Book Review: The Mahabhatra Code

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Title: The Mahabharata Code

Author: Karthik K.B. Rao

Page: 191 pages

Plot: “The Mahabharata Code is a personal account of the main protagonist Narayan Rao (NR), who claims to be an astronomer with NASA. NR and a few other crew members agree to take part in the NASA mission to visit this mystery planet from which they had received mysterious signals. Here, they meet a man with a long flowing white beard, and he introduces himself as Vyasa. He reveals that he has a crazy plan in mind and seeks NR and his members’ help in implementing this plan. He intends to recreate the entire Mahabharata on this planet to restore the faith of the primitive simpletons here.

As the Mahabharata incidents start unfolding, NR realizes that Vyasa intends to recreate them page by page here, if not paragraph by paragraph. Also NR begins to realize that his son, Krishna, who is being groomed by Vyasa as Vishnu’s avatar, is nothing more than a pawn in Vyasa’s scheme of things. Other incidents of Mahabharata also unfold according to the original epic. Pandavas and Kauravas grow up hating each other and finally the restaging plan culminates with both the warring sets of cousins facing each other in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Inexplicably, like the original epic, Arjuna develops cold feet seeing his own cousins, teachers and relatives on the opposite side. He seeks Krishna’s divine intervention. Is the brainwashed “alien” Krishna prepared for this intervention?”

Thoughts:  I have watched the epic of Mahabharata on television as a child and over the years have read multiple retellings of the age old epic from different perspective. But when I read the synopsis for ‘The Mahabharata Code’ the plot was different from what I had read before. It had a sci-fi element added to it and I had to give this one a read.

Narayan Rao is an Indian astronaut working with NASA. He is chosen as one of the crew members to visit a mystery planet. He chooses to go there with his better half, Shrishti. Little did they know that they will play a major role in restaging the great epic of Mahabharata on an alien planet.

I found the plot to be very fascinating with aliens, spaceships and Mahabharata put together. The author’s imagination for bringing these aspects together in a book is worth a mention. The narration has its highs and lows. There are times where the narration dips especially where Narayan and Shristi are having a conversation. What appealed the most to me in the book was the logical explanation given for various events which were otherwise considered “mystical”. I loved the part where Krishna is narrating the Gita to Narayan.

The characterization could have been better. I could understand what all the characters where upto but didn’t really connect with any of them. But what I really liked about the characters is the justification given for their actions.

I would recommend you to pick this book up if you are looking for a varied retelling of Mahabharata.

Ratings: 3/5

PS: Thanks to author and TBC for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Indua Challenge

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Title: The Indus Challenge

Author: R. Durgadoss

Pages: 286 pages

Plot: Bharat is in chaos. While the kingdoms fight each other, Alexander’s forces gather for the assault, their leader lured by tales of supernatural weapons and the elixir of immortality. Only one man can save the subcontinent from domination by the Greeks: the young Chandragupta Maurya, trained under the aegis of the ‘dark brahmin’, Chanakya.

When an ancient seal is found, sharing the secrets of the brahmastra, the redoubtable weapon of the Mahabharat, it is up to Rudra, young commander of the Mauryan Nava Yuva Sena and lifelong friend and confidante of Chandragupta, to decode it. Along with his fellow commandos, and with the able guidance of his guru, Rudra embarks on a quest that takes him from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the seas of Rameshwaram, hunting the clues that will lead him to the brahmastra. On the way, he meets the Chiranjivis, ancient beings tasked with divine duties, and learns the secrets behind his own birth and his mysterious powers.

But Rudra must be careful, for not all enemies were dispersed with the death of the mighty Alexander. Treachery lurks in the home, and when Rudra is framed for the attempted murder of his sovereign, he must pull every trick at his disposal to reveal the enemy, and save his kingdom from plunging, once more, into bloodshed and chaos.
A historical, mythological adventure story, The Indus Challenge is sure to appeal to readers interested in the storied past of India and the legends woven into its soil.

Thoughts: The Indus Valley Civilization is based over centuries right from the times of Kuru war to the Kal yuga. The plot is mainly based in the time zone when the Greek King Alexander aims to extend the boundaries of the kingdom across the world, to Chandraguta and Chankya’s conquest to dethrone ‘Nanda- the evil King’ and accomplish an ‘Akhand Bharat’.

The story focuses on the hidden knowledge of unveiling the secrets of Bramastars, Chiranjivi’s and other mythological events. Along with the historical facts about Alexander and Chandragupta, the fictional tale of Rudra, the Yuga Purash is weaved in. The blend of fiction, history and mythology is the highlight of this book.

