Sunday, December 30, 2018

#627 : The Storm (#2 Ponni's Beloved - An English Translation Of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan) By Sumeetha Manikandan : Review

Ponniyin Selvan is a critically acclaimed Tamil Novel. Set in the Chola period, the story revolves around Sundara Cholan, the emperor. Vandiya Devan, the prince of a fallen kingdom, is tasked to be a messenger by Aditya Karikalan to deliver message critical to the empire. This volume follows Vandiya Devan's journey to Sri Lanka where he meets Prince Arul Mozhi Varman who is in the middle of conquering Sri Lanka. 

The original story as such is ridiculously thrilling. The characterisation, the plot points, all of them are intense and complex that one might feel high and dry by the time they finish reading this volume.  Tamil is a very elaborate language. The original writing is known for it's wordplay, and the plot by itself is famous for its complexity and political intensity. To bring in that effect in a language which is quite limited in it's capabilities and is modern is a great feat. The translator, Sumeetha has evidently done justice to Kalki's work. 

I grew up listening to my grandfather and my mother narrating snippets from the original story as my grasp of Tamil was (and continues to be) very basic. To actually read to read the entire story with all the complexity and layering in place feels so great. The cover work needs a special mention. The Chola ship has been visualised and designed perfectly. 

In short, the book is a must read if your can't read Tamil. Beware, it will leave you wanting for more! 

Do buy the book here on Amazon

Saturday, December 29, 2018

#626 : Aphrodite's Tears by Hannah Fielding : Review

This was the last book I had read in 2017. One of the best read of that year. Took you an year to review you ask? I had been under the impression that I had written about it, but when I searched for it to recommend this book to a friend, I realised I  hadn't. Better late than never!

Oriel Anderson, the female protagonist, is offered a diving expedition job in the beautiful and elusive Greek island of Helios. She is thrilled at the prospect of it but it is short lived when she finds out that the expedition is headed by Damian Lekkas - The handsome young man with whom she spent one magical night. Damian literally seduces her but his past seem to get in between them. 

Intense, passionate, exquisite - these are the perfect words to describe the story and the writing. Having read this writers books before, I literally anticipated enticing descriptions of beautiful landscape, interesting history, strong-emotional-complex-intense characters all bound by a perfect story line. This story, it's characters, the narration is by far the best by this writer. There were few scenes - the one where Oriel and Damian have dinner in his house, the one where she spends a night in the beach and that when they go for a dive - they were all utterly beautiful to read. Her words transported me to Greece! 

Rich prose, perfect narration and a great story line - A must read book if you love romance. Pure unadulterated romance - not like the instant coffee types of romance that is dished out these days in the name of a romantic novels. 

Do buy this book here on Amazon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

#625 : A Game of Pawns by Shantheri Mallaya, Shubhra Rishi & Vinay Kumaar : Review

With no blurb to go on from Goodreads or Amazon, this book was a truly blind read of the year. I prefer to know the pulse of the story before I nose dive into reading it, but once in a while it is good to go blind and I decided this book would be my once in a while case for the year. Did I regret or rejoice? Neither. This was that one book I couldn't decide an opinion on. I kept procrastinating the task of penning down my thoughts as I couldn't reach a conclusion.

The story has multiple distinctive shades which tried to amalgamate into one solid form, but wasn't really successful at it. What began as quite a confusing story line in the start, ended up being a read with a solid impact towards the end. There are multiple story lines which eventually converge into the causes and pieces of a bigger game at play, thus justifying it's apt title. 

The characters were quite interesting with their own quirks, but a detailed description with more shades would really have made a difference. The characters felt as though they were written with an intention to be a part of a mini web series. They story by itself felt that way! I personally would have preferred a narration with richer visual imagery but the story by itself doesn't need much of that. 

A good read if you looking for a byte sized thriller. 

PS. I've have never ever written a review without mentioning a character or even a part of the story line. Since the writers have chosen not make the story line public in terms of the blurb, I decided to follow suit to keep it as mysterious as they intend it to be.

You can buy the book from here - Amazon 

Monday, December 17, 2018

#624 : Roark by Aarti V Raman : Review

Cowboy romance is one sub-genre of romance I have not explored much. Three books is all I managed in 4 years of reading romance. There is this annoying stereotype that this genre is all about brawny hero and damsel in need of rescue - which is such a put off to read about. The last book that I read was quite gloomy and wasn't in spirit with the season that is - The looming New Year. In need of a change in mood and throwing the prejudice outside the window, I picked up this book - a decision I didn't regret one bit.

Brawny hero - check.
Damsel in distress - check.
Damsel in need of rescue - check again! But this is where the twist really is!

In spite of fitting into all the prejudice I had with this genre, the story was refreshing to read. The damsel in question, KC is an automobile engineer with a turbulent past. Roark, our brawny hero - the almost love of her life is just leagues away from the grease monkey that she is. Will this relationship ever work? Is there a relationship in the first place to begin with?

Having read the writer's previous works, writing wise, I was quite comfortable and loved the characterization every bit. The story was fluid and had quite a bit of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The characters are sketched out so well that I was taking turns rooting for either of them at one point.

Indian writers, especially the self published ones, often come under a harsh spectrum of attacks on their writing and are accused of trying to ape Americans. Cowboys do belong to America. Never in a point it ever felt like I was reading a book by an Indian. It was as good as the three other cowboy romances I read by people from that country. Undoubtedly, originality sparkles and shines through all the dirt and this story was every bit original!

Pick up a copy of the book from here - Amazon