My love for Italian culture stemmed from reading plenty of fiction which was based in that country. This book is the epitome of my Italian fantasy. The story line is quite simple and doesn’t have much to go on so to say, but the narration and characterization is way too good.
Our protagonist Sophia succumbs to the sorrow of losing her parents. Having raised by a mother who loved the Italian culture, Sophia connects with her mother’s Italian muses and heads on a path of self-recovery. She goes to Italy to study art and connects with every important historical moment her mother had told her about when she grew up.
My want to visit that beautiful place filled with such rich history increased leaps and bounds after reading this book. The crux of the story is rather simple – a girl on a road to recovery with memories of her mother which intertwine with Italy’s rich history. The story contains major chunks of interesting history of Italy’s famous persona like actress Sophia Loren, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Garibaldi, Dante Alighieri and Casanova. Then there are the others whom I hadn’t know of – Marcello Mastroianni, Simonetta Vespucci, Eleonora De Medicim Lucrezia Borgia, Lorenzo de Medici, Filippo Brunelleschi and Giuletta Capuleti. The story itself is divided into 8 parts featuring various states of Sophia’s life featuring each of the above mentioned persona who help her out in times of trouble. It is apparent that the writer knows her history well and is familiar with even the most vivid detail of all the sights mentioned in the book. With such lush narration and vivid description, this book is dream come true for me. In fact, Sophia is such an inspiration for me to step up and work towards my dream of learning Italian and visiting the country. In spite of being so beautiful, the writer hasn’t described the real ugly face of the city. However, this can be overlooked. After all, some positivity doesn’t hurt.
The cover and the section covers deserve a special mention. While the cover it was just perfect, the short comment mentioned by another writer it spoiled it for me a bit. The section art work in black and white, with write ups, were brilliant. Given that this is an ebook, the writer had provided links for songs and other tidbits of information. I made a colossal mistake of reading this book on my kindle and couldn’t visit the links. Planning to re-read this book on my tab so that I can go check out all songs and other interesting information she has linked up.
MY SAY: One beautiful book.
About the book
Gabriel Valjan is back with another book featuring Bianca and Dante. Yet another book filled with dangerous drug dealers, corrupt agents, and scheming doctors. Having read the previous books in the series, I felt comfortable enough with the story. Though the book can be read as a standalone, I feel that it would be wise to read the entire series to understand each character well, which would eventually ensure that the reader is hooked to the story.
After the showdown in Naples, Bianca is on a time out with Dante. However, a call from an old friend leads her back to Boston. The team goes with her too. What follows is a Bianca traversing an intricate web woven with designer drugs, a talented hacker who goes by the name Magician, and of course, Bianca’s ex-employer Rendition.
Though this installment of the story is eerily similar to the other books in the series, in terms of character and plot development, there was one marked difference. This book showed the vulnerable side of all the characters in depth. That vulnerability set off the path for a different feel for the story. Bianca at one point seemed all strong and blasting off, but with Dante and Nick around she seems so vulnerable. The writer has established himself as a master story weaver. Just like his previous books, no heart pounding or smoldering hot scenes in this book. This book was like water bubbling away slowly to the boiling point and converting into steam slowly.
MY SAY: A perfect, well woven thriller.
About the book
NUMBER OF PAGES: 388
SERIES / STANDALONE: Roma Series #5
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from iRead Book tours in exchange for an honest review.
“I Controlled, I manoeuvred
I turned reality into illusion
I morphed good into evil
I made rules for you to follow
I scripted your destiny
I defined you”
The book begins with a chilling poem about manipulation, control and power. The narration paces back and forth between timelines and that of various characters, but all roads points to one character, Aswin Jamwal, the protagonist of the story. An honest and simple IAS officer is forced to quit his job when he is cheated by local politicians of Rajasthan for playing his role sincerely. He joins politics and eventually climbs the ladder too quickly, making a lot of enemies in the process.
The story kicks off at an alarmingly fast pace and is laced with twists in regular intervals to keep the reader engaged. Somewhere midway amidst all the subplots which made sense eventually the pace of the story slackened only to pick up pace again towards the end. On the retrospect, it did look like the writer was in a bit of a dilemma as to how to pave way for the climax. The characterization was good in spite of common flaws. Few characters were sculpted to emote well, while the others were mere eye candy! One part of the story, where Aswin rises to immense power reminded me of our own Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. I’m not sure if the writer intended that, but to me it seems to have been inspired by our PM’s style of administration. Also, the climax part which essentially deals with human psychology eerily reminded me of the movie Anniyan where in one character arises out of the desperation of inaction by fair means. The similarity stops just with the conflict, the resolution to the conflict has been dealt differently when compared to that movie.
MY SAY: Perfect Political Thriller.
About the Book
NUMBER OF PAGES: 224
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of Author’s paradise review program