Saturday, 20 December 2014

Book Review: Butterfly Season

Book: Butterfly Season
Author: Natasha Ahmed
Publisher: Indireads
Price: $3.17 (213 INR)
Pages: 169
Genre: Fiction Novella/ Coming-of-age romance
Blurb:  On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.

Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.

Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.

We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.
My rating: 4.25/5

My review:

"Butterfly season" is a novella that has surprised me to the core, in a beautiful way. When I started with the book, I expected it to be another romantic tale. However as I started proceeding, I fell in love with the narration style of the author and with the characters of Rumi and Ahad. The title is perfectly chosen for the book and the cover is pretty.

The book deals with two things simultaneously. On one hand, there is the intense love story of Rumi and Ahad. On the other, there is Rumi's journey to self-realization and self-discovery. The story starts on the note where Rumi meets Ahad at a friend's place in London, where she has gone for a vacation. Sparks fly between Rumi and Ahad instantly and they find each other irresistable. As their relationship progresses, Rumi finds herself in a quandary which challenges her long time convictions and throws her in a difficult situation where she can lose her entire family. In the midst of orthodox relatives, overprotective sister and a lover who is somewhat commitment phobic, she finds herself trapped. She languishes between light and darkness for a considerable amount of time untill she decides to walk towards the path of light (read: self-discovery) crushing the darkness.

The chemistry between Rumi and Ahad is scintillating and readers would root for the two of them to come back together. The characters in the book are very believable and each character has a different flavour. The dilemmas and predicaments that the protagonists face are very relatable. Some moments described in the book are so beautiful that you can actually picture those moments. Kudos to the author's narration skills! The instance where Rumi blurts something very hurting to Ahad totally out of confusion and regrets the next second is beautifully described. The Ghazal night at Ahad's friend's place where Ahad takes Rumi and obviously the instance where Rumi sheds all her inhibitions and runs to meet Ahad does not leave your mind after the book ends.

The climax is definitely beautiful. Though it is quite predictable, but the author has managed to make it very interesting. The language used in the book is marvellous, the flow is smooth and it's a treat to read the novella. I literally felt sad when the book ended as I was so engrossed in it.

Recommended to all! It's a superb work by a debut author. The book starts with these soul stirring lines of Jalaluddin Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

You can buy the book from here

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Book Review: God is a gamer

Book: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subhramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: 299
Page: 324

Blurb:  Aditya is an entrepreneur, running his own gaming company. The arrival of a part-time drug dealer and full-time genius named Varun turns Aditya’s struggling company’s fortunes around. However, things are not as they seem. A banker slips from the rooftop of a high-rise building and falls to his death. A finance minister with his heart on his sleeve discovers that he has made some promises which will cost him far too much. An explosion in Washington D.C. leads the FBI to a chase in Mumbai. The investigators begin to plummet down a world where bitcoins are the only meaningful form of currency. Here, everything is governed by the Dark Net, a group of nefarious websites dealing with illegal transactions. In this world, God is a Gamer, martyrs are villains, the hunters become the hunted and the ancient Greeks teach the secrets of assassination. In this new novel, nothing is what it seems.

My Rating: 3/5

My Review: "God is a Gamer" is a crime thriller devised in the global platform. There are plenty of interesting characters in the book starting from investigation agencies of both India and US, political leaders and some banking professionals. 

In the beginning, it was a little boring to read about so many characters who were introduced in a new chapter which spanned over only 3-4 pages. The extra short chapters was quite a turn off for me. I couldn't find myself getting hooked to the book. I couldn't connect with any characters even after finishing the 324 pages book. However as the mystery starts building up, the story starts getting interesting.

There are plenty of twists and turns thrown in teh story at frequent intervals and so you need to be very attentive. But when I couldn't relate to any of the characters, it was slightly tough for me to read the 324 pages book. Another drawback of the book was the climax which was quite cliched. The dots don't connect smoothly and the zigsaw puzzles do not fall rightly in place.

On the positive side, the fresh new concept of bitcoin thriller was the USP of the book. Though we all have heard about the term "Bitcoin", we don't have much knowledge about it. The book definitely sheds light on bitcoins but not too much. It delves on the mystery. The mystery is well crafted making it an interesting read. However so many events happen parallely that it is quite normal for a reader to feel lost if he doesn't pay 100 % attention. Plenty and plenty of dots which gets connected in the end, in an uneven way. The language of the book is easy going and so people can read it at a go.

Overall the book is more of a gaming thriller rather than a bitcoin thriller. The bitcoin thing is mentioned in some parts but the story doesn't revolve totally around bitcoins.It is a good story, the mystery cleverly crafted but not something to be cherished for long.

Despite the murders for virtual money, catchy title and easy language, this book couldn't impress me much. I guess this is not my kind of book. But however people who love to read such type of thrillers would definitely find it interesting.

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