NUMBER OF PAGES: 349
SERIES / STANDALONE: The Bone Angel Series #3
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of France Book Tours
Historical Fiction is always a pleasure to read if the writer has a way with words. The story when written properly would have the potential to transport the reader to the period in which it is set. Time travel otherwise isn’t technically possible. I experienced that absolute bliss of time travel with this book.
Midwife Heloise, born a bastard, heals and tends to childbirths in her small town. Taunted by her status as a bastard, she resolves never to give up on her profession of healing and swears an oath on her mother who was a healer/midwife herself. Married to a handsome stonemason, Heloise’s future looks blissful until the gory disease of pestilence threatens to wipe out France. Fearing death, Heloise’s husband prohibits her to treat any pestilence patients. Torn between her husband and the oath she swore, Heloise is forced to make a choice - A choice that ultimately ends up impacting the life and death of her village folks.
With flawless and progressive characterization and each characters emoting to dot, the story was simply magnetic. I had to finish the book off! The writer managed to show all possible shades of a character along with all possible emotions. That is one absolute rarity these days. For some reason, writers tend to “write” actual history and facts in the middle of the story if the story in such a background. That is absolutely boring and results in one huge drop in the pace of the book. Thankfully, this writer really did no such thing. Of course, there was a bit of “history” but it was totally in context and essential to understand the story line. To satisfy history buffs who expect historical facts, the writer had an appendix that talked about the time period of which this story was set in. That made an interesting read for me. It is needless to mention, the writing was fluidic and simple. The only peeve point I had was with the pace of the story midway. I felt she gave too much importance to gory deaths that the pestilence caused, but however, I later felt that she did only to emphasize what risk Heloise was actually taking.
MY SAY: The perfect historical fiction!
BOREDOM QUOTIENT:1/10(lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
GENRE: Fiction - Historical
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of Italy Book Tours. Thanks guys!
Having this insatiable appetite for books based in Italy, I picked this book too. The Old Italian culture is simply a romantic notion for me.
The Inheritance is the story of two women – Anna and Caterina. The story opens with Caterina being born under Anna’s presence. Sadly Caterina’s mother, who is Anna’s most trusted servant, dies during the child birth. In spite of being from an elite family, Anna is determined to take care of Caterina against her husband’s wish. Eventually Caterina grows up, so does Anna’s sons. What follows is a story of star crossed lovers.
When the story began, I was in awe with Anna’s character. She was so strong and independent. Sadly as the story progressed, that trait was simply lost. Anna tolerated the pathetic treatment that her older sons and husband meted out. She never stood up or acted against their barbaric actions. While one part of the story involving Santo (Anna’s husband) was all cold and evil, the other part of the story, with Caterina and her dad, the cook Bruno and Anna’s youngest son, Lorenzo was all warm and colorful. The contrast was a bit too stark for my taste. The writing obviously was a bit too stiff and there were too many characters without any proper impact. To my complete surprise, the book ended on a cliff hanger. It was like the writer decided to slam the break on car that was progressing with a steady speed (particularly towards the end)
MY SAY: One time read. Worth totally because of the climax
BOREDOM QUOTIENT : 4/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 6/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Amazon Barnes & Noble Chapters/Indigo
GENRE: Fiction - historical
NUMBER OF PAGES: 284
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy as a part of iRead Book Tours. Thanks guys!
Wine, Olive, Sicily – An intoxicating combination for someone who has been dying to explore Italy ever since I met and interacted with beautiful people from that country. When this book came up for review, the summary conjured up an image of a picture postcard village with passionate people. The story didn’t deviate one bit from that image.
Antonio Sanguinetti and his son, Giuseppe, along with fellow villagers are determined to overthrow the Vasaio family who has reigned over the village of Bellafortuna. The Vasaios had initially offered loans for farmers who struggled with their harvests. As time progressed, the entire village was under huge debt to the Vasaios who charged exorbitant interest rates. The Sanguinetti, being Wine merchants, weren’t exactly under Vasaios grip as they haven’t taken loans from them. Impacted by sufferings of the villagers under Vasaios and an haunting past, Giuseppe grows up loving music and eventually ends up uniting people by using music. He is quite ambitious and devises a plan along with the rebellion society that was formed to overthrow the Vasaios. Does his plan succeed? Will the glorious past of the picturesque village be restored to its former glory where the farmers prospered?
The first few chapters of the story were dedicated to character building. The writer took his sweet time to build characters and the story block by block. Needless to mention, all characters had that rich depth that was very vital for such a story. Then suddenly the plot picked up pace - especially after the death of an initially main character mid-way. The writer brought in subtle elements of sorts to emphasize that the book was set in a different era which would have been lost otherwise – for example, the tolling of Church bell when a fellow villager passes away, the Opera culture and the horses as a means of transport. The story ended on a rather optimistic note. Such endings always given that good feel after having experience an emotional roller coaster in the form of the story.
