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Title: 31

Publisher: Westland

Author: Upendra Namburi

Number of pages: 372

Price: 250

This one was a complete surprise. I was a tad bit apprehensive when this book came up in Blogadda’s review program. But I had gone ahead and applied for a review and I am glad I did so.

First and foremost, read this book!

It has been ages since I read a riveting corporate thriller. The genre has not been much experimented by Indian Authors and it is indeed heartening that Upendra Namburi has pulled this off his hat.

The book has you hooked from Page 1. It starts on a merry note with Congratulatory emails running back and forth! And then starts the chaos and the author has done a brilliant job of keeping up at it till the very end. I was slightly disappointed when I saw the timeline based narration (which has become quite common these days) but it has worked very well for Namburi.

The reader can relate easily with the main character, Ravi Shastry who knows that the shit is going to hit the fan soon but has no idea how to avoid coming to the streets. The book offers everything that is possible in a corporate thriller; sexual harassment, HR Manipulation, a boss who wants to save his own ass, forgery, internal audits etc etc. The book also has his moments of Humor and has been entwined so well within the story. You would have come across situations like this in your own office and you might have met most of the characters. The protagonist’s wife’s character has been etched out so well and realistic. All characters are distinctive and well thought out. Kudos

‘31’ is a riveting and a must read, if corporate thrillers are your genre. I am not willing to give away more on the plot as one really has to sit down and read this one!

The writing is elegant and keeps the story fast paced till the last page! The best part of the book is the twitter dose from an anonymous insider who keeps giving snippets to the reader and adds a different charm to the narration. Very well done indeed.

The ending is the icing on the cake. We have seen many thrillers where the climax spoils the entire book but this one has got the formula right!

Go get this book and finish it one go!

Mr. Upendra Namburi, we are definitely waiting  for the next one!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

 

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Book: The Krishna Key

Publisher: Westland Ltd

Author:  Ashwin Sanghi

Pages: 464

Price: Rs.250

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Having read Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘The Chanakya Chant’ in one sitting from cover to cover, I was expecting a roller coaster ride with ‘The Krishna Key’. However the fast pace set by the author is dampened by a heavy dose of history and unwanted facts.

It is extremely evident that the author has meticulously put together a voluminous research manual and has wanted to include every possible aspect in the book!

The book starts on a very promising note, introducing a strange character called ‘Taraak Vakil’ who believes himself to be the tenth avatar of Lord Krishna. However the character loses importance through the course of the book. Another character Mataji alias Priya is a complete surprise package.

The one factor I totally loved about the book is the Mahabharata and the Kurukshetra War as narrated by Lord Krishna himself and makes for a very interesting read though it gives no connect to the actual story running in parallel. This is totally contrary to what we have seen in Chanakya’s Chant where the two stories blend together so beautifully.

The actual dose of history is extremely enlightening though it is a complete dampener to the pace of the story.  Of course, the comparison to a certain Dan Brown book is unavoidable though Ashwin Sanghi brings his own charm and style to the book.  Ashwin Sanghi has established a different genre of combining history and fiction and running two stories parallely in a novel. His writing is unique and simple and makes you turn the pages.

Coming back to the Krishna Key, Sanghi explores the myth of Kalki through a tale of murder and an ensuing chase that travels back and forth in time from Vrindavan and Mathura to a classroom in St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, across lifetimes. The characterization is not very Ashwin Sanghi types and could have been way better. It is just that you would expect more out of someone like Sanghi. This was a tad disappointing

The climax of the book was numd and too abrupt. And of course one could not ignore the obvious errors in the book. Anybody would notice a character mix up!

Give this one a read!

PS: I would like to read the Mahabarata, authored by Ashwin Sanghi. Please to take note J

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

 

 

 

ImageUrban Shots, a compilation of 29 stories written by 21 writers. The writers are varied, a mix of popular writers such as Paritosh Uttam, R. Chandrashekar, Malathi Jaikumar, Ahmed Faiyaz and a number of popular bloggers and debutante writers.

Please don’t plunge in to the book right away. Read the foreword. It’s important because, in that Naman Saraiya tells us to give breathing space in between stories. It is important because each story makes you think and it is important to grasp in fully before you move on to the next intriguing one. Each story leaves you wondering, some of them ends abruptly. Some of the stories might need another read.

My top five picks out of the 21 stories would be

  1. Father of my son – Roshan Radhakrishnan
  2. Amul – Arvind Chandrasekhar
  3. The Pig in a Poke – Mydhili Varma
  4. Jo Dikhta Hai, Who Bikta Hai – Sneh Thakur
  5. Hot Pants – Arefa Tehsin

Most of the stories make for a breezy and fun read. All the stories has characters that you meet in everyday life, urban settings that you cope up with every day, situations that you might yourself have been in at times.

The book has an easy narrative, but the plot of each story is different with a dose of surprise which makes it a delight to read.

Read it story by story, line by line. Take in the characters, story and the end.

Amul, the first story in the book leaves you misty eyed. Amul is a story about a mathematics loving kid who has lost her mother. She narrates her everyday life and the climax is sure to make you feel depressed.

