Aditya Iyenger

Palace of Assassins by Aditya Iyengar

12:54:00 AM

As Ashwatthama, the lone survivor of the Kaurava camp, slowly regains consciousness, he realizes, to his horror, that he has been condemned to a life of immortality and leprosy by Krishna, the mastermind behind his opponents’ victory. Burning with hatred for the Pandavas for killing his friend Duryodhana, and stricken
with anger at his own fate, he vows to seek revenge.

When he hears of an infallible gemstone that promises to restore his mortality and cure his leprosy – and allows him to exact vengeance – he is determined to go to any length to acquire it. But he finds himself facing an impossible choice, for his quest could result in the death of the woman he loves.



I had read and reviews Aditya's first book The thirteenth day and I had mentioned that this guy has a knack of spinning very realistic accounts from the mythologies. He has done the same with Ashwatthama this time. The book starts from the day after the war has ended  , the curse placed has taken effect and Ashwatthama lies alone in the desert to deal with his immortality and leprosy. What begins from here is a purely fictional yet quite interesting story of his revenge , love and the a lot of realizations of the aftermath of choices. By all accounts this one is a fast , engaging read with almost no flaws. As a lover of thriller / adventure I relished this one and it was rarely that I felt  I am reading a mythology book. 

Aditya's writing is taut , the story has good pace and twists and the characters well sketched. There is no moment that the story feels dull. I quite enjoyed the monologues that go on in Ashwatthama's head about his past and present , with a certain voice of sarcasm and wit thrown in. It is the kind of story and writing i expected from Aditya based on his first book. 

But this is totally fictional tale that has some refernece from Mahabharata makes it a little hard to love. If one expects the real , researched tale of Ashwatthama, one might be disappointed. If you treat it as just another fictional book , then the lead character needs a bit more flesh. At the end of the book , I had more sympathies with Ashwatthama but could not fully cheer for his victory either.

My Rating : 3.5/5

Buy the book here

Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

3:35:00 PM



The sleepwalker might appear slow in the beginning but somehow that works favorably for this story. There is dual narration though it is not clear till the end who is the second narrator.

This is a story of a mother and wife who disappears one night. She has a known history of sleepwalking hence everyone assumes she has walked out of the house that night and either got hurt or killed. The body surfaces after months of the actual incident and all the while the daughters and husband deal with the situation in their own ways , slowly unraveling and barely functional. The case is being worked by a detective who was a friend of the mother from her sleep clinic and now gets involved with the daughter.

The author has researched well about the disorder and various ways that the sleep disorders manifest in people. The way it affects the family is handled subtly in the narration. What I find very touching is the way out understanding and anger for our parents change as we know more and more about their life. I wished so many times that parents talked more or elaborated more but perhaps their instinct to protect us are too strong.

I was totally hooked to the book till I finished it. It was gripping , heart warming and surprisingly sad in its own way.

My rating : 4/5 

apocalypse

The Girl with all the gifts by M R Carey

11:47:00 PM



I rarely (can) read the books picked for group reading. Or even as part of challenge , I do not read out of my comfort zone genres. But something about this hooked me from the moment I read the blurb. The story is of a group of zombies ( who are basically in human kids bodies ) being kept together as prisoners in an experimental scientific base camp.

Meline is the brightest of this  set of zombies who adores one of her teacher like nothing else. She dreams of only being together with the teacher and to win her approval for everything she does. Life takes a turn when these both have to run for their survival along a few other casts.

The reason that the book surprises you is because it does not reveal the intent or history of the people who set the camp immediately. It takes time building the suspense and by then you are intrigued enough. The way Meline choses her upbringing over her natural instincts and proves to be an ally in this war zone is remarkable.

I totally enjoyed this book , even when the end seems a little dark.

My rating : 4/5

PS - I hear that the movie is very good too. 

bookish

The Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz

1:21:00 AM



This book is originally in Spanish , translated to english by Lucia Graves who has translated most of his works to english. I mention the translator since a messed up translation has ruined many a books. So this book is not just brilliant in its plot , it's writing , the intrigue and the characters but also that even in English, it has some amazing quotes and poetic , beautiful passages.

The story starts with a boy of 10 who picks the last book by an unknown author Julian Carax. Soon he comes to know little bit about the author's life and when some one wants to take the book away from him to destroy it, he wants to know why. As much as he is curious , he is also baited by men and destiny to go on a journey to find about Carax and to protect the last copy of his book. Soon he , his friends and his life gets tangled with people from Carax's life, concluding with both the lives almost a mirror to each. As it is said in the book , a reader mirrors what he reads and vice versa, it almost feels surreal and magical, this impossible tale of love and hatred.

