I have read 34 Bubblegums and Candies before, and it was interesting. In a way, this book is like old wine in a new bottle, and some rebranding of course. Right off the bat, I liked the title and the cover art much better.
Crime fiction is a genre many writers seem to be attempting these days in Indian writing in English. This book came my way quite unexpectedly, and looking at the cover design, I never thought I would read it. As it turns out, it helped break a reading block that had been holding me back for a while.
‘Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision merely passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.’ – Joel Barker
To have a vision, I suppose, one must dream. Then action can be envisioned to step towards making the dream a reality. There are many stories around us about such dreams that have become true. There are some realities we see doing well, but don’t know the story behind it, the dream that got it started, and the thoughts behind it. Through this book, Prachi Garg brings stories of twenty women and their stories, their ventures to the fore.
It’s quite a challenge to review or discuss non-fiction, at least for me. In a way, I suppose, I’d rather go away from reality in a fiction rather than experience another’s reality through words. Reading realistic fiction is tricky then, because on one hand it reads like a fiction, but on another it is the reality of someone after all.
There are many love stories when it comes to Indian Writing in English. I’ve read quite a few. This book is a love story, but it is the true story of the author Ajay. It’s the story where he recollects his college life, how he met, fell in love with and married Bhavna, and the story of their life together.
As a writer, I’m quite certain there are genres that I’m quite fond of, and good at, and comfortable with. And when I write, I turn to those genres than experiment with new ones. When a writer changes genre, it makes me wonder if the new choice will be affected by the old one. I haven’t read Abhisar’s previous works, but I had heard of them; and good things of one in particular. So it was with that aforementioned wonder that I started reading this book.
Abhimanyu Sharma is 13 years old, on the verge of something special, but that something is taken away from him with a line. If that wasn’t enough to affect the youngster, a more personal loss affects him even more deeply. That moment transitions him into the future where we see a much more changed version of that boy, and one which we don’t expect. But such is life, isn’t it?
As a writer, I can relate to the young Abhimanyu in many ways and can honestly say that I’ve been in his shoes. It’s the story that Abhimanyu pens down that held my attention most in the book. I can relate to the reaction of his father. And I can definitely understand the pressure he felt and the emotions he went through at that time. Perhaps that’s why this book and Abhimanyu’s story appeals to me and engages me as a reader.
It’s set in a time when life wasn’t easy in Delhi. Though there is opportunity for the thriller writer in him to take over, Abhisar uses that setting to bring the emotions and relationships to the fore rather than go the gory, descriptive way. There are aspects to this story that sometime redefine love, and even strengthen that definition.
If anything brings this story down a notch, it might be the pace at the initial stages which fluctuates a lot. It doesn’t engage me as much at the start as it does once it’s set in a bit. And I wish the author had chosen a name for the protagonist that was not so similar to his own. Though not a negative to the book, it confused me a little.
I liked the narration, which helps to move the story along nicely. I liked the cover design too. The typos, yes there were a few, didn’t hinder the story much either. Overall, though not perfect, I can say that it’ll be a story that I re-read again soon for sure.
|Title: A Hundred Lives for You|
|Author(s): Abhisar Sharma||Genre: Fiction|
Srishti Publishers & Distributors
|No. of Pages: 250||Price: Rs. 195|
(© 1st April 2015)
The expectation about a book is different when it comes to books in a series. The second book is judged by the quality of the first. If the first was up to the mark, the expectation from the second is that it’ll be equally as good if not better. If the first was below par, the expectation from the second is that it addresses the flaws of the first while making sure it is up to the mark. The first book in the Saga of Agni was one of my favorite reads, and the first from this publishing house that I had read. The sequel taking two years kind of makes this read almost standalone, because the plot and characters of the first were beginning to fade away. It helped that there was a recap, but would’ve been brilliant if it had come a little sooner.
Let me try to give you a brief idea of the book. It happens in two kingdoms, Land of the Rising Sun (LRS) and Land of the Setting Sun (LSS). We pick up from the prequel, and join Agni and Vrish on their quest to cross from the former into the latter. Agni is still haunted by the loss of the girl he loved, Vrish’s sister Malini. Yani, son of King Adhirath is trying to understand his own past. On another side, there’s the Princess of Leu, Lysandra and her battles, both for Leu and to prevent her uncle’s elder son Demetrius from taking the throne.
I stick with what I said in my review of the first book. One of the strongest points for this book is Arka’s narration. It has just enough in it to traverse the line between plain and magical, which is good for a fantasy. I like the characters and the choice of a courageous princess too. The book does its part to answer some questions which are left open at the end of The Secrets of the Dark. And it does justice to keeping both kingdoms LSS and LRS involved well. Expectedly, with Agni’s quest, most of the action is LSS oriented, but I liked the splits as opposed to that in the first book. On a side note, if the publishers are planning a reprint of the first book, I would definitely recommend they stick to the cover style of this book for that reprint. The cover design of The Rise of the Grey Prince is beautiful, much better than the prequel’s.
On the flipside, I felt the book to be confusing. This, I feel, is because of two reasons. First, as I mentioned earlier, the first book was released two years back, and the scenes have begun to fade. It’d be good if the two books are read back to back. It’ll sit much better than reading this book alone. The second reason is that there are parts where the storyline goes into what feels like a flashback. It’s much unexpected, and leaves me wondering what is happening. The ending is slightly abrupt as well. The list of characters at the end of the book could’ve been fully done, rather than give only the characters newly introduced. It’d help a new reader know a bit more of each character. And I’d definitely say the book can be edited much better.
Read the story for the story, forgetting to notice the small details, and you’ll enjoy it. I’d say, in all honesty, that the caliber of the book has dropped down a notch from the first book, so I hope the third one in the series brings a wonderful conclusion. And I hope, for the ease of the readers too, that it comes sooner than two years down the line.
|Title: Rise of the Grey Prince||Series: The Saga of Agni #2|
|Author(s): Arka Chakrabarti||Genre: Fantasy|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9789382665311||Publisher: Srishti Publishers|
|No. of Pages: 230||Price: Rs. 150|
(© 14th March 2015)