Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!

Here's wishing every reader, writer and book worm a very happy and exciting new year! Hope the coming year adds more to our life's vocabulary and we get to be a part of many great writings to come.

                                                                   HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Second Coming: A Love Story


Rating: 3.5/5

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Title: The Second Coming: A Love Story
Author: Scott Pinsker
Genre: Fiction, History, Religious
Pages: 238
Publisher: Scott Pinsker Publishing
ASIN: B00KT6B3G0


Let me begin by saying that this is my very first 'requested' review.I received a free copy of this book from Scott Pinsker, the author, and was asked for my honest opinion. So here goes.

The story is about two people, Joe and Israel, both claiming to be Jesus Christ. They are here to save mankind from the apocalypse and are forming their own group of followers for the same. But in reality, one of them is Satan. Both Joe and Israel, convince people to believe in them by presenting their own divine perspectives which, by the way, are totally opposite. The book is about how each of them represent their school of thought, one very modern and liberal, while the other with conventional theories of Christianity. When put across, both seem to be preaching the right way and the reader is left to guess which one of the duo is Satan. The book concludes with a religious war raging across America and the followers desperately fighting to bring victory to their respective camps.

Loaded with interesting dialogues, the book cruises at a fast pace. The conversations are not only witty and humorous but also contemplative. The writing style is modern and so absorbing that I made a mental note to be reading such books more often. The story, well, there is no story as such. It is a narrative of how a present day situation unfolds. The conflicting theories about religion and how people perceive it, is what defines the framework of this book.

I particularly like some segments where there are mentions of what we base our faiths on and consequently divide certain actions as good or bad which vary from person to person. There are some 'grey' areas as well (that fall neither in the 'good' or 'bad') which we aren't comfortable accepting in ourselves and others and is therefore, conveniently left out. The author isn't biased to any one side himself but explains both the good and the bad, quite convincingly. 

It is not too long a story but enough to give food for thought. A truly thought provoking book, I should say. I totally loved this book because it left me with a spiritual reflection and also compelled me to dwell on the intricacies of religion and faith. This one is certainly worth a read if you like to ponder over the existence and importance of God and other spiritual theologies. It urges the reader to examine in depth about his/her views on many topics related to the inner self. 

All in all, a must read. I'm sure the sequel, to be released next year, would be just as enthralling as this one.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Half Girlfriend

Rating: 3.5/5







Title: Half Girlfriend
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 268
Publisher: Rupa Publication India
ISBN-13: 9788129135728



I missed out on reading Revolution 2020, Chetan Bhagat's previous book. So, I decided to preorder this one and as predicted, it was at my doorstep on the 1st of October, delivered by the ever efficient, Flipkart. Moving on from my ramblings, on to the summary.

The story begins with Chetan Bhagat narrating about a visit he makes to Patna where he meets, Madhav, a forlorn lover who urges the author to read what looks like journals of his dead girlfriend (or half girlfriend, as he describes her). Our author is intrigued and asks Madhav to narrate his love story. Riya, the girl in question, is from a rich and flamboyant background who joins college, where she meets Madhav, whose English in nowhere near perfect due to his educational background. Their common love for basketball brings them closer but since Riya wants nothing more than friendship (and Madhav clearly wanted more), she agrees to be his half girlfriend. But due to a misunderstanding, they part ways and Riya leaves college to get married while Madhav is left alone with her sweet reminisces. On returning to his village after completing his education, Madhav takes over the school that their family had been running for the local children. As fate would have it,  Madhav meets Riya again and learns that she has abandoned both her husband and home and is now working and living alone. They continue being friends and when Madhav's school gets selected for a funding from the Microsoft Foundation, Riya helps him to prepare a speech that he has to deliver in front of Bill Gates who would be personally visiting. Although Riya gauges that Madhav continues to like her, she herself doesn't display any other emotion other than friendship. When Madhav successfully gives a speech on the D-Day and his school is approved for funding, he just wants to share his happiness with one person, but Riya is nowhere to be found. All he gets is a letter left behind by Riya saying that she has been ill for some time now and since she doesn't have much time, she wants to go away, as far as possible from everyone she knows, and die in peace.

