Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know I didn’t like the first book of the series, Infact I hated it with a vengeance unknown to me to be associated with books. Anyone with an iota of the sense of right and wrong, how women should be treated and what morality and loyalty would feel the same kind of anger and fury I felt. There was disgust written all over it because of everything the characters were painted with. Incest, immorality, greed and lust being the prime forces of the book.
But, like any curious person I knew I would come back to the next book of the series regardless of what it takes and how much it irks, and so happened the reading of “A clash of Kings”.

“Winter is coming”, the famous Stark words, and with it is coming all that has been the dread of living. The time for bounty and peace has gone and is being replaced with cold and merciless.The dead are rising and sorcery is set to rule the world.

The sky is marked with a comet looming large over everything and casting a shadow of doom and turmoil, scaring those who believe it to be a mark of something dreadful going to happen.
Daenerys, who in the last book was left with three hatched eggs of the dragons and is now known as the mother of dragons is crossing seas,set to bring back her clain to her lost kingdom.

Robert is dead, Cersei has seen to it with every bit a sly person she is. Many stake their claim to the throne and many will lie dead in the war.
The Seven Kingdoms and the Dragonstone are all going to clash in the turmoil and there is not one single ruler that you would wan’t to win his claim to the throne.

Robb Stark is now the King of the North and is on his journey towards Kings Landing to bring back his sisters from the evil grips of the Lannisters.
The current ruler, if only in name,Joffrey is cruel, selfish and more of a pawn in the hands of his mother and courtiers who know not what loyalty means and can be bought with gold and titles anytime.
Meanwhile, Robert’s brothers Stannis and Renly have their own notion of being the rightful heir to the throne.

Arya, is hiding and going through all sorts of hardships. She has some friends and many foes and lots and lots of courage. Everytime a chapter on her comes I know it’s going to be an interesting one. She is definitely full of promises ahead.

Sansa, on the other hand is finally seeing the truth of her relationship with the King and is happy enough to be free of the relationship now that Joffrey is supposed to marry Marcella and not her, but is still afraid of abuse that can come her way.

Tywin Lannister, the dwarf is still a mystery. His character has too many flaws and his identity is yet to become clear. At times he is plotting against his sister and at times he seems to be grateful to be a Lannister. It is his own follies that will open his secrets. The most according to me that he needs is respect,recognition and love, something he has never got from his family.

There is rivalry, sorcery, incest, rising of the dead, rotting bodies, fratricide,strange shadows and any other evil that you can imagine all rolled in one huge ball of fire, burning every notion of how a normal world should be.

There is coldness and revenge written all over and nobody you can trust.
The only truth that comes out is that the throne would eventually go to the coldest and the hardest of all.
Another reason to go to the third book of series where I am actally supposing the story to take over.

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The Hobbit

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know that had I read The Hobbit as a kid it would have surely been a 6 stars book for me and I would have cherished and lived the adventure of Bilbo Bagginns and his crazy team of dwarfs forever.
I still do, I think it is a 6 star book(the kid in me is still alive) and I absolutely loved it from the beginning till the end when he finally came home much wiser and bolder than his previous unadventurous self.
Who doesn’t love a story with dwarfs, goblins, elves and a mighty dragon.
I wish there were fairies in this book too..It would have somehow made the story a bit more interesting.

Bilbo Baggins is an unadventurous hobbit and is respected for this quality. He loves being in his hole and living his cozy Life.
When Gandalf, the wizard asks Bilbo the question about ‘good morning’ and the truth behind it I just couldn’t keep chuckling with his humour and sarcasm as to what defines a ‘good morning’. Gandalf seems to believe in Bilbo Baggins and something in Bilbo makes him understand that he is going to be an important part of their adventure of bringing the treasure back.

When the story of this wonderful adventure started I was really amused at the way the dwarfs kept on coming up to his doorstep uninvited and all Bilbo could do was be polite with them and offer them courtsies and refreshments. And it is out of politness only that he is tricked into the adventure he doesn’t wishes for or thinks he is capable of .

