February 27, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Turbulence' by Samit Basu

This one zooms through at a quirky pace and is laced with action, romance, drama and even some tragedy. ‘Turbulence’ is a super-heroes novel and the reader almost has fun believing the facts about the narrow metropolitan cities of India which shelter super-human powers. The story deals with passengers on flight BA 142 London-Mumbai getting infected with super powers or rather their wishes come true as per what they dream. The powers reflect their innermost desires or longings in real life. Such a blessing however has major repercussions too, as some mysterious power searches for all the passengers who were aboard that cursed flight and puzzling disappearances start occurring.

So now you have survivors like Aman Sen, who uses his mind to connect to the Internet and break any communication barrier; Vir Singh, a flight lieutenant who can fly in the air and has an almost machine-like body; Tia, a housewife from Assam who can split into various forms; a sleep-walking scientist, who is working on some portable warrior machine; a boy, who has control over the climate around him; a school girl who morphs into a Japanese manga-like Ninja warrior, just like a tiger-man who’s with her; a magician who can create extraordinary illusions and many more along with a reporter, who has the power to smell out major happenings (or does she?) and Uzma Abidi, who ends up playing the real hero’s love interest but is blessed with a mysterious power too. And of course, there is a mysterious character that can control mobs and destroy everything in seconds. 

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February 26, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Johnny gone down' by Karan Bajaj

 Meet Nikhil Arya. Just graduated from MIT and with an offer from NASA, he and his friend decide to take an impulsive trip to Cambodia, only to find the trip change his life in a way, he could never have imagined. From Cambodia, the protagonist Nikhil aka Saint Khimchu aka Nick aka Johnny, travels to Thailand and then to Rio de Janerio and from there to Minnesota before finally arriving at New Delhi in a train where the story is narrated in a flashback mode as he plays Russian roulette (the most interesting setting for a flashback I have ever seen)

Throughout his journey, Johnny experiences some really peculiar experiences. His transition is indeed touching for the reader. The experience in Cambodia leaves him without a hand and in Rio de Janerio, he has close encounters with the Brazilian mafia. The author uses his vast travel experiences to bring forth cultural influences on the protagonist, who emerges as a survivor, no matter how many challenges life throws at him. In that sense, the story has a moral bearing too. All the characters in the protagonist’s life; from his friend, Sam to his girlfriend and wife, Lara are charmed by his short-presence in their lives. And yes, their impact on Johnny too has been phenomenal. The reader can sense the change in Johnny’s heart, his emotions and his outlook as the story moves on. Towards the middle of the story, you start feeling a strong connect with this memorable character.

This is Bajaj’s second book and way better, than his first. You can literally see the practicality of the experience curve, that is if you have read ‘Keep off the grass’ (his first novel). This one doesn’t disappoint though I know this book too has had its fair share of critics. The story is gripping and you have to force yourself to hold your bladder alongwith the book while nature keeps ringing the bell. The book has already created a record of sorts, with a first print run of about 50000 copies and now the second edition is already in stores. The literati types may not exactly snuggle upto this one but mass readers like me, will surely form a good opinion of Bajaj’s second novel. The book is simply unputdownable and at the end of the story, you end up wishing that it never ended! If you still haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? It has the official Faraaz Kazi stamp on it now. I give it a 4.7/5!

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February 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'In pursuit of Ecstasy' by Sujata Parashar