Madhav is heart broken. He finds her journals but can't bring himself to read it. And as Chetan Bhagat was Riya's favorite author, he brings those to him. But when the author reads the entire lot, or whatever was legible, he finds a twist in Madhav's love story. Apparently, Riya was never sick and wanted to get away from Madhav because she thought she was no good for him and knew that unless she disappears, he would never let her go. So, she's alive after all and when Madhav learns this, he is enraged at first but then decides to go look for her. Whether or not he is successful in finding her and do they get together at the end, you readers will have to find out. No spoilers here!

Although I like Chetan's narrations, this one in particular stood out. It is simple and conversational. Some of the slangs are really funny. The flow of the story is beautifully steady which is great and that is why we love Chetan Bhagat, is it not? He is a great story teller! The story, according to me, is engaging except for a couple of things. First, the fact that Madhav doesn't speak good English is unduly stressed in the story. I cannot fathom why. If this was an effort by the author to string it with the English speech that Madhav had to make, then it was unnecessary. It is even mentioned in the summary behind the book, which is confusing because it isn't vital to the story. Second, the ending didn't seem realistic enough (read Bollywood!) and that comes from someone who has been watching Bollywood since childhood. I mean, it is nice but I kind of expected something different than the usual, I guess.

When I finished the book, I wasn't completely satisfied because, as said earlier, it felt as if I had just finished watching a movie. Instantly, a thought cropped up. Is Chetan Bhagat now writing only for Bollywood? All his books (except Revolution 2020) have been made into movies now. Agreed, there's no better way to spin money, but I just hope that we don't lose a sincere writer in the process.

So, my verdict is that Half Girlfriend makes a nice, romantic read, especially for young lovers. And for all the romcom fanatics out there, you too should definitely try this book!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Half Girlfriend - Chetan Bhagat's new book.


Buy Half Girlfriend (English): Book


Chetan Bhagat is back with his new book, Half Girlfriend, scheduled for release mid October this year. It is up for pre order on Flipkart. Click on the link below to pre order.

Buy Half Girlfriend


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Treasure Of Kafur

Rating: 3/5

Buy The Treasure of Kafur: Book





Title: The Treasure Of Kafur
Author: Aroon Raman
Genre: Fiction, Literary, Indian History
Pages: 400
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN-13: 9789382616122



After reading the Shadow Princess, I felt the need to divulge in more of Indian history and therefore, called for this book. This is the first time I was reading Aroon Raman and was waiting to find out if we had another Amish Tripathi in our midst. Here goes the summary of this book.


The story is about a boy named Dattatreya, who sets out on a perilous journey to save his grandmother, Ambu, whom the cruel king of Khandesh, Asaf Baig has kidnapped. The people of his kingdom are suffering due to his selfishness as he continues to demand more taxes to fill his treasury. He is also looking for the "Treasure of Kafur" which would enable him to take over the current emperor Akbar. The treasure was hidden years ago by Lieutenant Malik Kafur after raiding south Indian kingdoms. Ambu has known the location of this treasure and has kept it well hidden in the deep abyss of her mind. She gets visions now and then and hence, senses the danger that the ruthless king is after her.  Nevertheless, she is made a prisoner in his fort. Thus begins Datta's journey to reach Agra because Akbar alone can help and save his grandmother from Baig. Datta travels with his animal friends with whom he can telepathically communicate. There is an old and wise tortoise - Manas, the entire raven clan and a cow, Aditi, to help him out. They are later joined by Sheherezad, a huge parrot with blue and golden feathers, who knows the whereabouts of their journey. After facing great obstacles and crossing the unforgiving terrain, they manage to reach Raja Man Singh, Akbar's ally, who gives them shelter. Here, Datta makes new friends in Ahilya, Man Singh's daughter and Dilawar, a soldier in the Mughal army. Meanwhile, Asaf Baig blackmails Ambu to get her secret out. He engages the dangerous man eaters, Taraks, behind Datta to finish him off. Through the course of the story, we find that the treasure makes its way to Baig's hands. Did Ambu finally succumb and give up on the one secret she has been holding onto all this while? Will Asaf Baig take over Agra and seal the fate of his already suffering citizens? Readers will have to find out. No spoilers here!


The book has been a bestseller and frankly, it is not boring or lengthy. But from my point of view, the story line was weak. It took time to grasp in the beginning. Also, talking telepathically to animals was a little over the top, if you ask me. Besides, during Datta's stay at Agra he is trained for wars, which was unnecessary as it wasn't pivotal to the story. Simply put, although there were some loop holes, the narration and characterization were well depicted and that's what makes this book readable.


