Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams

Rating: 3.5/5

Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams
Author: Shubha Vilas
Genre: History, Indian, Mythology
Pages: 402
Publisher: JAICO
ISBN-13: 9788184955316

Reading and reviewing books are exciting enough for a bookworm like me but when you receive a book from the Blogadda book review team, imagine the  delirium! Ramayana - The Game of Life : Shattered Dreams is the second book in the series, the first one being Ramayana - The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince. I haven't read the first one but nevertheless it doesn't impair the continuity and allows the reader to enjoy it like an individual book. 

The story begins as Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya, finds himself in midst of nightmares and is restless. He is eager to make Rama, the eldest of his sons, his successor for the throne. Soon, the festivities begin but in the meantime Dasaratha's favourite queen hatches a plot to snatch the glory away from him and make her son, Bharatha, king instead. A promise made by Dasaratha to his wife Kaikeyi in a moment of pure ecstasy, has cost him very dearly; such that the consequences would change the course of history. 

Rama, the dutiful son and brother, cannot even remotely imagine to hurt his father and thus agrees to the condition of being banished from his home, the city of Ayodhya, for 14 years. The father who stood proudly besides his beloved son was now ashamed of what his callous deed had brought upon his kingdom. When Rama prepares to leave for exile, his wife Sita, follows him saying that Ayodhya will be an equivalent to a forest anyway without him. Lakshmana, Rama's brother, also pleads to accompany them. The book ends with the trio, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana heading towards the Dandakarnaya forest leaving their home behind.

So many of us claim to know the Ramayana but personally, after reading this book I realized that there are so many tiny details that we have accepted at face value. Sometimes we never ask questions or aren't curious to find out what the real reason behind a ritual/observance is. Despite that, they are followed even today. This book throws light on so many such small but relevant questions that we have obviously overlooked. For example, how did Dasaratha get his name? Why did Bharatha refuse to take up the throne? Believe me, there is so much more to what we already know. It made me wonder if I really do know anything about Indian mythology and culture after all. So many mysteries buried under thousands of years of ignorance and neglect are yet to be revealed. 

The style of writing is precise and interesting, especially for today's readers. The way this epic has been presented is truly appreciable. I must say, it is a challenge to keep the readers hooked on to one book, that too a series. The author, Shubha Vilas, has exceeded expectations beautifully. 

We all know that Lord Rama was known for his nobleness, fair judgement and was a template as to how a son, brother and king should live. Maybe we can't follow all that he did but there are some guidelines in the book which we can apply to our lives to enhance it. Along the story, there are footnotes that correspond to events that take place that 
are truly enlightening. As I said, these are pearls of wisdom at the bottom of every page. A very useful tool for us and the younger generation. Its a sure shot way to inculcate some mythology in them! At the end of it all, it was an illuminating experience, at least for me.

Highly recommended!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For - The Clifton Chronicles #4

Rating: 3/5

Title: Be Careful What You Wish For
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction, Drama
Pages: 400
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
ISBN-13: 9781447265092

Although a little delayed, this review was deemed to be put up as this book is the fourth installment in the Clifton Chronicle series. Lets get to the review.

The previous book had left us all in the dark when Sebastian and Bruno get involved in an accident and one of 
them dies. The story takes off from here as Major Alex Fisher, a pawn of the Argentinean smuggler, Don Pedro, is conveniently placed among the Board of Directors of the Barrington Shipping Company. Although Emma Clifton doesn't concur, the Board decides to go ahead with the investment in the luxury passenger liner, MV Buckingham. With the future of the company at stake, the construction of the ship commences in Belfast. Meanwhile Jessica, Emma's and Harry's adopted daughter, wins a scholarship and joins the Slade Academy of Arts where she falls in love with a Clive Bingham. But on her wedding day something terrible happens, which I will not be revealing here. The story continues hereafter with twists and turns covered in revenge and conspiracy. The story ends with another cliffhanger. Emma Clifton or Alex Fisher, which one of the two will be the next Chairman of the Board?

Well, this book was not as interesting as its predecessors, to be frank. The plot seemed insipid and too confusing with so many things happening simultaneously, lacking engrossing details. To think that the readers have waited  a whole year for such an installment, lets you down. It is well written but the plot is up in tangles leaving the confused reader to sort it out. I lost interest mid way trying to keep track of the story. The most disappointing out of all the books till date in this series, I must say.

I also read somewhere that there are now going to be seven books in this series as to what was previously, five. I figure it is going to be one long story, and I'm not exactly sure how to remember the characters and events throughout the waiting period. I don't know how exciting that sounds to you readers but all I can hope for is that it is worth the wait. Mr. Archer, we sincerely hope that you don't want us to take the title of this book in the literate sense! Hoping for a better sequel. Fingers crossed!

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