  I had read and appreciated Sujata Parashar's first novel titled 'In pursuit of infidelity' which involved an ex-lover returning in the life of a married woman and the path, the lady takes from thereon. Sujata Parashar's second novel 'In pursuit of ecstasy' supposedly is a novel for the youth as the author maintains at the start. The story contains a wide mix of characters (both primary and secondary) and the experiences of the six main characters, their lives' ups and downs.
So now we have four teenagers (Aparajita or Aupora, Deepanita or Deep, Aniket and Siddharth or Sid) in their degree college who lie and hide things from their rich parents, who are either ministers or rich business folk. They view life with multi-layered glasses and have a lot of expectations not only from themselves but also from people around them and top-most on the list is to liberate themselves from family bonds and live their own life.
The parents of  these kids are busy in their own lives and either have no time for them or the past has distanced them from their children. 
Aupora's father who is a cabinet minister does not like his daughter participating in any kind of art, esp. the dance she fancies. Her mother though not as adamant supports her hubby in this aspect. Aupora finds herself coming closer to the domestic help but that does not stop her from lying continuously to find ways to enjoy her dream of becoming a choreographer and not an economist as her father wishes.
 Deepanita's father heads a company with help from her two elder brothers. Deep's parents want her to be married off once she is done with her college but she dreams of being an accountant in her father's firm. Deep also has a huge crush on Aniket, who along with Aupora forms their own little friend circle.
Siddharth has the image of a good guy gone bad once we come to know his life story. having lost his grandmother, who was the only person who loved him, he is torn between the constant busy schedule of his parents, esp. his father, who is a scholarly personality and is even invited to his college to lecture other students occasionally. Sid can't see eye to eye with Aupora due to some personal differences but ends up falling in love with her best friend, Deepanita.
 Aniket's father is the minister for art and cultural affairs and has a soft corner for Aupora like his son, who is totally smitten by her. Aniket is bugged by the fact that his mother always nags him and all his father does is talk about himself. And so he develops a drinking habit.
No, the story is not over yet. This was just the introduction and the author takes four long sections, each divided by several chapters to get this across. Though it could have been done a little briefly, the motive is well-intentional, to bring the story at a common platform.
And it does, once Ritesh and Sushanto, two brothers who have links with the underworld enter the scene. They are apparently under threat from Lord (not again please!) who is a dreaded don, to buck up their drug peddling business or crumble. Sushanto, who disguises as the dance teacher of the college uses the students to come out of his 'drug deficit' for supplying drugs to a 'rave party' in Shimla. And then everyone is caught red-handed by the police and what ensures is a court drama.
That's the actual gist of the book. The book is not that long, around 238 pages but still I felt the story could have been shortened in places, like introducing secondary characters when there isn't really a necessity. Scenes which could have been summarized end up occupying dialogues. A bit more of romance however, would have been welcome as some of the passages intending to do so are quite decent.
 The real action starts only when the introductions of all the character ends and that is the only major drawback I could find but the story progresses rapidly after that. With help from the introductions, then the author mingles them and creates delicate relationships between the teenagers. However, it is the ending that takes the limelight. From the prologue, you can sense something is coming but the author keeps you waiting till the end and then displays her cards. Sometimes it may end up sounding like a lesson in values and morals for some but it is important to understand the core of the issue and address it. Have we lost our children in the pursuit of worldly pleasure? Have we alienated them so much that they no longer trust their own family? The small speech towards the end by the two girls throws some light on these issues. The author has clearly set out her expectations from this book in the beginning and trust me, she hasn't done a poor job of it. Being from the social sector, I'm sure she might have encountered such issues a lot and it is this experience that shows in her writing. A breezy read that addresses some not so light issues. Give it a try. I give it a 3.5/5!

Get it from Infibeam.


February 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

 Suzanne Collins makes an impressive impact on the reader with 'The Hunger Games'. The story is about Katniss Everdeen, a gusty sixteen year old from district twelve, who is chosen to battle it out for survival along with twenty three other tributes (participants) in an annual competition called 'The Hunger Games'. 

The twelve districts are presided over by the Capitol and the games are arranged every year to remind the districts of their act of rebellion in the past and how it was quashed.And so each year two kids from each district are chosen to fight it out in the Hunger Games arena and survive watching the others die or killing them first. And to top it all, the entire thing is showcased LIVE on television like a reality show for the audience across the Capitol and the districts. With her accurate aim as a huntress and fiery temper, Katniss makes a formidable opponent in the games. 

It can be made out that the story is set into the future though certain things are out of place and remind us of the time gone by. Some high technology infrastructure, mutations and medicinal equipment give it the impression of being a sci-fi novel. Throw in some kisses and hugs and you have a romantic saga. 

The author maps the protagonist's changing heart accurately and her supposedly fixed affair with Peeta, her fellow tribute from District 12, is another limelight of the book. This is where the author leaves scope for her next one. Some scenes get graphic for the 'American young adult' tag but that doesn't take away anything from the story, keeping in mind the situation the protagonist is thrown in. I thought the author could have narrated it even better with the aid of multiple POVs and after sometime the environs and the story, both start sounding repetitive and dull. 