To answer my own question in the beginning of the post, sadly, I cannot say that I have found another Amish Tripathi. Although both the authors had well researched stories, the Shiva Trilogy was much faster and more engrossing than this one. Of course, I am not trying to be judgmental here but Amish has set the bar so high that subconsciously I tend to compare. My bad!


Overall, an OK read but will read another Aroon Raman only if I have something less interesting.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Poirot - The Ultimate Detective


This is a post from my personal blog I,Me,Myself. Since it was about Agatha Christie, thought I should share it here too.


Tu Mera Hero, Poirot!


The End is Near (Poirot Trailer)
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
Image courtesy: http://www.agathachristie.com/christies-work/detectives/poirot/1


All my life I have been reading and re-reading Agatha Christie's books. I absolutely love them. She has this ingenious capability to create some of the most flawless and complex plots and characters. But Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective with his distinguishing egg shaped head and stiff mustache, is Christie's masterpiece.

Just yesterday I was watching a Poirot movie. The Mystery of the Blue Train. Although I always maintain that nothing can beat the experience of reading, I was curious. Seeing David Suchet portraying him just made me smile. Oh, what an excitement to watch the clever, hot chocolate loving neat freak on screen! He looked exactly the picture I had always imagined. And so immaculately represented! You now, we Indians tend to over react to everything. Take Bollywood. We need songs and dances to convince ourselves of the happiness, excitement or misery around us! In some places, fans build temples for their  beloved movie stars! Yes, that happens. So, on witnessing the saakshaat roop (a personified image) of my favourite detective on screen obviously made me delirious! I recorded the movie and watched it, again!

Seeing this movie has made me 'Poirot sick' now. I have tons of books in my to-read list but I think I need to take a break, breathe in some Poirot, and then resume unhurriedly. I'm sure to come out refreshed and energized for the next book.

"Order and method, Mon Ami", in Poirot's own words!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Shadow Princess

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy SHADOW PRINCESS: Book




Title: Shadow Princess
Author: Indu Sundaresan
Genre: Fiction, Literary, Indian History
Pages: 380
Publisher: Harper Collins India
ISBN-13: 9788172239978



'Shadow Princess' is the third book in the Taj Mahal trilogy. I haven't read the previous two books and I'm glad that this book does not have a continuing story line. So if, like me, you have no idea what happens in the prequels, it is absolutely fine because this book starts anew and is a story in itself.


The story opens with the delivery of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan's fourteenth child. When she passes away due to compilations in childbirth, the powerful emperor is reduced to a forlorn figure as he struggles to come to terms with the tragedy. So great is the void that he considers giving up the mighty throne. It is then that he decides to demonstrate his love for his most beloved wife by building a luminous tomb in her honour. With the death of Mumtaz Mahal their elder daughter, Jahanara, assumes the responsibilities of the royal zenana and also of attending to her father's every need. She evidently supports Dara, the eldest son, to be the next in line for the throne, should such a situation arise. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Roshanara, envious of Jahanara's popularity in the palace, purposefully backs Aurangazeb, now and then helping him with royal secrets. But the petty vie takes on a nasty shape as both the sisters fall in love with Najabat Khan, an amir in their court. While the politics brew in Shah Jahan's own palace, he is busy over looking the construction of the tomb. Due to many instances of humiliation and skepticism Aurangazeb faces from his own father, he decides to prove his worth by taking over the empire. Even if it was at the cost of his brother's lives and keeping his father and sister captive. The story ends with the agonizing death of Shah Jahan, the mightiest and wealthiest of all Mughal rulers, who would endlessly gaze at his marvelous creation, the Taj Mahal, from the octagonal balcony at Agra Fort while in captivity, remembering his precious Mumtaz.




Although the book is called the Taj Mahal triology, the story is not entirely about building it. Yes, there are chapters dedicated to the construction of the tomb but the bulk of the story is about the life and happenings in the lives of Shah Jahan's children. Not all of them though. And this is where the pleasure of reading this book lies. The author has portrayed the characters as closely as they were in real life which is evident owing to the fact that there has been some extensive research in the subject. And I must say, it is a commendable work. The narration is superb. Of course, not all the events in the story are true, as specified by the author herself in the epilogue. But overall, a good story.

