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Book Review Books

Book Review: A Map of Days

The fourth part of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs does not disappoint. Having finished the first three parts back in early 2017, I came to know of this fourth instalment only last year. Since then, I have been meaning to read this but never actually managing to squeeze this in my never ending TBR pile. But this July, I finally managed to read the book and enjoyed it.

A Map of Days starts where Library of Souls left, the Peculiar Children appearing at Jacob’s door to save him from his parents who were about to commit him to asylum. The Peculiar Children are now ageing at a normal pace, just like normals and they wish to use this advantage to blend in with the others in today’s world.

What starts for Jacob with a commitment to help the children and the ymbrynes soon transforms into his desire to be a hollow – hunter like his grandfather. He now undertakes a mission to help another peculiar with some of his friends.

A Map of Days, like it’s previous three books is very interesting and full of unexpected twists. Ransom Riggs has continued the story in the same engrossing way and the pictures he uses add perfect surrealism to the story.

Transition between years as the children and Jacob move from one time zone to another is seamless and attention to details of a particular era is commendable. Emma & Jacob’s relationship is also worth mentioning. Though Jacob had loved his grandfather, Abe, ghost of dead grandfather as Emma’s lover is still haunting him & Emma as deep down Emma is still not over Abe.

Personally, I think the book could have moved at a faster pace. The attention to details is important here specially when you are “loop” travelling but it also slowed down the plot a little. A little more action would certainly have given the readers some more fun. But, other than that, I can find no fault in A Map of Days. It is a must read series for all.

Two of my favourite quotes from the book:

“All my life, normal people had mostly baffled me-the ridiculous ways they strove to impress one another, the mediocre goals that seemed to drive them, the banality of their dreams. The way people rejected anything that didn’t fit their narrow paradigm of acceptability, as if those who thought or acted or dressed or dreamed differently from them were a threat to their very existence.”

“it’s a lot of cheese.” “It’s the pinnacle of human achievement,” he declared seriously. “I thought Britain was an empire. But this—this—is world domination!”

My rating: 4.8/5

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Book Review Books

Book review: Thirteen Reasons Why

You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life.” – Hannah Baker in Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. In the month of mental health awareness, I picked up this book. Having heard so much about the book, I was quite excited to read Thirteen Reasons Why. It’s about Hannah Baker, the girl who committed suicide and her tapes that she has left for some of her “friends”, 13 people who are in some way responsible for her final act.

The story begins with Clay receiving a shoe box full of tapes which he realises are from Hannah who has been dead for a few weeks now. In the tapes, she talks about all that happened to her and why she took such a drastic action.

The author, Jay Asher has built an amazing story with a continuity that forces one to turn to the next page to know what happened next. Hannah’s account along with Clayton’s narrative of the same time period makes this a very intriguing read.

Though you know what happens in the end, the story grips you because it’s not about what happens but about how it happens. The mental trauma that certain acts can have on others is depicted in a very real manner.

Hannah declares in the first cassette itself that she is making the tapes for people who were responsible for her suicide. From that moment on Clay is intrigued and worried because he liked her and can’t figure out when and how he hurt her so much.

First person narration of both Hannah’s and Clay’s stories is what makes this one a different and intriguing experience and really leaves a mark. I feel that this book is a must read.

My rating: 4.9/5

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Book Review Books

Book Review: The Autumn of the Patriarch

The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel García Márquez. The story starts with the people of an unnamed Caribbean nation finding their tyrannical dictator withered and dead in his house, alone. The man who used to have people killed at his whim and children drowned without any remorse has died a humiliating mortal death.

The story goes on about the atrocities committed by the General and how he ruled over the people with an iron fist. In his own style, Gabriel García Márquez depict autocrats, autocracy and the conquest for power in general.

Most of his story-telling has been through the realms of magical realism and in The Autumn of the Patriarch too, he explores the world of deep politics in the same manner. He describes a tumultuous world being ruled over by greed, corruption, and abuse of power.

