BOOK REVIEW: VIKRAMADITYA VEERGATHA BOOK 1 THE GUARDIANS OF THE HALAHALA

Book: Vikramaditya Veergatha Book 1 The Guardians of the Halahala

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Author: Shatrujeet Nath

Genre: Mythological Fiction

Published by: Jaico Books

Number of pages: 408 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy to read and review this book as I enjoy reading mythology, especially Hindu mythology.

The story begins with the Churning of the Ocean by the devas and the asuras. A stone is discovered which is believed to contain the Elixir. However, it turns out to contain the HalaHala, a poison that could destroy all of Creation. It is decided to take the poison to Shiva, the Omniscient One, as he is the only force capable of destroying the HalaHala.

The story moves forward in time to the reign of Vikramaditya who is just about to perform a “rajasuya yajna”. The Hunas who had been vanquished resurface with the warning that they intend to take back all of Sindhuvarta.

Vikramaditya is visited by a ‘sadhu’ who turns out to be none other than Lord Shiva, the Omniscient One. He is entrusted by the Lord with a dagger that contains a portion of the HalaHala and is asked to safeguard it.

Naturally the devas and the asuras come to know that Vikramaditya is in possession of the dagger and both sides want it. Vikramaditya, his Council of Nine and the capital of Ujjayini have to suffer various attacks by the devas and asuras respectively. The question is how long will they be able to withstand these attacks? The threat of the Hunas is still lurking on the horizon.

The characters in the story are very well depicted and the author brings the story to an ending that leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the sequel. Do read the book if you enjoy reading mythology. I recommend ‘The Guardians of the HalaHala’ to readers as enjoyable, interesting and informative.

BOOK REVIEW: SPIRITS OF TIME BEYOND A MYSTERIOUS JOURNEY

Book: Spirits of Time Beyond a Mysterious Journey

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Author: Madhuparna Suman

Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 213 pages

My Rating: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The story begins with describing Neel and Nandini, a young married couple who lead a hectic and fast paced life. In order to take a break from their routine, they decide to go on a holiday. They finalise Georgia as their vacation destination.

Once they reach Georgia, Nandini has a strange incident in the hotel bathroom but otherwise they have a great time exploring the country.

The trouble begins when they visit Growley Palace. While exploring the palace, Neel and Nandini get separated. Nandini wanders into a garden and spots a tree with only one big apple on it. Tempted, she takes a bite out of the apple and falls into a deep sleep.

In order to save his wife, Neel has to face an angry ghost who is set on getting revenge. The story goes back into the past at this point while Neel hears about the castle’s history and the ghost’s motive for revenge.

The question that arises here is that will Neel manage to vanquish the ghost and rescue Nandini? The reader needs to read the story to find that out.

BOOK REVIEW: ASHOK AND THE NINE UNKNOWN

Book: Ashok and the Nine Unknown

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Author: Anshul Dupare

Genre: Mythology, Fiction, Historical fiction

Published by: Rupa Publications

Number of pages: 224 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Emperor Ashok of the Maurya dynasty of course is one of the greatest kings in Indian history.

The story begins just after the end of the war of Kalinga. Ashok is on the battlefield feeling very guilty about the death and destruction caused by him, when he comes across a mortally wounded Kalingan soldier who has lost both his arms and an eye. The soldier curses Ashok and falls into the river.

Ashok is a changed man after the war and makes sincere attempts to improve the welfare of his people. The wounded soldier Amartya is rescued and revived by his brother Vatsal.

After meeting Ashok, Amartya leaves for Mayong, a strange land of magic.

Ashok decides to form a secret society and entrusts his chief minister Radhagupta with the task of finding nine experts in different fields.

In Mayong, Amartya has completely recovered from his injuries and has now gained a lot of knowledge about the secrets of Mayong. The magical Mayong comes under attack by unscrupulous people who want to learn the secrets of Mayong. They attack the city with dragons but the people of Mayong try their best to overcome them.

In addition to the secret society formed by Ashok, there is yet another secret society that has a hidden agenda.

What is the connection between Ashok and the lost city of Atlantis? What secrets does the Sphinx of Egypt hold? What is the connection between Ashok and Amartya? These are just some of the questions raised by the end of the story.

I believe that the author is planning to take the story forward in a sequel. I for one, am awaiting the sequel in order to get the answers to the questions raised. “Ashok and the Nine Unknown”, is a story that will certainly appeal to readers.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: THE HEIST ARTIST

Book: The Heist Artist

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Author: Vish Dhamija

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Harper Black

Number of pages: 262 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “The Heist Artist” by Vish Dhamija in exchange for an honest review.

The story begins with a description of Vagh Pratap Singh, aka “Captain”, a con artist wanted by the police.

The Captain has been assigned to pull off a major heist, one that if successful, will give him enough money for the rest of his life. He has been asked to steal an already stolen painting, ‘Poppy Flowers’, painted by none other than Van Gogh! This job is given to the Captain by an unscrupulous politician Udhham Kumar.

The Captain takes on the identity of an art professor in order to trace the painting. As Udhham Kumar does not trust the Captain completely, he assigns the beautiful Sylvia to keep tabs on him.

Once the painting is located, the Captain plans a daring heist to steal the painting and bring it to Udhham Kumar. Sylvia and Damodar, Udhham Kumar’s man, are sent to assist the Captain in bringing the painting in safely.

