Book reviews

Tarikshir: The Awakening by Khayaal Patel | Review by The Quill Company

Author: Khayaal Patel

Publisher: Westland Publications

Ratings: 4/5

 

Summary:

A small princely state in Rajasthan is the last bastion of resistance against the might of the British Empire. While unrest surrounding the sudden death of the king of Devangarh grows, young prince Rudra Pratap Chauhan prepares to ascend the throne.

 

But the kingdom is in turmoil. The Devangarh army is outnumbered and the British forces are closing in. To make matters worse, Rudra discovers the king’s death may not have been accidental after all. The frequent appearance and disappearance of a mysterious, masked stranger, and a series of ritualistic murders in which the bodies have been drained of blood, spread panic across the realm. Who is this creature and how is he connected to all the strange occurrences?

 

As Rudra struggles to manage his new responsibilities and investigate his father’s death, he stumbles upon dark, dangerous secrets that will destroy everything he now holds together.

 

Review:

Tarikshir: The Awakening is a beautiful piece of work which brings together historical fiction and mythology. Khayaal Patel has combined the beginning of the British era in India as well as the Ramayan era. The cover and blurb are both extremely intriguing and would push the reader further towards the story.

 

The mysterious death of the king, horrifying murders and the unraveling of it all by Rudra as he decides whether he wants to defeat the British or make peace, is what this story is all about. The book begins with a vanar (monkey) finding a precious stone in Ravan’s palace and the subsequent death of the vanar. The story then jumps to the British Raj where the king of Devangarh dies and his son, Prince Rudra discovers that the death was falsely portrayed to be an accident and what follows as Rudra uncovers the truth with an unexplained creature living in the shadows.

 

This book effortlessly merges magic, mystery, murder, history and mythology, all into one. Though the narration is fast paced for most of the book, the reader will not get lost or confused in the story, especially when there’s a new twist with every few pages. Khayaal Patel has a unique style of storytelling and has picked up a risky yet captivating plot line.

 

The pace does drop at a few places but the narration easily hides any blunders on the part of the writer. The editing has been done well Khayaal has left nothing missing into making Tarikshir: The Awakening one of the must-reads of this year. Whether it is the characters, the narration, the plot, the action or the setting, this book puts Khayaal into a different league of authors.

 

Readers can expect themselves to be hooked from the first page to the last once they pick this up. This book is highly recommended to fans of magic realism and historical fiction.

 

Tarikshir: The Awakening is available for purchase on Amazon.

 

*** The Quill Company received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***

 

Neha Kabra

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Book reviews

2 Day Down by Dr Nikita Lalwani| Review by The Quill Company

Author: Dr Nikita Lalwani

Publisher: Redgrab Books, Anybooks

Ratings: 3.5/5

Summary:

2-day-down is a compilation of stories of 5 women from different walks of life. Each story digs into one of the five period related problems: Pain | Staining | Sexual Inhibition | PMS | Taboo, through each one’s journey. The title signifies the second day of a woman’s period, which is said to be the toughest of the five days.

The stories are a reflection of the less acknowledged society around us. Through menstrual problems as a window, the book is an attempt to bring light to the intriguing yet briefly understood aspects of womanhood in different age groups.

Review:

2 Day Down is a compilation of five stories, each dedicated to a problem faced by women during their periods. Such a concept is rarely seen in India and is even less heard of amongst new authors. The premise of each story is beautiful and the idea holding them all together is unique in its own way.

Each story speaks of a different age group, all during the beginning of the menstrual cycle. The plot of each story is strong and some really unusual instances are seen in the book and they have been justice. However, all the stories change pace with no warning and the reader will be grappling at times to understand how things changed within a few lines. There are some loose ends in each story leaving the reader with questions in their mind.

Another minor issue is that the titles of the stories are not aptly named and can be a bit misleading. Characters have been explained adequately and nothing seems unrealistic. Every woman will be able to relate to at least one story from this collection. The situations presented here are very real and very relevant.