Gandalf is very much a wizard and does what wizards do. Very wisely he sends Bilbo to an adventure he knows Bilbo is worthy of or will be worthy of when the situation demands.
As we read on we find that initially Bilbo is considered only to be a burden to the team but very soon he is respected and looked upto for suggestions and decisions.
He proves to be observing, witty, knows how to seize an opportunity,is challenging, quick of thinking, true to his words and a good learner.
He is the one to bring his team out of dangerous situations many times and is worthy of the share he is promised.
Isn’t this somehow our story too ?
We are comfortable in our situations and skins, not interested in getting up to any risk unless forced and content to live in our own hole undisturbed and unchallenged ?
Isn’t this also what makes us ordinary, respected at times for conforming to what the society demands, very polite in words though not in spirits ?
Bilbo Baggins is a story to tell that heroes are not born. Heros are made from what we decide to do with our situations, when we truly push ourselves.

We might have a lot to strive and we might get lucky too like Bilbo was to have found the ring or we can just choose to carry on with our mundane everyday lives.
It is a story every kid should read and re-read when they grow up,something to revive when spirits fall low.
It is a masterpiece, not to be missed.

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RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is something in these words ” Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”…They are as mysterious, intriguing and as full of suspense as the novel itself…
Manderly, the way it rolls off your tongue and makes you want to say it again…It has an etheral charm about it that will make you feel drawn towards it and want to know it for real.
I am simply in awe of the way the place has been described. So beautiful that you would be able to walk through it,smell and see the various flowers, rose gardens,shrubberies and inhale the salty smell of the sea that it is sorrounded with …

It’s not surpising why the book has been named” Rebecca” because that is who will be occupying your mind and keeping you on the edge till you have read the very last of the page.

There are secrets that are not revealed till you have gone through around two-thirds of the book and once they start coming out each and every line will be such a game changer that you wont be able to make out which way the tide is going to turn.
Strangely enough it is about a girl who has no one in the world and is married to an older, very rich man Mr. de Winter in ununsual circumstances when he is trying to get over her first wife who is now dead, Rebecca.
Yes! this is the word that is on everyone’s lips, so much so that the you will never know the name of the current Mrs. de Winter.
Such is the manner in which Rebecca will rule over your mind too.
After a few weeks they return to Manderley and that is when Mrs. de winter, a very young girl from a simple background comes to know that Rebecca had died in an accidental while rowing and her boat capsized.
Mrs. Danvers the houskeeper was very emotional about Rebecca and thus hates the current mistress of the house who has come to take her place.
Surprisingly, even the new bride finds her many times going through the same emotions of occupying someone else’s place. She enacts the entire scenes in her mind in great details about how Rebecca would have been,the place and her new life that overwhelms her and how the people would be talking about her. You would feel sympathy for her to be haunted by the ghost of Rebecca everywhere she goes.

“Rebecca, always Rebecca. Wherever I walked in Manderley, wherever I sat, even in my thought and in my dreams, I met Rebecca. I knew her figure now, the long slim legs, the small and narrow feet. Her shoulders broader than mine, the capable clever hands. Hands that could steer a boat, could hold a horse. Hands that arranged flowers, made the models of ships, and wrote ‘Max from Rebecca’ on the fly-leaf of a book. I knew her face too, small and oval, the clear white skin, the cloud of dark hair. I knew the scent she wore, I could guess her laughter and her smile. If I heard it, even among a thousand others, I should recognise her voice. Rebecca, always Rebecca. I should never be rid of Rebecca.”

Such is her plight that she thinks that even her husband hasn’t gotten over his dead wife and thus tries not to make him unhappy by asking too many questions.
It all changes when a shipwreck happens on the seas outside Manderley and a boat is found submerged with a body inside the cabins.
And when you will come to this point that you will lose count of your hours and minutes.
It’s a jewel-on-your-bookshelf book, a special-place-in-your-heart book, a want-to-read-it-again book and each time you do so you will be as mesmerised as you were the very first time you read it.
Highly Recommended!

