviewing a book, and I later find out she means her debut novel, I’ve no hesitation in asking for a autographed copy. Oddly enough, that’s what she meant in the first place. The book’s name is catchy, and knowing her as I have for a year or two now, I can tell it’s not going to be a waste of time. The book released on January 3rd, 2013.

The protagonist of the novel is twenty-five year old Mouni. She’s a software engineer working for an Indian software company, living the same routine-filled life as most in the IT industry (I can relate, though I’m not exactly knee deep in the industry yet). Her client is Sam, from a big company in the United States (no. not an American. His name is actually Samrat). Without actually meeting each other, they are drawn to each other. The dialogues of the on-phone conversations are quite indicative of this, and if that’s not proof enough, the gal goes to work on a Saturday since she can’t refuse the guy’s request. (That’s sacrilege, going to work on a weekend).

The couple-to-be meet when the clients come visiting to the company to meet the team of developers helping them out, and fall in love with each other. Yes, there is some tension between the two, but they do what they can to sort it out. Sam is shown to be the charming, flirtative type character when it comes to interacting casually with Mou(ni), and also a serious, focused boss when it comes to the goals and targets of the company and project. They hang out, talk casually… she introduces him to her friends, he seems to take her for granted. He recommends that she come for on-site. (Romance aside, this IT stuff got me wondering if I’m lucky to be missing all this. The gal has an amazingly gruesome boss.)

The scene shifts to the on-site in San Francisco. The hero comes to the rescue of the heroine who is having shifting troubles (Coincidentally, he doesn’t know she’s onsite). In the interim of the scene change, the girl is now in an arranged relationship (age and family pressures can do that) and the new guy stays in the USA too (how lucky is that, acc. to the girl’s mother of course). The casual courting continues while our heroine and hero’s relationship strengthens on-site. The caring side of the hero comes to the fore here, and also the protective side as well. The misunderstandings and friendly fights also continue. The arranged relationship veers off in a direction I didn’t see coming (and I’m sure you won’t either) and when the love seems to be heading for a lovely happy ending, yet another misunderstanding pushes them apart, and how!

The last part is more like a romance thriller of sorts. I can’t quite explain it, but I can tell you, it’d make a good movie. It’s not dragging itself either.

Overall impressions:
The book delivers a not-so-simple love story in a very simple language. There is romance aplenty with the nuances of the life of a software engineer also brought to the fore. The character of the hero is drawn quite well, the girl’s too but a lot simpler than the guy’s. I can picture the ending easily though, much before the last scene. The major reason for that I feel is the back-cover. Whereas a blurb is okay, I think the back-cover delves too much into the flow of the book itself. I think it could have and should have been a lot shorter than what is there. Another part I felt could’ve been boosted was a little buildup to the attraction between hero and heroine initially. One or two places, the names are confused with one another, and a wrong name is put. It usually goes with the flow and doesn’t stand out, but in one case, it’s right at a crucial juncture, so it is memorable. The book flows along at a good pace however, and minor complaints/typos aren’t necessarily a hindrance to the beauty of language.

A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: The Crazy Algorithm of Love
Author: Rajrupa Gupta
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-93-82473-27-5
Publishers: Leadstart/Frog Books
Price: INR 195


This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book, but no other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Also for the Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve, First Reads Challenge at b00kr3vi3ws and Mixed Variety Challenge at ALOP.

(January 17th, 2013)