Silk is a wonderful story of a con man who buys expensive gifts for married women. The story ends by asking the reader ‘Have you ever felt like Silk?’ Now try answering that.

Across the Seas is a lovely story of a loving mother who misses her son working abroad.

Albama to Wyoming, written by Paritosh Uttam makes you feel dejected. The story is about a Indian Kid who can name every American City and in Alphabetical Order.

Double Mixed is a story about extra marital affairs with a rather amusing finish.

Good Morning Nikhil is the story that makes you go awwww.

Maami Menace is a cute story in its way. It’s about a maami who has the cure for every ailment on earth.

The Peacock Cut is about a sportsman with a peacock cut. There is not much you can take away from this one. I read it twice (because I could not make anything of it) and didn’t quite enjoy it.

Father of my Son is easily the best story. The timing of the humor in the story is perfect and leaves you laughing loud.

The Bengal Tigress is a rather dull story and seems like filler.

P.K. Koshy’s Daily Routine is an amazing story about a retiree. This one both makes you laugh and sad.

Mr. Perriera is that story that you would have happened in your neighborhood. The characterization is brilliant and deserves a mention.

The Wall is a story about a banker undergoing mid life crisis. It basically asks you if you ve hit the wall!

Jo Dikhta Hai who Bikta hai has that kind of a setting that could have happened to you. Lovely story with a lot of hope.

Then interview is a Bollywood story and offers very little. Paisley Printed Memories is a beautiful story on someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Heaven and Hell is about a philosophical Mehendiwalla who brings you to reality. Cats and Sponges is an out and out corporate story, one which you will thoroughly enjoy reading.

You Eternal Beauty is set in Kolkata and delves deep in to the richness of the city. The Window Seat is our everyday story, a situation that you may come across when you take a bus, cab, train, flight.

It’s all good is again in a corporate setting and makes you wonder about how unpredictable life really is.

The Pig In a Poke is a cute email exchange between a teenage kid and a conman. Ready, Jet Set Go is a story on a to be publisher and puts a smile on your face. Things that could happen in a park is well about things that could happen in a park.

Hot Masala is surreal. Set in a park and the story really gives you an insight on how people behave in different circumstances. The Rain Coat makes you feel sad but there is hope at the end of it. The weeping girl is about how a girl steals phones! Hot Pants is that thing which could happen when you walk home from the station, late in the night. But this one makes you laugh!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Book: Chanakya’s chant

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Price: Rs. 195

Number of pages: 443

Life has been hectic ever since I moved to Mumbai. I have not read a book for the past three months. That’s so not me. Marriage, shifting cities, finding a new job, interviews etc etc were priorities and the books I carried all the way from Madras were safely locked in a suitcase. It is certainly difficult for a person who is addicted to reading and manages to read over five books a month. Hence you can imagine the delight when I was selected to be a part of the book review contest by Blogadda. I was even more delighted to receive Chanakya’s Chant because I was looking forward to read this book for long.

Chanakya’s chant has two plots that are interwoven. One set in 340 BC and another one 2300 years later. The book gives an in-depth insight in to how Chanakya dethrones Dhananada, saves Bharat from Alexander and installs Chandragupta on the throne of the Mauryan Empire.

Another fictional story that runs in parallel is that of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, who leaves no stones unturned in installing Chandni Gupta, a slum child as the prime minister ofIndia. Not only that but this Chandni Gupta also manages to serveIndiain the capacity of Prime Minister for three terms.

What made me cringe though was how Chandragupta was simply reduced to a Puppet. It may be acceptable in the case with Chandini Gupta but not so much with Chandragupta. Of course all of us have learnt that Chanakya was Chandragupta’s teacher, but it is ridiculous to suggest that Chandragupta had no role to play in it.

Another major cringe worthy aspect in the book was the generous usage of famous quotes from ‘Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, quotes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Napolean Bonaparte, Oscar Wilde etc. Imagine Chanakya conversing in these quotes. We say Chankaya penned down Arthashastra, so how does the use of such quotes justify the legend that Chanakya was. This was a major major put off.

The liberal use of words like Bastard, cuntface, arsewipe, fucking puts a frown to your face! More so for a story set in the BC. You certainly don’t want to read ‘fucking’ four times in a fucking sentence.

I was glad that Pandit Gangasagar’s story made a more interesting read than that of Chanakya’s. This reflects the story telling ability of the author.

It was interesting how the author has interwoven the two stories. It certainly makes for a page turning and riveting read. I particularly liked the pen ultimate chapter where the author brings in the Shakti triumphs Shiva factor.

The characterization though brilliant was too one dimensional in both the plots. Chanakya and Gangasagar have been portrayed as the ultimate intellect to have been born on earth and everyone surrounding these characters is a bunch of fools who never seem to understand what’s going on in their master’s mind. Consider this, if Chandni Gupta could have served as Prime Minister for three full terms, how she could be as dumb as it has been depicted, barring her stage skills.

Gangasagar Mishra’s plot gets 1.5 points and the interweaving of the plot gets one

This one is worth a read!

Rating 2.5/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!