The concept is bold and the writing reflects maturity even though Dr Lalwani is only two books old. There were a few printing errors but they can be overlooked in the light of the overall effect.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers looking for something different than our normal ‘feminism’ textbooks and those wanting a different flavour for their brain than romance and mythology which are the only two genres that seem to be faring well in our country. 2 Day Down is nicely penned and carefully handled. A short read that would fit well for short travels.

2 Day Down is available for purchase on Amazon.

*** The Quill Company received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***

Neha Kabra

Book reviews

To Naddiyaa by Kavya Sharma | Review by The Quill Company

Author: Kavya Sharma

Publisher: StoryMirror Infotech Pvt Ltd

Ratings: 4/5

Summary:

It isn’t very hard to fall madly in love with your own wife and even though Durjoy was deeply embedded to this reality and the one his father imposed on him since his childhood, Nadia was already a part of another one. While Durjoy grew as the mad child of the misty hills, close to poetry and his mother, Nadia was the traditional, internally strong-headed woman of a motherless home. None of them revolted each other’s love and they ended up crossing each other at a threshold there was no coming back from.

The story captures an endless wait on a mad lover’s part and his wife’s failed realization of the same. A series of attempts, hidden letters, awkward emotions and grave family secrets end into a loveless insanity behind the bars of a mental asylum Nadia and Durjoy share their fate in. What follows is a flashback they wish they could go back to, what’s left, is a longing and a life, without each other.

Review:

The cover of To Naddiyaa is very simple and yet so very intriguing. This book was anticipated as I’ve followed Kavya Sharma’s work for quite a while now and I am glad to say my expectations have been met.

To be honest, the initial few pages couldn’t hold my interest but I didn’t want to give up on the author and I ploughed ahead and was wonderfully taken in by the story. The plot revolves around a love triangle between a husband, wife and the husband’s brother. My favourite character has to be Durjoy and even though its cliché for one of the main character of the book to be a favourite, there’s no way that you can’t fall in love with him. Durjoy is everything that a lover should be and one could call him weak but I think it was the strongest character in this story.

Nadia seems to me to be the perfect portrayal of the modern woman in many ways. She falls in love, she makes mistakes, she faces realization; she is realistic. Nothing makes a reader love a story more than having a character they can relate to. Iman and Pranoy are two very interesting sketches and add to the story in their own way. One more aspect I’d like to point out is that because of the way this tale was written, you are unable to judge any of the individuals too harshly. They all seem right or wrong in their own way and you don’t take away hatred for a character with you after you finish the book.

The character sketches reflect depth and we unravel layers as we read ahead. This book would serve to enhance the knowledge of writing tools and styles for an author. The book flows effortlessly though I find that too many metaphors were used. The language is simple and yet perhaps, in an effort to make the scenes detailed, metaphors have been overused. Though it brings a necessary artistic detail to the plot, too much of something can be bad for you and it definitely it affect my reading experience, particularly the beginning. There were a few printing errors which can be overlooked, however, grammar went amiss in some places too.

That being said, I loved the book and the concept of letters to tell a story and I’m glad I got a chance to pick it up this year. It is a light read that leaves you with a heavy heart in the end. I would definitely recommend this to lovers of the romance genre and anyone interested in reading Indian literature beyond Chetan Bhagat and the likes. Kudos to Kavya Sharma for penning down this lovely story!

To Naddiyaa is available for purchase on Amazon.

*** The Quill Company received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***

Neha Kabra

Book reviews

The Eleven Gurus by Umesh Luthria | Review by The Quill Company

Author: Umesh Luthria

Publisher: PepperScript Publishers

Ratings: 3/5

Summary:

A young boy grapples with the pain of growing up on this big blue sapphire he calls home. Is his story nothing more than a well scripted lie to fool those who loved him the most? Then what about the young girl growing up in a chauvinistic village that calls itself the abode of a hundred brave? Is her life destined to stay half empty or will the poor little foolish heart find here elusive island of bliss? Will the good guy see his daydream of a threesome turn real? Or will it turn into some kind of love jihad where everyone goes croaking blue? The maze of characters draws the mind in deeper and deeper; finishing the book, the only way out.