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Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An extraordinary observer might have seen that the chin was very pointed and pronounced; that the big eyes were full of spirit and vivacity; that the mouth was sweet-lipped and expressive; that the forehead was broad and full; in short, our discerning extraordinary observer might have concluded that no commonplace soul inhabited the body of this stray womanchild.

Well, that is Anne-with-an-E Shirley for you.

I found her completely adorable from the very beginning and at times I found myself wishing to maybe meet her in person, to live with her and experience her liveliness which made her so charming and endearing that there wasn’t a single soul who came in touch with her and wasn’t left affected.

Her constant chatter,her insistence to be called Anne with an e because it is so much more distinguished and romantic,her bright outlook towards everything,her appreciation of kindered spirits, her capacity for imagination, her sincere sense of obligation towards Matthew and Marilla, her sudden burts of showing affection, her positivity inspite of being an orphan and having a difficult Life, her empathy towards anything living or non-living and her enthusiasm for anything and everything.

“It just makes me feel glad to be alive— it’s such an interesting world “,

Well, even her negative attributes of being vain, sentimental, arrogantly proud and totally unpredictable are completely endearing.
Her imagination sometimes had the better of her and she was reprimanded frequently for letting it run to the farthest corners of her rainbows and her sea of day dreams on which she blissfully floated with her romance infested mind that classifed everything.

I couldn’t feel amused at her little incidents, the way she reacted to Mrs. Lynde and then suddenly very sincerely apologised that she couldn’t help liking her.Her defiance to never speak to Gilbert when he called her carrots(and sticking to it till the very end), when she got Diana drunk and was disallowed to speak to her ever.

I loved her spunk, her truthfulness,her vivacity that filled the quiet house the brother-sister lived in.
And how Marilla, a naturally very simple,strict and staid woman comes to love her as a daughter she never supposed or dreamt to have.

‘I never in all my life say or heard anything to equal her,’
muttered Marilla, beating a retreat down to the cellar after potatoes. ‘She is kind of interesting as Matthew says. I can feel already that I’m wondering what on earth she’ll say next. She’ll be casting a spell over me, too. She’s cast it over Matthew.’

She found herself surprised to find how much she loved the little girl.So very slowly and steadily was that transformation that she didn’t realize it until when Anne had a fall and was unconscious.She was equally surprised when Anne decides to be with her towards the end, her obligations finally coming full circle where she has the opportunity to do something towards those she was ever obligated.

If Marilla was the base on which Anne learnt innumerable things, then Matthew was nothing less that the pillars that held her high.He might have been a kindered spirit that didn’t speak a lot but he observed everything nonetheless.I loved it when he observes that Anne wore different dresses than her friends and finally gets one made for her with puffed sleeves, something that Anne always wanted. He had his very sweet ways of showing Anne what she meant to him, not to forget that fact that it was he who wanted Anne to stay with them in the first place when they were actually expecting a boy and even when he

“Well now, I’d rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne,” said Matthew patting her hand. “Just mind you that– rather than a dozen boys. Well now, I guess it wasn’t a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was a girl–my girl–my girl that I’m proud of.”

Anne is the heart and the soul of this beautiful prose. She makes you laugh, smile and even long to be there with her so see her for yourself.
Even after her wishes came true she hasn’t changed.She just talks lesser.She has finally grown up to be a fine woman she was brought up to be and has learnt to let her intellegence, passion and energy run constuctivly and not let her imagination forget her duties.

“I’m not a bit changed–not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out. The real ME–back here–is just the same.”

My wish is to really have a little girl like Anne around, she would warm hearts and heal souls.
Something this world very urgently and desperately needs.