'Shadow Princess' is highly recommended. It is an excellent rendition of the Mughal era finale in India. A must read for Indian history fanatics.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ruskin Bond's new book for Pre Order

Buy The Writer on the Hill : The Very Best of Ruskin Bond: Book


Ruskin Bond's new collection of stories The Writer on the Hill is up for pre order on Flipkart.
Pre Order here.







Wednesday, April 30, 2014

First Sight

Rating: 1/5

Buy First Sight: Book




Title: First Sight
Author: Danielle Steel
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 310
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780593063170



It was sometime during my college days that I read the one and only Danielle Steel book that I read (befire this one). Sadly, I dont remember the name of the book. But it was a good one and since then I have been wanting to try her books again. Her stories are usually about women and their conflicts with romance. Atleast that's what I have come to know.

First Sight is about Timmie O'Niell, a highly successful and renowned fashion designer from New York. Despite the fame and riches, Timmie has had more than her share of hardships. The early stages of her life were spent in an orphanage and as if that wasn't cruel enough, she ends up divorcing her husband after their son suddenly dies. Since then she has been totally devoted to her career and her fashion shows. On one such trip to Paris, her favorite city, she meets Dr. Jean Charles Vernier when she unexpectedly falls violently sick. He is the handsome and polite doctor who stands by Timmie comforting and assuring her. Although he is married with kids, he doesn't seem particularly happy and Timmie finds herself falling in love with him even when she is back home. They have a long distance relationship when the doctor confesses that he cannot severe his family relationships abruptly in spite of his desolate marriage. Do they get together or does Timmie face yet another heartbreak? I leave it to the readers to find out.

As for my experience regarding this book, it was a relief when it was over. The passages are so repetitive that I thought of skipping pages! But I didn't. Probably that's why it took me so long to finish this book. Danielle Steel's narrative is so boring, with repeating the same things over and over again. Half way through the story, I almost thought of abandoning the book.

I would not recommend this book and definitely will think twice before reading another Danielle Steel. Repetitive and painfully slow.








Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chennaivaasi

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy Chennaivaasi: Book




Title: Chennaivaasi
Author: T.S. Tirumurti
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 270
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9789350291016



Chennaivaasi is a book by the author T.S.Tirumurti. I read the summary and since it mentioned a TamBram boy, I thought I should give it a go (TamBram meaning a Tamil Brahmin). Being one myself, I found the story and its instances empathizing and closer to home.

The story is about Ravi, a TamBram boy from Chennai and Deborah, a Jewish girl from America who fall in love and want to to get married with the parent's blessings. While Deborah's parents agree Ravi's father, on the other hand, is enraged. The tradition-bound and adamant man that he is, Appa (as Ravi calls him) is unmoved by the countless pleads and reasoning by his son and shuns him out of his home and life. Nevertheless, Ravi and Deborah take up jobs and shift base to Chennai hoping to resolve the matter. Subsequently as Ravi's mother comes around and is just settling to the idea of an American future daughter-in-law, there is a glimmer of hope. But her sudden death causes a drift among the members of the family and the issues only get worse. Appa leaves his house due to internal disputes and comes to stay with Ravi having no other choice. Whether he accepts Deborah into the family and sorts out his estranged relationship with his son, shapes the rest of the story.

This is the first time I'm reading T.S.Tirumurti's work. It is quite impressive considering the effort put into the style of writing. It doesn't seem deliberate but quite natural actually. It is not often that one comes across such precise use of words and proper writing. One can feel and live the life of a Tamilian in the story. It is so well explained. Little nuances such as the Navarathri celebrations at home, use of words like 'manni' (meaning bhabhi) and the first batch of coffee decoction being served are fond memories for any TamBram like me. Although not a Chennaivaasi myself, the rules of a Tamil household remain the same all over the planet and I, for one, can vouch for that!

The story does sound a little like 2 States by Chetan Bhagat but it is not. Chennaivaasi is not merely struggling for the parent's approval but also includes individual stories and emotional journeys. The characters are the typical south Indians, likely to be any of our relatives/parents. Well written and very believable. Altogether a good book for a quick read. Recommended for sure.

