Tag Archive | fiction

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

This was my first ever Haruki Murakami read and I must say it messes with your head! You read things that make you question reality. Despite the book describing a lot of fantasy/super-realism it seems weirdly familiar which is what messes with your perception of reality and makes the book extremely gripping.

In this book the protagonist Toru Okada is an otherwise ordinary man with a rather ordinary life. He works at a law firm. First he quits his job then goes to lose his cat and then he even loses his wife- Kumiko. That point on nothing about his life continues to be ordinary. There is a big void in his life – during this time he meets psychic sisters named Malta Kano and Creta Kano who initially help him find his cat. He also receives some mysterious phone calls from women who claim to know him.

Other than Toru Okada there is another important man in this plot -Noburu Wataya, Kumiko’s brother. Toru and Noburu have a mutual relationship has been that of extreme hatred. Toru has always liked to keep a distance from Noburu but the course Toru’s life takes makes him come face to face with the existence of his brother-in-law. Noburu is a politician and has anything but an ordinary childhood. It has involved the loss of his sister, this man is loved by the public and has very strong influence owing to his political position. Yet this very same man has defiled a number of women including Creta Kano and his own dead sister.

When Toru went out looking for their lost cat he met a teenage girl called May Kahasara. She is far from an average teenager – she is obsessed with death, doesn’t go to school and has been a part of a motorcycle accident in which her boyfriend died. She indulges in a lot of profound thoughts about life and death and how the presence of death alters the meaning of life. This school of thinking made me take a break from reading and I took the liberty to go ahead and think of what the life and thoughts of a teenager whose life doesnt involve carrying out a lot of mundane tasks would be like especially when their thoughts are so different, strong and special. I would love to know someone like this. I think May was my favourite character in the book. She makes the book even more intriguing. Her job at the wig factory, the duck people and everything make May quite interesting.

After May, the mother son duo of Nutmeg and Cinnamon Akaskara come into Toru’s life. Nutmeg was a top class fashion designer and suddenly lost her interest in designing and started a new career of ‘fitting’ people. She is described to have a good taste in clothes and presents herself with great class. When she sees Toru she realizes that he can help her with ‘fitting’ people. Her son Cinnamon is my second favourite character. He is someone who has truly impressed me – being punctual to the dot, being prim and proper, conveying everything without words, the smart, organized young man who willingly took on the responsibility of the household when his grandmother passed away. Intelligent, punctual, well-dressed, emotional, a great listener – sounds like every girl’s dream to me! He adds a new dimension to the Wind-up Bird chronicle also because he is the one who saves Toru Okada’s life. His actions seem to convey how much he cares for the man.

Other significant characters/things that make this story intriguing are – a dry well, Lieutenant Mamiya, a psychic Mr. Honda, Toru’s mark on the face and how the historic events of Japan’s war relate to Okada’s life in a very convoluted way. The description of the war events like skinning a man or the killing of the animals to name a few is very realistic. The intricate details make the event spring to life. What still amazes me is how these historic war events juxtapose with Toru’s mundane life.

Overall a errm weirdly gripping read – fantasy described in the most familiar or known way possible. I am not sure I can quite describe what it is like to read this book – I would recommend you read it to go through those roller coaster of emotions yourself.

Overall rating: 4/5


The Secrets of the Nagas

Today, He is a God.

4000 years ago, He was just a man.

The hunt is on. The sinister Naga warrior has killed his friend Brahaspati and now stalks his wife Sati. Shiva, the Tibetan immigrant who is the prophesied destroyer of evil, will not rest till he finds his demonic adversary. His vengeance and the path to evil will lead him to the door of the Nagas, the serpent people. Of that he is certain.

The evidence of the malevolent rise of evil is everywhere. A kingdom is dying as it is held to ransom for a miracle drug. A crown prince is murdered. The Vasudevs Shivas philosopher guides betray his unquestioning faith as they take the aid of the dark side. Even the perfect empire, Meluha is riddled with a terrible secret in Maika, the city of births. Unknown to Shiva, a master puppeteer is playing a grand game.

In a journey that will take him across the length and breadth of ancient India, Shiva searches for the truth in a land of deadly mysteries only to find that nothing is what it seems.

Fierce battles will be fought. Surprising alliances will be forged. Unbelievable secrets will be revealed in this second book of the Shiva Trilogy, the sequel to the #1 national bestseller, The Immortals of Meluha

This is the second book of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish. Normally when the first book is fantastic, the sequel barely ever lives upto it. This book was a welcome change. This is an action packed book with a lot of of food for thought. An extremely well thought out book with some very strong messages which have been weaved intricately with Indian mythology and lots of imagination. This reflects a lot about the author and his idea of eutopia.