The Eleven Gurus is a result of eleven demanding challenges, set by eleven of India’s finest storytellers. Dictated by the rules and styles set by each Guru, the collection is written in simple language packed with emotions. There is suspense, humour, drama, romance, action; with a touch of darkness and tasteful sex. Now, of course, you have at least eleven good reasons to love this book.

Review:

The Eleven Gurus is a collection of eleven stories, each written on the prompt given by eleven, established Indian authors. As I picked up the book, the cover did not seem too inviting and one could pass it off as a self help book (nothing against those!). One would expect the cover of a fictional set of stories to be more inviting when you have so many choices for the illustration and contrary to the saying, more than one person judges a book based on its cover.

However, knowing Luthria to be a good storyteller, I went ahead with reading. The stories were simple as was the language. There were some illustrations inside the book as well. Some really good issues were used as the main plots of certain stories though some were completely lost on me. The endings of some stories seemed very abrupt and too many details were missing.

Though the stories are enjoyable, I would have loved it if the climax had more substance in every story. Having read Umesh Luthria’s previous story collection, I had certain expectations from this one but they weren’t fully met. This book is an easy read and can be completed in a single sitting. It’s very handy to read while travelling short distances.

The Eleven Gurus is available for purchase on Amazon.

*** The Quill Company received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***

Neha Kabra

Book reviews

My Mute Girlfriend by Himanshu Rai | Review by The Quill Company

Author: Himanshu Rai

Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Ratings: 2/5

Summary:
“That day I realized I had lost her forever. I had lost her smile, her friendship, her voice… But still, somewhere in my heart, I believed her to be my girlfriend. My mute girlfriend.” Rohan is a telecom professional posted in Meerut and misses his girlfriend from college days, who had stopped interacting with him, without giving any reason. Although she had always stood by his side and her eyes reflected immense love, but she remained his mute girlfriend. The book opens with an SMS from Vaidehi to Rohan, after five long years. But before he could reply, his mobile gets damaged and he wanders in his memories to narrate a story. About how his girlfriend became his mute girlfriend after the first year of their engineering college. My Mute Girlfriend is a true romance story of how Rohan unravels the answers to why Vaidehi was mute for so long and how their life is about to change. But little do they know that the worst is yet to come.

Review:
My Mute Girlfriend is just another cliché Indian love story, like the ones we have grown used to from Srishti Publishers. The cover itself is off-putting and dull with nothing creative about it. To me, it seemed like there was an uncanny resemblance to Bollywood movie posters from earlier part of the previous decade. I believe my fellow literature lovers will understand what I mean when I say that it was not an inviting cover.

The book is placed in the time when mobile phones were not so common and perhaps that’s the reason why the protagonist’s mobile phone was mentioned in a manner similar to Shahrukh Khan’s mobile phone in the movie Chennai Express. The overall narration wasn’t too impressive either and could be improved.

The plot wasn’t very intriguing and highly predictable with no surprises as the story moved ahead (this could also be a result of reading so many mystery books that you analyse from the beginning). The protagonist had to decide between two girls in the story and the plot revolves him finally understanding why a former love suddenly stopped interacting with him and how things change after that.

The pace of the story seems skewed at places and the tone conversation used is a tad too informal. The book needs a bit more editing as well but perhaps publishers have stopped investing in good editors these days. In my opinion, the book does not have much to offer a reader other than another Bollywood film script.

If you’re a fan of Chetan Bhagat or Durjoy Dutta, you will probably enjoy this book. It is a very light read and can be finished in one or two sittings.

My Mute Girlfriend is available for purchase on Amazon.

*** The Quill Company received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***

Neha Kabra