Tuesday, December 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: SHADOW IN THE MIRROR BY DEEPTI MENON

Name of the Book: Shadow in the Mirror
Author: Deepti Menon
Rating: 4 Stars

The Begining...



'Shadow in the Mirror' has the quality to draw in the reader. It will suck you in with the opening scene where a girl commits suicide. At the cost of sounding morbid, I must say that Ms. Menon has done a wonderful job in ..err... killing her. The description of a girl falling down to the flow of her thoughts during her last moment has been beautifully penned. 


"The descent seemed unending and with a sinking feeling, she sensed the ground speeding up to receive her. Soon it would all be over, her life and that of the tiny one she carried within her. Her last, surprisingly calm thought was that of the man she loved, her husband who worshiped her."
​This will also attach you to the victim throughout the story. Even as you wade through the mystery and the influx of characters, Nita will never leave your side. She is one powerful character, even in her absence. 
The Characters:

Ms. Menon, like a true artist of the thriller genre, has weaved a tapestry of characters. Each taking the story a bit further. And here lies my one peeve. Till the Chapter Friends and Rival, I was lost to the world of Nita, Krish, and Aunty. I could feel my heartbeat quickening for I knew disaster would strike anytime and I wanted to get to the moment, to feel the fear that Nita was feeling. And then, suddenly in the above-mentioned chapter, Vinny and Roma are introduced. In stories, which follow the art of foreshadowing, one of the biggest problem I find, is the introduction of characters that don't go till the end. I read and re-read this story twice, just to make sure, but I could not for the world understand what one of the characters was doing in this book. Cannot give out the spoiler even though I am burning to do so. You can see how much this book has affected me. I was romancing the killer, the plot and then suddenly like an abandoned wife, I have to wait for the story to reach its full circle. This I object to as a reader.

The Plot:
Is gripping.  Deepti Menon can write. There is no doubt about the way she creates her characters. The fear factor and the senility in few of the characters have been brought out so well, that I had goosebump moments.  I could almost hear the crackling laughter and the way the title of the story has been introduced in the middle has an 'aha' moment. If I am not mistaken in my analysis, it's the two main characters walking towards each other, after many incidents occur in their life. And I am even awed at the fact that whom I thought to be the main character, is just a past in our hero's life. This Ms. Menon has done full justice to.

Thriller, Mystery, and Ambiguity...

Like many thriller writers, to keep the readers guessing, often one falls prey to unnecessary subplots. Here too has been the case. At least the subplot of Roma and Meghana and Rohit puzzled me. So though the mystery element did not work for me, the thriller did. You have got to read this book till the end to actually grasp the full essence of this story. One thing I can truly say, that there is no ambiguous ending to this story and for that I am grateful. My peanut brain could not take that after the roller coaster ride I had to go through to reach the cause of death of Nita.  :P

​Would I recommend this book:
For the beautiful language and characterization of the villain, this book is definitely worth a read. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: WITH YOU I DANCE BY AARTI V. RAMAN

Name of the Book: With You I Dance
Author: Aarti V. Raman
Star Rating: 4 Stars
I am no stranger to Aarti V. Raman's style of writing. Her Kingdom Come had left such an impact on me that it’s inevitable that I will compare WYID with KC. But her versatility as a writer makes it very difficult for me to do that.

No two books can be so different in terms of their writing style, voice, and narration. No author can depict women in so many shades. While Ziya left me feeling strong, Meera of WYID invoked the mother in me. I wanted to protect her. To take away her pain. 

As an artist, I could relate to Meera.  Can I imagine myself, waking up one morning and finding out that I cannot write anymore? Can you imagine getting up one morning and finding that the thing that makes you accept all the bullshits on this planet, has vanished? That is Meera's pain.
Of not being able to dance because a fear has resided in her heart. Fear or guilt of not doing enough, whatever you want to call it, is stopping her from living her dreams and fulfilling her ambition. Ms. Raman has really focused on the psychology of an artist in WYID.

The self-centered streak that is residing in every artist. That the world revolves around our artistic inclination. Let the emotions of others be damned. Meera does the same. Her pain is larger than life and that hides all the love and passion that Abeer has for her. She sees her broken heart, her pain but not once does she feel his. Many readers might feel that this makes Meera a very selfish person. I can assure you that no artist will find a fault with Meera.

Having read KC, I could not but observe that the author has held back in this one. Zoya is such a beautiful character and I expected more from her than just being a cause of a conflict. Meera herself comes out as a complete woman, a heartbroken dancer but the lover in her is rather subdued. While she grew as a woman with every page turn, she made me want to hug Abeer and tell him, "Dude, get used to being the second best in her life. You chose an artist to fall in love with."

The one relation that really touched my heart was that of Meera and Bullet. Ms. Raman has caught the sibling rivalry yet the complete acceptance of each other's fault. Of hating each other for just existing to the powerful protective love siblings feel of each other. I truly connected with Meera at this level. Ms. Raman has no doubt, a very clear understanding of family and friends and the different shades in a relationship. That itself will connect you to Meera.

Abeer, on the other hand, is a guy to die for. Understanding, compassionate and patient. A perfect lover, who gives the right space to his lover to heal. 

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?

Yes. A lovely read for a rainy or a sunny day. Take your pick :D

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: THE MULTITUDES OF RIPPLES BY VAACHAKMITRA

Name of the Book: Multitudes of Ripples
Author: Vaachakmitra
Rating: 3 Stars

“What would it be like before the beginning and after the end of time?”

Beyond Time and Space

Starting on an interesting note, where the reader settles to find answers to certain discomforting questions that one does not tend to ponder about, ‘The Multitudes of Ripples’ takes you on a journey that lets you feel the rippling effect that life leaves on you.

The tale and its twist

It’s the story of an entrepreneur who attempts to make sense of his life. He reconstructs his memory while recuperating from a nervous breakdown. Set in ‘Mohmayi’, a city that draws its parallel from Mumbai, this is an interesting tale that explores the psyche of a man in different stages of his life. 

I like the way the author has narrated seemingly mundane anecdotes and plunged to the deeper level of the psyche to explore how it impacts a growing mind. “Sita was shot down behind Wadia Street. The report also mentioned that Sita’s last gesture after being shot was to salute the police. The infant, my father assured me, was picked up by the police and sent to the zoo.” The way the author breaks this news, shatters the readers too. It was as if a carefully built relationship with the character was suddenly snapped with a jerk.

The way this news impacted a young mind, leaves you thinking about the inevitable. “As that sorrow subsided a strange sadness set in. I realized intuitively that death was irrevocable for each one of us. Everybody whom I knew would eventually die someday. That I may have to live without them was unthinkable.”

Read between the lines

There are parts where the author deals with the aspirations of a young mind. Very stylishly he probes this aspect by exploring the alter ego of a child. While the book takes you on an interesting journey of the mind, at places it does keep you yearning for pace. Maybe tighter editing and a crisper pace would have worked better for the narrative.

Overall an interesting read, but a more compact version would have probably communicated the message more effectively. 

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?

​Yes. Read it to experience the rippling effect of life.