Only towards the middle from where only about seven-eight contestants remain does the real action start. But the emotional part keeps the story moving somehow. Kudos the the author for that! I say a 3.8/5!

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February 22, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Ring of Solomon' by Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus makes a hilarious comeback after the rip-roaring success of 'The Bartimaeus trilogy' by Jonathan Stroud. Of course, I miss the strange Nathaniel and the daring Kitty. Stroud handles the powerful djinn's character (one of the most memorable fantasy characters I have come across) with ease though he takes upon great power being enslaved by human beings since ancient times. Now we are somewhere in 950 BC, watching the fourth-level powerful djinn serve King Solomon's wicked magicians. Khaba, the most evil of the lot assumes importance as the story progresses. The magicians are afraid of the wise and just king (thought of as 'evil and wicked') because of the ring he wears in his hand. The spirit of the ring is an all powerful entity that controls the beings of the 'other world' where Bartimaeus and his fellow djinns come from. 

The story is slow to start and only assumes some meaning when Bartimaeus meets Asmira, the talented assassin from Sheba, a nearby kingdom which has supposedly suffered the ire of King Solomon. Asmira's part of the story forms the main crux and how Bartimaeus ends up being integrated in it is a treat to read. His real irritation, humor and taunt combined form some great repartee between the two. The ending is not quite as emotional as 'Ptolemy's Gate' but definitely good. It does manage to quicken your pulse and keep you guessing. 

The cover catches the eye and promises a good read but disappoints in the beginning. The book lacks good pace but Bartimaeus' trademark humor and wickedly funny and cheeky footnotes keep the story rolling and you don't really feel bored. A demon who eats people and can also make you laugh. Funny, right? Stroud has made a decent attempt to recreate the Egyptian splendor of the ancient times and the involvement of imps, foliots, djinns, afrits and marids makes this book well worth a fantasy read. The tag-line of the book 'Everyone wants it, no one must have it' explains itself in the end as the ring is said to draw vast amounts of energy from the person who wears it. People talk about the book as a sequel to the trilogy but as it is set in an earlier period from the busy streets of London that the trilogy consists of, I think it would be better to call it a prequel of sorts. I give it a 4/5, neither more, nor less.

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February 21, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Notebook' by Nicholas Sparks

'The Notebook' by romance king Nicholas Sparks is a story about two teenagers who meet one eventful summer and fall in love with each other for a lifetime. It is a story about believing in love even in the toughest of times and never losing hope.
It starts of on a summer when Allie, only 15; met Noah- a low class 17 year old, shy but energetic- and they immediately clicked. Together, they never wanted to be apart and had hopes of spending their lives like that and growing old with each other.
Unfortunately, Allie had to leave Noah behind due to a change in residence and interference of her family which seemed to despise this sweet-natured boy. Noah's letters to Allie were left unanswered. Time flew but both of them had each in other in their hearts even though they had given others a try.
Now the jump. Allison Hamilton, now 29 years old, cannot ignore the fact that she is still smitten by her first love, Noah Calhoun. Torn between her talented fiancé, Lon, a rich lawyer and her soul mate Noah, a guy who just seems to laze around and repair roofs; Allie is in the middle of a catch-22 as whatever step she takes will end up hurting either of the two.
The novel was engaging and steady paced and the actual story is set in the days before the depression of 1929. Nicholas Sparks writes in a free flowing, natural manner, heavy on emotions and sentiments and at the same time passionately romantic.
If you enjoy reading love novels then this is the book for you. If you don't then this is the perfect book to start reading this genre. From the beginning to the end, you end up admiring the characters and even their flaws. Spark paints a beautiful scenery of the hurdles and the joys that are a part of love.
Sparks does manage to ignite a great deal of 'sparks' in Noah and Allie's love story. Some parts of the book will have you fighting tears and wishing for a happy ending or better, for finding a love like theirs. The real grip of the novel is when the setting returns to the prologue (though the first chapter is not really called that) where an eighty-seven year old Noah is fighting for his love, who is afflicted by Alzheimer's and at times, can't even remember who he is. Noah has to read out to her from her notebook and what does he read out to her? Their own story, of course! And then the anxiousness sets in and you end up turning page after page and before you know it, the story is done with.
Sparks alternates his characters' POVs paragraph wise in some earlier chapters though he uses the third person narrative. This can get irritating at times for the reader, as in romance novels you need to give the reader some time to settle down on a character before once can really connect to them. I wish though the author had thrown a bit more light on the ending which is a little metaphorical and might suit some but most definitely, not all. Overall, do read it for the relationship between Noah and Allie and also for the fact, that another romance writer is saying so! And what am I saying? Of course, a healthy 4.2/5!