The most intruding part of the book for me was reading about Alexander and Chandragupta together. We have read of them individually but imagining them together was quite a treat. I loved the historical and mythological insights that the book gave. The drawings and the symbols were very helpful while devouring the book. The narration was crisp but I felt it got too text bookish at times.

If you love historic and mythological tales, you can give this book a shot.

Ratings: 3/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of this book for an honest review.

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Book Review: Finding the Angel

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Title:  Finding the Angel

Author: Rubina Ramesh

Pages: 139 pages

Plot: All She wanted was love…
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?

Thoughts:  “Finding the Angel” is a novel by Rubina Ramesh, the founding member of The Book Club. And there was no chance that I would miss reading this book.

‘The Angel’ mentioned in the title is a rare artifact that goes missing from the Ranuat Dynasty home and the entire plot revolves around finding it, with a passionate love story between a love stuck art curator and an arrogant prince running parallel. Shefali is an art curator by profession who has lost her parents at an early age. She is a person driven by love. A modern day prince, Aryan Ranuat is a charming, womanizer who is arrogant and has major trust issues due to his father. Both are damaged in their own ways. The flames spark between them from the minute they meet but as fate has it they can’t be together, neither can they be apart.

The passion shared between the leads clearly comes across to the reader. I loved how courageous and bold Shefali’s character was. More than the suspense the love story made an impact on me. The book was correctly paced with no pointless descriptions. It was crisp and to the point. The narration manoeuvred between past and the present. I wouldn’t say that the transition was seamless. It was confusing at few points but after reading a bit more the time of incidence taking place became clear.

I loved the story and I personally think that it would make a great Bollywood movie. Once I started the book, it was very difficult to put it aside. I would recommend this book those on the watch out for a royal love story with a suspense angle to it.

Ratings: 4/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

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Book Review:The Doppelgänger

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Title:  The Doppelgänger

Author:  Prateek Yadav

Pages: 170 pages

Plot: The perfect plan for the perfect heist-a team of con-men, foolproof disguise and a painting worth millions, nothing could have gone wrong. But something did… A man finds himself on a bus to Manali with nothing but some cash and severe memory loss. Embarking on a frantic hunt for his identity, he begins to discover that his presence in Manali isn’t an accident. The closer he gets to the truth, the more elusive it becomes. Ghosts from his past haunt him as he finds himself trapped between his doppelganger, the police, a sadistic gangster and his own dwindling sanity. The journey of the search for his identity ends up being a race for survival.

Thoughts: What if you wake up to find yourself in a bus and you don’t remember getting on it in the first place? What if you don’t remember who you are? Scary. Isn’t it? The Doppleganger is a psychological thriller that trails Sameer, who finds himself on a bus to Manali with no memory at all. He starts a search to regain his memory with the clues he finds in his path and discovers himself at the epicenter of a labyrinth of odd events, murders and circumstances.

The Doppelgänger is Prateek Yadav’s debut novel and he has done a great job with the story plotting. I personally got intruded in the story post page 50, but then on the suspense lived until the end.  The author tricks the reader in drawing a conclusion and believing it only to find out that it wasn’t true. I was constantly trying to fit Sameer’s identity as either good or the evil doopleganger. The characters are well explained to be easily understood by the reader. I loved the fact that the story had a crisp editing that kept the essence of the book alive.

For a debut psychological thriller, The Doppelgänger is a great attempt.

Ratings: 3.5/5

PS: – Thanks to TBC for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: Soulless

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Title:  Soulless

Author:  M.V.Kasi

Pages: 303 pages

Plot: They say when you take revenge you lose a part of your soul.

But Sia hadn’t felt her soul in a very long time. She only knew the feeling of soul-crushing fear and helplessness. Especially during the nights, when she fought an invisible enemy that terrorized her during the nightmares. Her days weren’t any better either. She spent them desperately trying to gain control of her life while battling her various fears and addictions.
She was only twenty three, but she had resigned herself to live the rest of her life that way. Fearing the unknown.
Until it all changed one day.
Now she remembered. And she knew. She knew that the monster from her nightmares was real. And also that her soul had been ripped apart from her.
The memories brought in fear, rage and pain, along with a strong craving for a swift payback.
But revenge was a dish best served cold. And it required a complete absence of emotion.
So now? Now she plotted. And she schemed. She prepared herself in every possible way to hunt and destroy her enemy.
But every mission, however well planned can go awry. Sometimes it’s because even though one can be soulless, there is always the heart. A very weak and desperate heart that was being stolen by a man.
A man who was like a bright spark of vivid colors in her otherwise dark and dreary life.
A man who was only supposed to be collateral damage in her ultimate war.