If you are a Tamilian away from home then grab this book and read it while sipping on your hot filter kaapi. Trust me, it is more fun that way!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wise and Otherwise : A Salute to Life

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy Wise and Otherwise : A Salute to Life: Book





Title: Wise and Otherwise : A Salute to Life
Author: Sudha Murthy
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 232
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN-13: 9780143062226



Yet another splendid book by Sudha Murthy, this time with real incidents out of her experience closet. As is the case with the rest of her books that I've had the pleasure reading, this one too leaves the reader with a distinct humbleness and sometimes, with a disturbing truth.

This book is a set of short stories (true occurrences), that took place with the author herself. As the strong, open minded and always-ready-to-help woman that she is, Mrs. Murthy's stance in majority of these stories highlights the plight of the common man/woman in India. Whether it is a rank holder with a poor financial background or an educated and working married woman, the height of helplessness is so prominent that it moved me to tears. On the other hand, there are also tales of those helped by the author reminiscing and being grateful that humbles her, leaving a smile on her face.

Short,nice and touching stories of humanity irrespective of caste, creed or religion. This book is a refreshing change to the cooked up stories that we usually read. Highly recommended.

PS: In these stories Sudha Murthy mainly talks about her experiences as the head of Infosys Foundation, a non-profit organisation, that reaches out to those in need in the far interiors of Indian villages. The book has compelled me to check their website out. For those interested, here is the link:  Infosys Foundation











Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey

Rating: 2.5/5

Buy Fifty Shades of Grey: Book





Title: Fifty Shades Of Grey
Author: E. L. James
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Erotica
Pages: 528
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-13: 9780099579939



I had heard so much about this book being on the bestseller list and all, and one of my friends explicitly suggested reading this one too. I put it on hold because I had to finish reading the other books in hand. But when I was finally done, I thought to explore this particular trilogy. I seriously thought this would be somewhere in the lines of a Mills and Boon but I was astonished! Not sure in a happy way, though.

The story is about Anastasia Steele, a university student, who interviews an immensely rich (and insanely handsome) businessman, Christian Grey, for her college newspaper on behalf of her roommate. From the moment they set eyes both are drawn towards each other. Although Grey displays his affection, he is distant and mysterious especially when he says that he cannot touch her unless she signs a contract. The story takes a rather disclosing turn when Anastasia realizes that Grey needs her to be his submissive sex slave. Confused and totally inexperienced, Anastasia is unable to resist him and gives in to his aloof but caring attitude. After all, he appears to be struggling with his disturbed past. But she wants more from him - a closer bond. Their relationship and her emotions are taken for a bumpy ride and she cannot decide whether to comply and carry on or to stop it all.

This is the first book in the series. The narrative is from Anastasia 's perspective. She is this 22 year old girl who has never been in a relationship and now that she is, she is confused whether to stay with him despite his tendencies to punish her if she doesn't agree to the terms of his contract? Really? Christian Grey is this extremely rich, Greek God who seem to have seduced a number of women on the pretext of his fetish. I can't say that I enjoyed reading this book. Reason being at some places the story is too fantastic and at times, too weak. I somehow couldn't bring myself to relate to the story. Not my cup of tea.

I enjoy reading romantic stories and this book is romantic, no doubt. But the heavy take on extreme physical habits and the unbelievably compromising angle from Anastasia sort of tips it off the scale. I am not sure if I would be reading the next book "Fifty Shades Darker". How much more "darker" can Grey get anyways?!?





Thursday, February 20, 2014

Falling In Love Again

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy Falling in Love Again: Stories of Love and Romance: Book





Title: Falling In Love Again
Author: Ruskin Bond
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 208
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN-13: 9788129120434



I have always associated Ruskin Bond with ghost stories and haunted houses in the hills, but a romantic book? I had to try this one out!

The books contains several short stories of romance and love. The emotions bared by the author are surprising to someone like me because, as I said earlier, I have never come across this other side to him. All stories expose the colorful sentiments of a lover. Sometimes as a forlorn one waiting for a glimpse of his girl and at times as a passionate boyfriend stealing a kiss. But in all, he is the sincere lover. One who, when loves, does so wholeheartedly. And when there are the Himalayan hills, the oak trees, the little knolls and streams of clear running water in the background, these tales get even more amusing.

Well, I am pleasantly surprised and glad that I chanced upon this book. Turns out Mr. Bond is a true romantic after all! Who knew?!?