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February 20, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Xcess Baggage' by Varsha Dixit

 Varsha Dixit's 'Xcess Baggage'--supposedly India's first sci-fi vampire novel-- is  painfully slow to take off. It is about an Indian girl in the US who seems to get nothing right and leaves a pitying mundane life with home and office as the only two destinations. Meghna Chandra has left her parent's home and settled in the West as her family members could not respect her way of living. She bumps into Lord Byron, a mystery creature with looks to die for and is scared when she sees him morph his features at will. As the story progresses, we come to know that Byron is a hybrid between a vampire and a werewolf, two creatures who don't see eye to eye and Byron commands both as he is a 'Lord' (hybrid) which are rare. And after Sundip Gorai's 'Hickory Dickory Shock', I have just begun to wonder is 'Lord' going to be the literary word of the year (Chalo, isi bahane se uparwaale ko yaad to kiya!)
Anyway getting back to this Lord, like Edward Cullen, Byron has had all the time in the world, basking in his immortality to learn everything from medicine to arts. And it is this immortality that he has set out to destroy on behalf of his vampire clan. The immortality is apparently a curse from 'Rusalka' or the unquiet dead as they call a spirit that supposedly resides under Meghna and it is for this reason that he meets Meghna citing a passing wish that she makes somewhere in the first few pages. Of course then there are fights with the rival clan who seem to enjoy their immortality and are afraid that doing anything to the unquiet dead might end up putting their lives in threat. There is an anticipated passion between Byron and Meghna which is really the main highlight of the book.
The characterization is wonderful as you can identify with a lot of personal traits and in the end, Byron doesn't end up looking as perfect as he seems which is a plus point from the writing aspect of creating realistic characters (though how far vampires and werewolves qualify for that, I have no idea!) Byron is an elegant, majestic name and the author justifies it in the manner the character handles himself. You sometimes wish that Meghna lessens a little of her stupidity as after a point of time it becomes a headache to bear. It is inspiring on the author's part to come up with a paranormal romance in India when there has been a saturation in the market with foreign titles. This is her second book after 'Right fit, Wrong shoe' which explored traditional romance gone wrong. And I'm sad to say the author disappoints with this one if we compare the two. Nevertheless, I don't wish to make comparisons and individually, this book stands out on its own and I applaud the author for coming out with such a novel idea in this market. Nice defining cover too which sets the mood for the story (though the wolves might feel left out and I hope they don't sue for that!) Also kudos to the author, for the way she ends every chapter (lessons to be learned here) by keeping the reader in suspense.
Towards the ending, you are so engrossed in the story that you pardon the author for the initial disappointment, only to end up disappointed at the last page. I wish I could say more though the writer side of me is aching to justify but that would spoil the flavor of reading and I do wish you give this one a try, especially if you are the kind who dream of a vampire lover or a werewolf husband. As for the rating, a 3.3/5 would suit it just fine!

Get it from Infibeam.

February 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Rozabal Line' by Ashwin Sanghi

 The Rozabal line, a brilliant conspiracy thriller was formerly a self-published book by Shawn Higgins aka Ashwin Sanghi (he used the pseudonym to connect with the foreign audience). Just goes to see, how many good books don’t see the light of publication but this was just a temporary problem for the author. Seeing its success, it was introduced in India by Tata’s Westland publishers and I swear, it hasn’t disappointed anyone. The book at times might seem too factual but let’s give it to the author for creating fiction out of facts. For a moment, it takes you back to Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ but as the story goes on, you realize there is more in it than the Jesus gene code. The starting and ending thought of the reader ultimately crosses at the epicenter-The Rozabal tomb in Kashmir which is said to contain the body of Jesus, thus addressing the highly debatable topic of Jesus settling down in India. Since the time the novel has come out, there has been a sudden surge of visitors to Kashmir, as reported by media.