Needless to say, I was hooked to this book within the first two chapters. It took me 3 days to read this book and I am thankful there was weekend that let me spend so much time reading. I felt like Daniel , trying to unravel this author and to know why some one hates him so much to destroy all his mentions and words. This was a brilliant tale with so many layers , human emotions and everything tied to beautifully in the end. Am amazed everytime I read of a story spanning generations and common folks with their own set of belief and fates so closely linked that it's no less than a sorcery to come up with such a web. This book is a similar web you will lose yourself gladly.

A must read for all book lovers.

My rating : 5 ⭐

Nimue

Unns by Sapan

12:30:00 PM



I liked the cover and the name , the moment  I saw this book. So , i immediately started reading this one , and the beginning was quite intriguing. I so much liked the childhood love talks and the sweet gestures and the way their story unfolds till the last day of school year. That was really well crafted and realistic writing. The chapter names are so unique , always a version of love, in ways we can not even imagine. But Atharva lives all these stages. Years later when they meet again , and the way Atharva handles his head and heart makes interesting read. There are layers that you see yet miss out when the things are flowing. And then the twist happens. Actually shit ( life ) happens.

So far so good , apart from such abrupt change of scenes. For this, I so much blamed the editor ( or lack ? ). When again after close to a decade , life brings them face to face , I expected a better closure to the story. Here the plot is a bit erratic. It is too plain and dull that I took 3 days to finish the last 50 pages of the book . There was no clarity in the ending. And it disappointed me a little.

Read this for some cute conversations and good strategic thinking added t9 the story.

My rating : 3/5 

cover reveal

#CoverReveal Les Just Not Be Only Friendz (1) – a novel by Vikash Sharma

9:00:00 PM

Les Just Not Be Only Friendz (1) – a novel by Vikash Sharma is set to have its digital launch on March 18, 2017. The paperback will be hitting the stores in the month of April.

About the book:
Les jus not be only friendz (1) is based on relationships and various phases of a graduate student’s life. The novel is set in Noida (NCR) in the time-period of 2009 - 2011.
The novel tells the story of a young, average performer and simple middle-class guy, who in desperate bid to not join his father's profession of selling mechanical spare parts in a small town, comes to Delhi after graduation to study in a Film school, hoping to make it big and become successful in a short time span. 
Aakash opts to stay with his old school friend Dhiru and his trouble making friends, who were perusing engineering from Noida. Before he could sink with the feel of Delhi NCR, he falls for a girl named Neha and finds him swept away by love and varied emotions. Dhiru does not like the progress in Aakash and Neha's blooming relationship and consistently tries to act as second fiddle.
In order to save his friendship with Dhiru and in seeking Neha’s love, Aakash goes through various troublesome phases, which test him over time and eventually changes him from a shy and simple person to a completely different kind.
Towards the end, in order to prove his true love to Neha, Aakash accidentally ends up doing something that he had never dreamed of. The incident terribly jeopardizes their relationship. Will they ever get back to each other? 



About the author:
Vikash Sharma was born in Haryana in 1987. He has travelled various states of India, to explore about the lives of people, places, languages, cultural differences, festivals, religions, and the rest.
He currently lives in Mumbai. He is a freelance writer, photographer, traveller, producer and a filmmaker. He believes in wandering, seeking happiness in small things, and sharing it with people.
‘Les just not be only Friendz (I)’ is his first novel. He is currently working on the second part of the trilogy of ‘Les just not be only Friendz.’
Read more about him here.

cover reveal

#CoverReveal Dangerous Games by Danielle Steel

1:08:00 PM

Danielle Steel has always helped cure my reading block. Anytime I am feeling unsure what to read and wether it will help my mood swings , I pick a good engaging fiction and Steel has never let me down . So when during the current busy times and no-reading phase of life , when I got the announcement email for her latest book, It was like a god-send sign. Here's what came in the mail today morning.




Synopsis : 
Television correspondent Alix Phillips dodges bullets and breaks rules to bring the most important news to the world. With her daughter in college, and working alongside cameraman Ben Chapman, an ex-Navy Seal, Alix exhilarates in the risks and whirlwind pace of her work. But her latest assignment puts her at the center of an explosive story that will reshape many lives, including her own: investigating damning allegations involving the vice president of the United States, Tony Clark.
Alix starts with a nationally revered woman who may be the key to exposing frightening secrets. Olympia Foster is the fragile, reclusive widow of America's most admired senator, who had been destined for the presidency before an assassin's bullet felled him. Since then, Olympia has found emotional support in Clark, who once wanted her as his wife and now stands as her protector and confidant. When Alix begins to dig deeper, federal agents pick up the trail. Then the threats begin.
As the stakes rise in this dangerous game, Alix needs Ben's help as never before. Soon they realize they are grappling with an adversary far more sinister than they had imagined . . .


Review to be posted next week

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