Thoughts:  Soulless is a revengeful tale that brings out the psychological repercussion of unresolved traumatic childhood issues with a lot of jaw dropping twists.

Sia, our protagonist is an heir to a successful empire, Blush International. She is a strong, ambitious and talented with severe psychological issues that keep her up at night. She is a girl with a revengeful mission whose soul has been ripped out as a child. She moves to Hyderabad from Boston to accomplish her operation when she meets Ajay, a handsome and successful young entrepreneur who is bent upon taking Sia out on a date in spite of her repeated cold detached refusals.

The story is well narrated and fast paced. I was looped in right from the beginning till the end. The narration maneuvers interestingly between past and present, unveiling the plot twists little by little. The name of the book and the cover are totally apt for the plot.  I loved the characterization since I was able to empathize and sympathize with both Sia and Ajay. I loved their sizzling chemistry, the way they try to one up the other each time.

I did feel though that Jo and her family accepted things too easily which seemed a bit unrealistic to me. I absolutely despised the way the book ended abruptly at the turning point. Hopefully the story will pick up right from where we left in the sequel titled ‘Ruthless’.

Overall, this book is quite an interesting read with ample of twists and a strong characterization.  Eagerly looking forward to read the sequel.

Ratings: 4/5

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About the author: By day, MV Kasi works for a software company. She currently lives in Hyderabad, India with her husband and son. By night, she gives in to her fascination to explore the human psychology and the various facets of life in her writing. She has particular fascination with successful people who are not considered ‘normal’ by society’s standards. Her love for reading has led her to start writing on her own. She likes to add depth to her characters and explore their psychological motivations. Due to the nature of topics and plots, she does not shy away from writing about sexuality or violence. Despite covering some heavy topics, she likes to infuse humor into her writing.

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Book Review: Multitudes of Ripples

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Title:  The Multitudes of Ripples

Author:  Vaachakmitra

Pages: 276 pages

Plot: The novel is a first person narrative of an entrepreneur who struggles to make sense of his life. He reconstructs his memory while recuperating from a nervous breakdown. The distortion in his narrative is not only the manifestation of psychopathology of his mind but also an exploration of human values. The novel demonstrates how optimism incorporates meaningful semantics even in the face of psychopathology. The dualism of hope and pathos creates a touch of absurd, almost reminiscent of Kafka and Camus

About the Author: The author is a research scientist by training. He is a technical consultant who works in an advisory capacity to the pharmaceutical industry. He specializes in intellectual property, technology up gradation and information technology. He is a science writer specializing in theoretical and philosophical foundations of modern scientific thought.

Thoughts: The book is a tale of a person who is trying to make sense out of his life. The narration is in the first person and more autobiographical in nature. The story unveils in-detailed incidents that take place in the life of the protagonist right from childhood and then on.

The plot is based in Mumbai and the city of ‘Mohmayi’ which is a parallel universe created in the author’s imagination. Our protagonist seemingly has alter egos, Manas in Mumbai and Nachiket in Mohmayi. The story efficiently highlights the psychological and philosophical state of a person who has lost a loved one and the emotional turmoil.

The cover and the blurb itself were intruding enough to make me pick this book, but I was a little disappointed with the slow pace and excessive detailing of the story. The book could have been much crisper enough to hold the readers interest till the end.

Ratings: 3/5

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Book Review- Fighting for Tara

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Title:  Fighting for Tara

Author: Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Pages: 310 pages

Plot: “I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.

But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.

Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.

Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’

Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth?

A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.

Favorite Quote: “What if happiness is a choice?”

This book is about a child bride Hansa, married of to a man thrice here age who dies leaving Hansa and his baby girl at the mercy of his brother Baldev. To protect her baby Tara, Hansa flees away from her hometown Dharni, to start a new life. After facing traumatic experiences, Hansa and Tara end up being adopted by nurturing parents Anne and Liam. The story starts from a small village in Rajasthan and navigates to San Francisco.

It is sad to see that in today’s age where women are hitting new milestones every day, customs like child marriages, female feticides, etc still prevail in our country. The author has done a great job highlighting this issue. I loved the way Hansa’s character was empowered. A strong, willfully determined woman, ready to go lengths to save her daughter. It’s true that motherhood is accompanied by the vigor to shield the child from any danger. The essence of motherhood is captured phenomenally well in both Hansa’s and Anne’s characters.  The story was heartwarming and fast paced. I simply love the books that bring out the female strength and determination and this was definitely one of them. The writing was simple and easy flowing. The book was such a page turner.

I would recommend this book to those who are looking out for a heartwarming story with a strong female protagonist.

Ratings- 5/5

PS: – Thanks to the author for sending a copy of the book for an honest review.

About the Author: Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.

Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.

She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.


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