The book deals with Jesus’ union with Mary Magadalene and their relationship. The book also seems to move towards St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles who is said to have come to Kerala to preach religion. The book steps on a controversial nerve by keeping the reader engrossed with the query of whether Jesus really died on the cross or did he survive and was taken away to safety by Essene monks. And apart from this central theme, you then have a group of thirteen Jihadis training under a terror outfit bent on destructing the world. Then there is a secret organization, a dangerous society by the name of Crux Decussata Permuta which seems to be assisting the terror outfit. There is the involvement of the American government and the ISI and a dangerous assassin. Apart from this, there are some quite graphic scenes which can make you shut the book for an instant.

This is historical cum mythological fiction at its best and handles quite a few religious issues and even has past-life regression therapy as a bonus. You should give credit to the author on how he has integrated the ancient past and the modern day world while moving towards an imperceptible future. You can just stare in disbelief at the amount of research the author seems to have undertaken and to provide references to the reader, Sanghi has gone ahead and provided web links and references of his sources. The book has a lot of drama, and picks up pace at times and drops to a steady walk during the rest. Yet, it manages to keep you hooked onto your seat. The author doesn’t waste much time in vague descriptions and complex character plottings but seems to get down straight to business. Also, the easy narrative in small parts seems to give the reader space to breathe, especially when it deals with so much of an information overload. So, in that way the book might seem too factual but I think, the author has handled it well and above all, he’s maintained that the book is a work of fiction. Ah, what can I say more about this wonderful book? Difficult to read it at one go, though you’ll be tempted to (you’ll know the reason when you pick up a copy). Of course, now I'm waiting to read Mr. Sanghi's next one titled 'Chanakya's Chant' which already adores my shelf and now it is just a matter of reading it. And posting the review, of course! Other things aside, I give 'The Rozabal Line' a 4.2/5!!!

Get it from Indiaplaza.


February 18, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan

Another romantic political manifesto this year after Tuhin Sinha’s third novel. I attended the launch of this book in Mumbai with Mr. Saif Ali Khan cutting the ribbon and the author reading some extremely delightful passages in her accented voice while Harper Collin’s extremely talented ed, Neelini Sarkar gave her company. Anuja Chauhan’s first book ‘The Zoya Factor’ was one of the best chick-lit fiction you would ever read. There was a huge buzz surrounding Chauhan’s current novel, esp. after her first one being a runaway success and being adapted into a movie by SRK’s Redchillies entertainment though the author does not wish to update any details. The author is in talks with production houses for the second one too and so you can expect the book to be as sensational as the first one.

Or perhaps more?

The book hooked me on as it has full-on romance and the theme is romantic too and being a romance writer, I could not have asked for a better read. The plot is simple and involves two young childhood friends, who always had feelings for each other but end up standing against each other as opponents from rival political parties in the Bittoragarh election. Sarojini Pande works for an animation studio designing the Harpic Kitaanos (germs), when ultimately her bossy grandmother, the famous Pushpa Pande, retired MP, lands up at her city office to drag her to Bittora so that she can help the old lady with making a comeback in politics. Things take a U-turn when the top brass of the party decides to go for young blood instead of the old hag and immediately Sarojini is pushed into politics as a candidate of Pragati party, a spoof of the Congress. 