However, each individual in the story has their own agenda. So begins a thrilling journey of car chases, double crosses and betrayal. To complicate the situation further, an upright policeman Hari Mohan Gupta, who is determined to arrest the Captain and bring him to justice, is also hot on the Captain’s trail.

Will the Captain get away with the robbery or will he end up arrested or dead? The reader needs to read the story to find that out.

I recommend this book to readers as an engrossing and interesting thriller that will leave the reader hooked until the end.

BOOK REVIEW: VANARA THE LEGEND OF BAALI, SUGREEVA AND TARA

Book: Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara

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Author: Anand Neelakantan

Genre: Mythological Fiction

Published by: Penguin Books

Number of pages: 309 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy to read and review this book as I enjoy reading mythology, especially Hindu mythology. Also, it made a refreshing change from the recent novels that I have read.

Before I started reading the book, I realised that I did not know much about Baali or Sugreeva beyond what stories I had read based on the Ramayana. I knew practically nothing about Tara.

The book begins with a detailed introduction by the author who shares various stories about the births of Baali and Sugreeva. The author also explains how myths and stories have evolved over generations.

The story begins with Baali and Sugreeva, the two brothers being raised in the ashram of Sage Gautama. As the brothers belong to the tribe of the Vanaras or the Vana Naras, they are shunned as monkeys and made to do the menial work of the ashram.

Sugreeva witnesses Ahalya, the wife of Sage Gautama, committing adultery with Lord Indra, which sparks off a series of incidents that force the brothers to run away from the ashram and seek refuge in the forest.

The brothers wish to reunite with their tribe, the Vana Naras but are not easily accepted by the tribe. It is only the eunuch Riksarajas, who takes in the brothers and becomes an adoptive father to them. He takes them to Mahabali, the Asura emperor to study.

Meanwhile, an interesting love triangle starts between the brothers and Tara, the beautiful daughter of Sushena, the Vaidya of the Vana Naras. This tension between the three of them continues throughout the story.

Baali with the help of Sugreeva and Tara establishes the city of Kishkinda and attempts to restore the pride of the Vana Naras.

The circumstances that lead to the rift between the brothers which results in Sugreeva seeking out Rama and Lakshmana and Baali’s death, are extremely fascinating to read.

The characters in the story are portrayed wonderfully: Baali as the alpha male, Sugreeva as the younger brother with a sly streak, Tara who is an extremely capable woman and even Hanuman, Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana.

Do read the book if you enjoy reading mythology. I recommend ‘Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara’ to readers as enjoyable, interesting and informative.

BOOK REVIEW: THE CONQUEST OF THE EAST

Book: The Conquest of the East

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Author: R. Durgadoss

Genre: Historical, Fiction

Published by: Rupa Publications

Number of pages: 226 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story is about the Chola dynasty, and is set during the reigns of Raja Raja Chola and Emperor Rajendra Chola. Though the Cholas have defeated the Pandyas, they have failed to recover the royal crown and the other jewels.

The story begins with the birth of Surya, in none other than a jail, as his mother is incarcerated there. Surya is born with a unique birthmark on his chest. Though his mother rejects him and his father is unknown, he is taken in by a family who then decide to adopt him.

Surya is blessed with unique abilities concerning water, he is able to stay underwater for a long time without breathing along with other abilities! As his adopted father is a commander in the Chola navy, Surya’s talents are noticed at a very early age and nurtured.

After helping the Crown Prince on an important mission, Surya is sent to the Chola Royal Army School where his talents are honed to the utmost.

Surya goes on to play a vital role in helping Emperor Rajendra Chola to recover the royal crown and jewels. This quest for the jewels takes him to the kingdom of Srivijaya, where he falls in love with and marries a princess.

But fate still decrees that Surya serve his Emperor and he goes back to his home to protect the Emperor against his enemies. Does Surya ever meet his biological parents? Does he succeed in serving the Emperor and doing his duty? The reader will have to read the book to find out.

I highly recommend “The Conquest of the East”, as an extremely interesting story that will appeal to readers who love old historical/mythological stories.

BOOK REVIEW: ELT-DUK AND THE COMPANY OF GOLD HUNTERS

Book: Elt-Duk and the Company of Gold Hunters

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Author: Yash Sharma

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Published by: Invincible Publishers

Number of pages: 140 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story is set in Northly Earth. In the town of Mirkota, there reside Tigun and Misarel who are “gold-hunters” and O’blame who is a businessman.  Ispichu, Tigun and Misarel’s communicator pigeon brings them the news that there is gold to be found on Elt-duk.

Accordingly, Tigun and Misarel decide to embark on quest to Elt-duk to prospect for gold. They rope in O’blame as their financier and business partner and he decides to join them on their voyage.

But what is Elt-duk? It is a dark, doomed and cursed place where no one dares to go.

On the way, they rescue an elderly man who is being attacked by flying beasts. That man, Buk Parsomin, turns out to have magic powers. He warns them not to go to Elt-duk as the Trroths and the Burburks want to occupy it.

The gold hunters accompany Parsomin to the kingdom of Monaar in order to meet King Altreen to warn him about the coming dangers. King Altreen is reluctant but finally agrees to offer some help to Parsomin.

The author has ended the story in a way that makes one certain that he is planning a sequel.

I recommend this book to readers as fairly engaging and interesting. The main drawback in the book was that I kept feeling that the story has been heavily inspired by Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.