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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is the kind of book that would make you want to break your head up against a wall, never stopping even once and repeating it till you have lost all sensation and also a part of your brain that got mucked up reading this piece of nonsensical bull-shit.
The kind of book that would make you feel a burning anger within yourself and a helplessness both at the same time.
Anger because you were stupid enough to start reading this book and helplessness because you are one of those people who cannot rest till they have read a book completely once they started regardless of what it contains, or else the book will keep haunting and taunting them endlessly.
I am disappontedly surprised about the kind of rating it has, probably there are a lot of people in this world who can tolerate so much of nonsense and can still have a go at it with the rest of it’s series, but, I for sure am not one of them.
It is a fantasy book and it is allowed to have it’s own share of strangeness and violence considering that it is about a battle of thrones.But this surely doesn’t mean that such nonsense has to keep on repeating and repeating like there was nothing else to say or write and the author just wanted the readers to have a sense of drama regarless of what it takes.
The book had a good lining in it’s plot with the beginnings of existence of an alternate world which is different in the sense of it’s seasons that go on endlessly and direwolves as pets but for me this is where the difference ends.
The rest of the characters act in the same way as anybody in a fiction series would.
To start with, Eddard Stark , The Lord of Winterfell has a character of a noble thinking man true to his virtues, but he comes out only as a fool who lost his life at a cost of nothing, something he could have easily avoided lest he used a bit of his brains.
His wife Catelyn, nothing but so irksome that you don’t even feel sympathy for her when her husband dies.
Sansa , a typical air-headed bird-brain girl who has only beauty to back her with no strength of character.
Arya is probably the only one in the Stark family to look with admiration and hope that her rebellious character would keep her as fearless and audacious she is made out to be.
Bran , I sympathise with him.He would have been an interesting one to read had he not been crippled by the author ever since he came to Life in the book.
Jon Snow , Eddard’s bastard child who has been outcast with his albino wolf to guard the Wall and has all shades of what is so typical of such characters as always depicted.They are supposed to have super powers that come to them naturally. They are respected and loved by their brethren and are at the end somehow the ones that bring honour to the family that abandons them.Typical typical typical!

As far as the Lannisters are concerned they are nothing but vicious, cruel, pig-headed people.
I was hoping Tyrion Lannister ,the dwarf to fall off the slope when he was imprisoned by Catelyn and taken to her sister’s dungeon in the sky cells.I really really wanted to see him fly! I guess the cruelty was rubbing on to me too. Such was my hatred towards him, but then that is how his character is made out to be. To be crude, selfish and conniving, to be a dwarf of a man that he is, an outcast even if he is not a bastard on attributes of his physical characteristics. He is not even considered as a son worthy of mention when his father, Tywin Lannister speaks of people that he would like to remain alive. It’s his pain at being so royally ignored that makes you feel for him sometimes. Otherwise, he is also a part of the rest of crude characters so much the highlight of this novel.

And then at last is Dany,Daenerys Targaryen, the heir to the seven kingdoms, last of the blood of dragons. She is a character in herself. She is sold to Khal Drogo, the warlord of the Dothraki clan by her brother Viserys,her brother who was initially supposed to marry her(icky).There was a concept of brothers and sisters marrying one another to keep the bloodline pure.(yuck).So, Dany is married off to the khal in lieu of a promise that the khal would help him bring back the reign to the seven kingdoms that were taken from him.The details of the wedding and the consummation is something I wouldn’t even wan’t to remember lest it brings my brain to seizure again, but they are truly barbaric and brutal to the point of being utterly disgusting. Well, Dany is continually raped by her husband as is portrayed off as love when she gets pregnant and has to eat a horse’s heart raw and straight from inside the animal as is customary.
So much for fiction and fantasy.The details are gory and disgusting.I know ‘disgusting’ is coming too many times here but that is all that this book makes you feel.DISGUSTING!
Viserys is blinded by his lust for the throne and in an act of utter stupidity raises a sword to Dany. He says that he would be given all the gold and is then burned by the khal with molten gold over his head.
Dany’s unborn child is too dangerous for the current king and assassins are sent over to poisin her, but she is saved and in anger an attack on the Seven Kingdoms is led in retribution. The Khal gets injured and is infected.Dany, asks a maegi,a woman who casts spells to save her husband and the woman asks her of a price, the price is to be paid by Death of someone. The woman saves the khal by magic and in turn takes the Life of her son who is born on the same day. What is left of the khal is only a zombie and the clan also has abandoned them bacause the khal had fallen from the horse and they cannot follow a khal who cannot even ride a horse. Left alone and hopeless Dany ends her khal’s life herself with a pillow and makes a pyre in which she puts all of khal’s possessions and alo the maegi who had betrayed her. She also places her dragon’s eggs also in the pyre along with her husband which were gifted to her in her marriage.
The eggs hatch one by one when the pyre is lit and now Dany is the new leader of the few men left.
Utter nonsense of an ending of the first book of the series.