And her opponent is none other than Zain Altaf Khan, her childhood best-buddy who has not been in touch with her for the last nine years following an embarrassing incident. Zain Altaf Khan is a foreign return, tall, muscular, popular and he can dance too (though that is not shown but I assume). Since the book has released, I have seen girls change their relationship status on Facebook to ‘In a relationship with: Zain Altaf Khan’. Naïve Sarojini has to hold herself from falling for the suave Zain who also is an ex-royal of Bittora and the candidate of the IJP, a pro-Hindu party and a spoof of (need I say?). At the same time, the reader can see Sarojini aka Jinni transforming from a dumb animator to a shrewd politician with the blessings of her grandmother and balancing her urban beliefs with the smell of the Pavit Pradesh soil. From a lost cause situation, she manages to draw level with the IJP in a state where the IJP supposedly has the upper hand. Some very interesting Hinglish tickles you in the ribs now and then, esp. Sarojini’s grandma’s broken and accented English would give you many unintended innuendos. Secondary characters whom one can relate to like Aawar Pappu, the tough Munni, driver Jugatram, wrestler Rocketsingh, reporter Nulwallah, kleptomaniac Gudia aunty, Jinni’s friend Gaimon Rumi, the armpit-hair chewing Hasinaben and even the pet retriever, Ponky manage to extract a few laughs and emotions here and there. The dialogue flows smoothly and Chauhan’s keen eye for Indian politics in a simple tone delights the reader no end. Sometimes the book tends to stretch on and there is no movement in the story. Not recommended if you are seeking a high literary dosage but a very bright green signal, if you need a full paisa vasool, extremely well drafted book. Yes, highly recommended for young people with no interest in politics and who still daydream about their childhood sweethearts. I give this a 4.4/5!!!

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BOOK REVIEW: 'Hickory Dickory Shock' by Sundip Gorai

Last heard, my review for this novel was being sent as a blurb for its soon to be launched second print. All the more reason you should read this 'tale of techies'. 
Sundip Gorai's 'Hickory Dickory Shock' is a suspense novel set in the Indian IT industry which is not shown to be exactly as booming as it is thought of. Parts of the story are borrowed from real life scams like the Satyam fiasco and the reader won't have much trouble picking them up. 
The main character of the book is Tuten Chatterjee (or '210' Chatterjee) who finds himself working in Shivam computers post his engineering days. 210 has an uncanny ability of finding patterns in numbers and decoding the most complex of mathematical or technical problems. The entire scenario changes when the nose-poky 210 comes across a mysterious web chat between two aliases- Hickory and Dickory, who seem to be plotting a baleful conspiracy to bring down the organisation. The story though really takes off after the discovery of two murders on the same day, both of which seem impossible to have been committed by anyone. 210 is taken into custody as the solitary clue points towards him and in a scene straight out of the movies, he swears to prove himself innocent and hunt down the murderer(s). 
Apart from 210, the focus of the book is on LoRD, a powerful and versatile software application that can sift through humongous data and identify patterns in it, to discover gaps and false accounting entries. The story shifts gears when this software is stolen from the organisation by an unidentified mask man, right under the very noses of employees handling the department. And that's not all, Raja Reddy, the CEO of Shivam computers plots a major accounting fraud in the name of 'the LoRD' to take in as much personal wealth as possible and also hide his past deeds. But 210 Chatterjee is not the one to give up so easily. Aided by his techie girlfriend, Geeks and clues from cryptic codes absorbed from strange posters in the canteen, 210 sets out to unravel the suspense. 
The book has been written in simple language and is an easy read. At no point, do you feel the accounting or technical jargon hitting you in the face. Mr. Gorai does have a good sense of wit and wisdom as he cleverly makes use of one-liners and situations in the novel to inject humour in this otherwise 'edge-of-the-seat' read. Research also has played a vital role in the story, going by the cryptic codes and facts laid out in the book. Good suspense novels from Indian writers are a rare treat and I am glad I picked up this one. Nicely narrated through an alternate time sequence that could be confusing for a few if they don't check the year of the events taking place, I give this well-written novel a 4.2/5 :)

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February 17, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Of Love and Politics' by Tuhin Sinha

This book is an amalgamation of two distinct Indian attributes, love and politics as the title suggests. It is a complicated mix of feelings and patriotism and you can just gape at the amount of research- from naxalites to the history of political parties in India- the author has undertaken. The book picks up from the first chapter itself and goes onto move in a cyclical wave, confusing the reader at times but delighting him mostly. Some people compared it with the film ‘Rajneeti’ but after the initial chapters, the book stands on its own. There have been critics of the book but the sales throughout stores seems to suggest otherwise as we can say Indian politics is far too predictable for films to be made on the same line or books to be written on the same subject.