One of the main ideas in the book revolves around the question -‘What is Evil?’. This is closely related to the phrase – ‘Har Har Mahadev’ which means there is God in everyone which was a phrase used by Shiva’s army while attacking the Chandravanshi’s. The other main idea involved is that of a caste system by skill instead of by birth. This is where Maika, the birth city comes in. The author truly believes that each person should be assigned a caste (which equates to role in the Indian caste system) depending on the skill-set the child possess not the household he/she is born in. To be true to this thought, the author does not have his last name on the cover of the book as his surname Tripathi is associated with the Brahmin caste.

This book focuses on Shiva’s quest to find the murderer of his dear brother-like friend Brahaspati, the chief scientist of Mount Mandar. Shiva is also determined to find an unknown skilled assassin who attacked Sati thrice in the past. Both of these motives lead Shiva to the Nagas. Despite the above facts the question is – are the Nagas evil?

In the process of getting to the Naga kingdom, Shiva discovers some shameful secrets about Maika, the city of births. Some of these secrets affect his near and dear ones. Shiva along with the Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi soldiers proceed to the Branga territory as the Brangas are said to have close ties with the Nagas.

Shiva’s entourage consists of both the Suryavanshi’s and the Chandravanshi’s. Shiva leaves Sati behind with a heavy heart as his son Kartik is too young for the journey. During their journey to the Branga territory, there is another shackle that is broken for the Suryavanshi General Partvateshwar.

Parvateshwar had vowed to be a celibate as a family decision to protest against the wavering Maika policy for the various castes to respect his grandfather’s word. He had been true to his vow for 120 years. Anandamayi the Chandravanshi princess, fell in love with Partvateshwar and tries her best to rope him in. The character of Anandamayi is that of an bollywood ‘chamia’ who would do anything to get her man. She is saucy, tangy and everything more!

Meanwhile Sati discovers another tradition which like the Vikarma law is unfair. She sees her dear ones suffering because of that and makes a brave, over-the-top attempt to stand against it. As you may have guessed, I am not quite impressed with the role Sati plays in this book. There is nothing exciting or unexpected about her. How can a woman leave her infant to fight against the lions??!! Like I said earlier, a little over-the-top.

Aside the role of Sati and some rather loose language, a fantastic read!

Overall Verdict: 5/5

If Looks Could Kill – Beverly Barton

A face to die for! MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO IS THE DEADLIEST OF THEM ALL? The victims are found face-down in the murky waters of Cherokee Pointe, Tennessee. The murders all share the same characteristics: the victims are found naked except for a black, satin ribbon tied around they’re necks — and they’re all redheads. Meanwhile, Reve Sorrell has come to Cherokee Pointe seeking answers about her connection to bad girl Jazzy Talbot. With their stunning looks, the two redheads are mirror images of each other — but raised in very different worlds. As the serial killer leaves another chilling calling card, Reve turns to Sheriff Jacob Butler to help her unravel the deadly secrets of her past. But one person will do anything to stop her — and they are closer than she could ever imagine!

This was my first Beverly Barton book and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book is a must read for any one who enjoys crime and romance. It gives you a good dip in both of these. It was an absolute page-turner and towards the end I found it hard to put this one down. Right from the beginning Barton narrows down the list of suspects but it still keeps you guessing about who the real killer is. Towards the end, I badly wanted to know if my guess about who the killer was, was right. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I was wrong, that made the end more exciting for me – who doesn’t like surprises?!

Lets now peekaboo into the plot.  Reve and Jazz (Jasmine) discover that they are twin sisters and have lived their entire life not knowing that they had a twin sister. Reve was discovered in the dumpster and after that adopted by a wealthy family – the Sorrells. Jazz on the other hand was brought up by her aunt Sally Talbot who was an eccentric old woman and wasn’t very well off but loved Jazz dearly. Both the twins due to their contrasting upbringing found it hard to accept the idea of sisterhood. Slowly as they get to know each other, they start liking each other almost instantly. Jazz is dating a guy called Caleb who has recently discovered he is heir to the wealthy Upton family in Cherokee point.

Slowly the twins become curious about their mysterious past and set out to discover the truth about their biological parents. And soon realize someone wants to keep them away from discovering the clandestine past. Meanwhile there is a serial killer on the loose who kills pretty red-heads and to their disadvantage Jazz and Reve are both red-heads and are next on the hit list. Slowly these seemingly different dangers intertwine together and makes matters extremely complicated and dangerous for the red-head siblings.

Reve meets Sheriff Butler in her first visit to Cherokee point and in their first encounter they despise each other. It is interesting to see how their relationship changes with time. With time the despise begins to fade and how they become romantically involved. This relationship adds the romance to all the conspiracy and murders. Overall an enjoyable read. I look forward to reading other Barton books.

Overall Verdict: 4/5

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