Friday, February 14, 2014

The Reluctant Detective

Rating: 2.5/5

Buy The Reluctant Detective: Book                               




Title: The Reluctant Detective
Author: Kiran Manral
Genre: Fiction, Humour
Pages: 184
Publisher: Westland
ISBN-13: 9789381626115


To begin with I would like to say that I had high hopes out of this book. Why? I liked the cover of the book and the summary seemed interesting but that was about it.

The story is about Kay (Kanan Mehra). She is a housewife who loves to interfere in people's business. A murder takes place in her neighborhood and she, along with the help of Detective Runa, tries to solve the case. That's about it. Really.

Although I wouldn't deny there are a few light moments in this story, the overall book wasn't fascinating enough. This is not a book to read when you want a simple, if not hardcore, murder investigation that will race your mind and move you to the edge of your seat. The characters and circumstances created by the author are sloppy at times and as one can judge by the cover of the book (that being allowed for this particular case here), there is too much talk about weight issues, fashion, kitty parties etc. There is no thrill a detective story needs to have.

Well, it is not a bad story but could have been plotted better. Ho Hum.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Clifton Chronicles' Next Installment

Buy Be Careful What You Wish For: Book




'Be Careful What You Wish For' by Jeffrey Archer is the next book in the Clifton Chronicles series. It is due for its release mid March 2014 and is up for pre order on Flipkart for a discounted price of Rs. 299.



Take One Arranged Marriage

Rating: 3.5/5

Buy Take One Arranged Marriage: Book




Title: Take One Arranged Marriage
Author: Shoma Narayanan
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 192
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN-13: 9789351060536



The best part about Mills and Boon is that no matter how many times I read similar stories of romancing handsome hunks, there is always an excitement that does not permit me to just put the book down. On the contrary, I managed (I say managed because of my obligatory baby breaks that I had to take) to finish the book in half a day flat. The worst part? Well, the books always finish too soon!

This story here is about Tara Sundaram, a south Indian girl whose parents are looking out for a suitable boy for her to marry. Enter Vikram Krishnan. The typical Mills and Boons hero who is tall, well built, and needless to say, ridiculously handsome. Although Tara is instantly attracted to Vikram she settles for an arrangement to marry him and move to Bangalore so that she could pursue her PhD there. And Vikram needs a wife to accomadate his social status.They get married and she attempts to know him better. But as loving as Vikram is, he seems aloof and immersed in his work much to Tara's dismay. Was this arranged marriage a smart move after all? I leave it to the readers to find out.

Nicely written by Shoma Narayanan, the story is simple but powerful. The characters, their behavior and circumstances are easier to relate to, everything being Indian. Definitely worth your time.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Inferno

Rating: 4/5
























Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Fiction, Adventure
Pages: 528
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-13: 9780593072493


After 'The Lost Symbol' I was a little skeptical about buying this book, but I went ahead and bought it anyway in the slight hope that it might have something interesting inside. Dan Brown didn't disappoint me this time.

The story unfolds with the famous Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, waking up in a hospital having absolutely no memory of his whereabouts. He soon finds out that he is in Florence and is still in a confused state when an attempt to assassinate him is made. With only Dr. Sienna Brooks by his side and a vivid memory of a silver haired woman telling him to 'seek and find', Robert Langdon has to unravel the mystery behind all the chaos occurring around him. As clues lead him from Florence to Venice and then to Turkey, he realizes he has only a little time left to save the world from an irreversible transformation. All this based on Dante's epic poem - Inferno.

The narration is excellent but what caught my attention was the detailed explanation about the places in the story, especially Florence. It made me want to visit the place and experience first hand what has been so beautifully described. I'm sure the Italian government is thanking Mr. Brown for the increase in tourism with this book's release! As for the major characters, Dr. Brooks is portrayed as one of a counterpart to Langdon. Then there is Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey, the WHO head, who is revealed in the latter part of the story but somehow not prominent enough. Lastly the trouble maker, Bertrand Zobrist, is that twisted character who leaves clues for Langdon to follow.

The plot is similar to the author's previous books but catchy enough. It is quite a big story with loads of historical information especially about Dante, his works and his homeland, Florence. Definitely recommended for readers interested in historical art.

Overall, a fast paced thriller packed with factual information about middle age Italian art and history. A thumbs up for this one!







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