The story is about three young political mavens (as you can understand from the back cover). Aditya Samar Singh of Congress, Brajesh Ranjan of BJP and communist Chaitali Sen are anything but political novices and the book offers an intriguing setup, with their personal and professional relationships intermingling. Secondary characters too don’t manage to put off the reader and you cannot help but sympathise with Aditya’s girlfriend, Sarah and Chaitali’s friend Monica and her husband. The book brings about the very unpredictable nature of love. You can almost see the entire timeline of Indian politics being played live in front of your eyes throughout the book. The book twists and turns through some major events, playing with the life of the three primary characters. Not for once, do they let their determination break. There are of course too many things to deal with when it comes to a subject like politics and add to it the wide boundaries of love and Sinha has tried to include them all, though it may end up confusing the reader in certain areas. The book really has some really touching sentences and pondering paragraphs which tug at the reader’s heart (I have deliberately not included them here as they’ll take away the joy of reading). But one scene that still haunts me is from a popular hangout in Delhi at night when Chaitali and Brijesh are hanging out together and she finishes underlining the problem in the very last sentence of the chapter.

Beautifully written in elegant prose, this book will keep you hooked even if you have nothing to do with ‘That thing called politics’ (having read Tuhin, you’ll have something to do with That thing called love!) The amount of research and intellect of the author will never cease to amaze you and it’s indeed a delight when little known facts hit you at the most unexpected times. The climax is a little unexpected and came a little sooner than I had anticipated, but nevertheless, this one’s a top read. Go grab it. I say 4.8/5!

Buy it from Infibeam.

February 12, 2011

True, mad and deep confessions of a first-time author

So I am guilty of ignoring you again. Punish me all you like but do lend me a ear this time around. Sigh! It's a pity young authors soon run out of excuses but trust you me, that success keeps one on their toes and my case isn't too different. My recently released contemporary romance novel titled 'Truly Madly Deeply... memoirs of a broken heart's first love!' was launched in late December published by Cedar books (Pustak Mahal) and within forty-five days of release, has gone into reprint. The second edition will be out soon. It has been well received by the general reading crowd and reviewers alike. I have been busy promoting the book, giving interviews and attending events like Sympulse 11' where I addressed Symbiosis students in a Q&A session and gave away signed copies of the book to fans. A major launch and some reading events are planned in Mumbai and Pune in the coming months.

The book was number one on Flipkart, Uread and Infibeam and is still doing brisk business there. It is still ruling the charts on sites like Indiaplaza and Goodvalue. Apart from this, it is one of the few books to break into the Landmark best-sellers' list almost upon its arrival and was also the number one new release at Odyssey. Crossword was reportedly out of stock when I had taken the last update but they might have stocked up by now with the second edition on the cards. The demand for signed copies was so much that vendors have started auctioning signed copies of the book on e-Bay! On several Goodreads lists including the 'most promising debut' 'best romantic novek' and 'authors to watch out for', readers have voted for the book (it occupies the number one slot), ahead of classics and major international best-sellers like Harry Potter, Twilight, etc. It was also nominated for the best cover design, most memorable character (male) and the best love story in the annual Goodreads poll. Amazon also has sold quite a few e-books for kindle.

If you recollect, right before the release, I had started with the marketing activity of the book. Two short viral promo trailers were launched on social media networks within a gap of three months and it took the viral world by storm. The same can be seen on this very blog or my website or on Youtube. Apart from it, just after release an exclusive TMD promo ringtone was composed by a leading Bollywood music director for the first time ever in the world for any novel.

Well, you might be wondering what real people have to say. There are reviews a plenty on sites like Flipkart, Infibeam, Uread, Goodreads and Bookchums and I urge you to check them all (yes, even the couple amongst hundreds who are criticising me!) For more professional reviews, you can click any of the below given links (shortly there will be more).

1) A review of 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' on India Reviews http://www.indiabookreviews.com/non-fiction/truly-madly-deeply/ 
3) A review of 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' on Boloji http://cms.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=10340 
5) A review of 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' by Indian Book Reviews http://www.indianbookreviews.com/2011/01/05/first-love-always-last-love/ 
6) A review on Fact behind Fiction- http://factbehindfiction.com/index_files/tmd.htm 

To read an excerpt or what prominent Indian authors (blurbs) have to say about the book or my style of writing, you can visit my website www.faraazkazi.com 

For other updates on the book, please do join the Facebook page of the book- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Truly-Madly-Deeply-A-novel-by-Faraaz-Kazi/174993285845605

With hugs and kisses to the Consumer, 
The Young Marketer.