The book has a lot of loose ends that makes you want to see how the events are related.The things are just shoved at you and the best that they would do is throw you off guard with nothing to intrigue you.At most it would make you hate it more and more.

The women are totally abused and considered to be no better than cattle.There is no romance between those married , only sad depictions of women being used only to produce heirs. What a limited view of making something compelling for the male readers.The violence, swearing,abusing goes on and on in circles.There is no fantasy, only bits and pieces of stale fiction that you would find out in any modern fiction book that truly sucks in its imagination and originality.

This is only a melodrama that is the basis of any serial dramatics you see on TV.

The book is no different, so for anyone who might like this kind of a story would be better off watching the series rather than wasting time on a book hoping to gain something by doing so.
There is no intrigue, nothing mystical, no sense of direction,totally mundane and boring and has nothing new to push someone to read the next in the series.
It is a disappointing and DISGUSTING read to the core.

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Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva trilogy #3)

The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy #3)The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every great cause demands a sacrifice, a sacrifice that sometimes comes at such a great cost that it fails to justify the reasons associated with it and makes you wish if there was any other alternative way.
And that is what the ending of Evil also called for.
A supreme sacrifice that comes as a huge blow.
But, Evil had to be ended nevertheless so that the world could come to a balance once again and NeelKanth is prepared to give his all, but I don’t think that even he could gauge what would be taken from him.
The book has a sad ending, something that is so unexpected that it takes your breath away and fills you with an inner rage to be able to do something about it,to change it somehow and avenge those who have been a part of it.
But, it is still a great book.
Though it is not as fast paced as the previous two books
The Immortals of Meluhaand The Secret of the Nagas and wouldn’t make you feel as gripped about it, nevertheless the details of the war tactics to be deployed are commendable and the events are not to be missed.
There are various revelations in the book that would open your eyes and answer some questions related to Shiva’s blue throat, the mystery behind the pounding between his brows and the exposer of the main plotter behind all the conspiracy,Bhrigu, though I would have liked his character to be explained and exploited a bit more.
I hated Bhrigu and even Daksha ever since he was mentioned in the first book.He was spine-less from the beginning and couldn’t be trusted, so when Sati decides to go for the peace offering, I felt like waving all the red flags asking her not to do so.

Sati’s character is commendable.Even Kartik shows great strategies and depth of thought.I liked the way mythology has been woven into this book.That makes it all the more amazing to see how everything is related.

Every detail justifies as a means to an end and some scientific and mythological derivations are spellbinding.

Can’t find any fault with the book, but, I would have liked to see a greater role of Vayuputras in the entire plot to see why the third book is named such and also some confrontation between Bhrigu and Shiva and Bhrigu’s version of why he didn’t think Somras had turned Evil.

Even if The Oath of the Vayuputras isn’t comparable to how engrossing the previous two were, it still justifies to be a good book worth all your time and money and deserves 5 stars of 5.

The only bad thing is that the series has ended.
But, since there is a mention of another book on Mahabharata towards the end, I guess I can happily look forward to it.
Good job Amish Tripathi…I’m impressed,bring on the next one!

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