Márquez has not given a name or nation to the autocrat, thereby making him a universal entity and the country could be anywhere in the world and the situation could allude to any human being.

“…but he learned to live with those and all the miseries of glory as he discovered in the course of his uncountable years that a lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth,…”

There are words like these that have made Márquez the wonderful story teller that he his and this is the reason people love his books.

The narration of Márquez is as always brilliant but the extremely long sentences are quite bothersome in the beginning. Sometimes, a sentence goes on for pages and the book certainly requires a high level of concentration. I grew quite restless at times while reading the book because at times it felt like nothing was moving forward, but then I made myself continue to read it and I’m quite glad I did so.

My rating: 3.9/5

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Book Review Books

Book Review: Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time. And finally, this March I picked up the book for March prompt of Reading With Muffy challenge. Little Women is about four sisters and one of the most trying years of their lives where they learn to love, share and face the trials and tribulations of life together.

The story begins with the girls preparing for Christmas without their father, who has gone to the war. The girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are amiable young ladies with the oldest 17 years of age. They discuss their hopes and dreams with each other and their mother. In the course of the year that progresses, the four girls learn to love and cherish each other and their home even more as they learn more about life through the various experiences.

The eldest, Meg dreams of living a lavish, comfortable life like they used to before their father lost all his money; Jo is a headstrong girl who writes stories and is highly passionate; Beth is the quietest of all who takes care of all and has a passion for music; Anne is the youngest and the most pampered.

As is common in reading a story written more than one and a half century ago, many decisions of the characters may not make sense to the readers of the 21st century. But, what I found in this book is that nowhere is it preachy or confines ladies to the domestic world. Jo is the biggest example who makes her decisions and is not shy to earn money by selling her written work. Little Women is a beautifully written story and I’m glad I read it.

My rating: 4.8/5

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Book Review Books

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient

This February I picked up a romance to read. I don’t dislike the genre and there have been a few good books that I have read. So this year, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I read The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

The story is about a successful career oriented girl, Stella who is awkward in social situations and a good looking guy, Michael who works as a part time hooker. She hires the guy to teach her certain skills that she doesn’t have and also to teach her how to date.

The premise of the story is fine and there are times when it’s even interesting for a few pages. But mostly I didn’t like it. The characters are not relatable. There is so little time spent with them and so much is spent on sex that it reads more like a M&B book. And I personally outgrew them in high school.

What Helen Hoang needed to do was spend some more time with the lead characters. A successful autistic heroine is a good start but all she does is stay lost in her work and think about sex. There is nothing else to her.

The Kiss Quotient did not leave a very content feeling for me. So yeah, I won’t recommend it to anyone.

My rating: 2.5/5

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Book Review Books

Book Review: Dream Beyond Shadows: No Ordinary Tourist

A lot of times, we go through in our lives what is called an existential crisis. This is when we start questioning all that we do, the way we live, where we work, every aspect of our lives.

The author, Kartikeya Ladha goes through the same and goes out and about to explore himself. He has a good job, with great opportunities for him to grow but one day he realises that he wants more from his life. He wants to search in himself and the world what is it that he truly seeks. The book Dream Beyond Shadows: No Ordinary Tourist is about that journey.

The book is a recollection of the journey he undertakes to Peru. He quits his job and goes on to a country with very little to no knowledge of the language. It’s about the difficulties he faces and how he manages to overcome them. Living in a foreign country, earning his livelihood there, meeting and interacting with new people add to his journey and he gains a knowledge of himself and the meaning of life that we are living.

The writing is quite interesting and takes us on a journey with the author. The poems and illustrations are the added joys of the book. Do read it for a peek into the fruitful experience of the author.

My rating: 4.1/5

P.S. I would like to thank the author for review copy of the book.

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Book Review Books

Book Review: Post Millennial Tales

Post Millennial Tales is a book of micro tales written and illustrated by young twins Navya Singh and Bhavya Singh. The 12-year-old sisters have written tales that are relevant and sensitive. The words depict the true nature of the world we live in and are written from their hearts.