One element that truly requires a mention is the vivid description of Sicily. It simply increased my want to visit Italy! The beautiful ruins, the breathtaking view of valley, I could imagine everything!
My only qualm with this book would be the liberal usage of Italian. Though various phrases have been translated to help people like me, there were few times when I had to Google to check meanings.
MY SAY: That perfect summer read.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 2/10 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
AUTHOR LINKS: Website Twitter Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Amazon
GENRE: Fiction – Historical
NUMBER OF PAGES: 376
SERIES / STANDALONE: Ram Chandra Series #1
After ‘humanizing’ Lord Shiva, writer Amish has taken upon re-telling Lord Ram and his life story. Scion of Ikshvaku is Amish’s fictionalized version of Ramayana, the epic that has been interpreted and narrated by countless people. This book has been recorded as one of the most extensively marketed books with the book trailer going viral, pre-orders jumping and a lot of digital contests. Naturally, the strategic marketing resulted in people expecting a magic from Amish. Sadly, this book failed to match the level of magic that the Shiva trilogy managed to create. That might be because Ram’s character isn’t as dynamic as Shiva’s.
Read on ONLY if you have read the book. /*this review contains spoilers hereinafter*/
Unlike Lord Shiva, who got a radical makeover in Amish’s previous books, Lord Ram or Emperor Ram is more or less the much ethical and law abiding man from the actual Ramayana. Sita’s characterization, on the other hand is a different story. She is this strong spear wielding administrator unlike mellow Sita from the actual Ramayana. The other characters, Laxman, Bharath, Kaikeyi and Manthra have all been given a rather refreshing twist which had a huge impact on the story line. Ravana, as of now, has also been unaltered and remains the loathed evil demon. I don’t exactly trust Amish to let that be in the subsequent books. It is evident that he has done a lot of research about Ramayana, its protagonists, the sequence of events and the underlying philosophy. To revamp almost all the characters, such research is vital. One thing that I loved utterly was that, Amish stripped all the characters of their supernatural element, like Ravana having 9 heads or Ram’s birth - making the story a realistic and natural read.
Like the characterization, the plot has also been revamped, re-adapted, re-engineered (or whatever re-word you know of) from the original Ramayana leaving a majority of readers (me included) in a state of shock. I was stunned with the liberties that the writer took adapting the Nirbhaya incident and Darupati’s Swayamvar into Ram’s tale. More than anything, one school of thought that pushed the envelope for me is where the nobility of Ayodhya and Emperor Dashrath hate Ram as his very birth was the reason Dashrath lost the battle against the evil Ravan. In a way that made me love Ram a bit more than I already do.The plot line so far was laced with right amount of twists and turns. So far so good, but I’m definitely curious about what is to come, for the crux of Ramayana is yet to be narrated.
Let’s face it. Amish is no literary genius, but then he created a cult following with Shiva trilogy and revived the present generation’s almost extinct interest in mythology. His simplistic writing aided the books in reaching even the people who don’t read books much. His writing has come a long way from being sober to being narrative (specifically in this book). To re-engineer and gave a face-lift of sorts to a much read tale, one needs to have guts and be unapologetic about it. It is evident that Amish fits that bill perfectly.
MY SAY: A one time read and page turner with right amount of drama and action.
PLOT : 8/10
NARRATION: 6/10 (I found the philosophical part on leadership and laws to be a bit repetitive)
CHARACTERIZATION: 9/10 (Especially for Sita’s character!)
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 3/10 (The lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 7/10
This is something which I felt has to be mentioned. I had an opportunity to meet the writer and interact with him during The Hindu Lit Fest 2015 in Chennai held on the month of January. For some one who has sold a lot of copies and wrote sensible mythology, he came across as a simple and warm man. When the announcement about this book was released I was debating if I should really pick this book up.
Ramayana is close to my heart because my parents brought me a copy of this epic when I was beginning to understand the sense of right and wrong. It was just not another story for me. It much more than that, for it taught to be devoted like Lord Hanuman and humane like Maa Sita - two lessons that I strive to perfect till date (oh yes! Lord Ram wasn't really my hero at all in the story). That is why I have always avoided reading adapted versions of this epic. I can't possibly handle my favorite story being misinterpreted.
I sincerely hope that writer Amish, doesn't end up altering my sense things. I picked up this book only and only because, his previous books were much in line with my though process. When it comes to mythology, books really do alter my thought process and beliefs. I know this might sound childish or even may be immature, but this is who I really am and I'm unapologetic about it.