Illustrations in the book have truly added to the experience of reading this book. As you turn the pages, you can’t help marvelling over the amazing thoughts and the pictures depicting these thoughts. Navya and Bhavya are a team and together they have brought awesomeness to my book collection.

Kudos to these two!

My rating: 4.8/5

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Book Review Books

Book review: The Gopi Diaries: Coming Home

The Gopi Diaries: Coming Home by Sudha Murty is the first part of a trilogy. It is the story of a pup who has been adopted by a loving family and is a first-person account of the dog, Gopi.

The story starts with birth of Gopi and how he feels being adopted by a human family soon after. The first part ends with Gopi having a good time at the family’s home with Ajji and others.

This being a children’s book, the writing is simple and easy to understand. The illustrations are spot on and make for a very beautiful book. Sudha Murty has written a joyful book about a pup’s journey which will be enjoyed by children.

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Book Review: Devourers from Suryaksh

She makes people dance around the fire …
… before she kills them in cold blood.

No one knows her true origin. Time readers can’t read this ruthless telekinetic, who snaps necks with a mere hand gesture.

Tej, once a simple villager, now a time traveler, is pulled into conflict as she attacks him in 3057 BC, hunting for his friend. Dead bodies of his loved ones pile up as she ravages through his village. Intending to seek justice Tej races against time itself to fight her: an entity so vile, even her own kind fear her. But can he do this alone?

Devourers from Suryaksh, Part two of the Time Travelers Series starts from where the first part ended. Rigu’s treachery has been discovered and he has been punished. Tej is making peace with the consequences of saving the world and everything seems to be settling down when another attack happens.

Tej’s deadly new nemesis, Nefe has turned up and she has telekinetic powers that Tej hasn’t even seen in anyone else. To destroy Nefe and her army, Tej must ally with Rigasur or the planet earth and the humans will all be taken over by Nefe.

About the story: Science fiction and mythology once again blended together to create an interesting book. The time travelling, telekinesis, possession and technological advances like AI and robotics together create quite an impact and it surely makes for a gripping read. The author, Varun Sayal has carried forward Tej & Rigu’s story and the transformation in their mutual relationship has been depicted well. Tej has been used as a pawn by Rigasur/ Rigu and the betrayal is yet fresh in his heart but Tej lets go of his personal issues and decides to work with Rigu for the greater good.

At times I felt that certain scenes were highly inspired from Dr. Who, the television series. If you have been watching the series, the resemblance will dampen the reading experience at times. But other than that, I would say that Devourers from Suryaksh will not disappoint you.

The ending has hinted towards another part and it should be interesting to read how the story of Rigu and Tej moves on.

My rating: 3.8/5

PS: I would like to thank the author for review copy of the book.

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Book Review Books

Book Review: Demons of Time

Sci-fi plus time travelling equals an interesting tale. Mostly it’s true and in case of Demons of Time, you can say the formula almost delivers a hundred per cent result.

Varun Sayal has weaved a story where we have time demons, who are essentially time travelers gone bad, a young protagonist looking for revenge and a guru who is running against time to stop a grand mishap.

The year is 3077BC and Tej and his mother have escaped the clutches of a time demon, Kumbh, with the help of a guru, Rigu and Kumbh is captued. Twenty years later, Tej is a married man with a 4-year old daughter. His mother has died a few years ago and he is leading a normal village life when Rigu comes to visit him and requests his help in recapturing Kumbh. And so, Tej undertakes a journey spanning more than 5 thousand years to fulfill what he believes is his destiny.

Coming to the writing, it’s good. I found the book quite interesting. Technological advancements and their pros & cons have been well woven with the concept of time travelling. Although, there are times when it’s unfathomable that a person in 3057BC can understand computers and virtual reality so easily. But other than that, most of the story flows well.

The characters do require some more time and development. Human emotions of love, betrayal, anger, etc. have not been portrayed very well. Maybe, we will see more facets of the main characters in the next part of the series.

My rating: 3.4/5

P.S. I would like to thank author Varun Sayal for review copy of this book.