It was my fault. I had WAY too many expectations from this one.
I positively adored and devoured the first installment of this series, The Name of theIt was my fault. I had WAY too many expectations from this one.
I positively adored and devoured the first installment of this series, The Name of the Wind, and so, understandably, I had high hopes for its sequel. But, man, what a let-down!
Let me make one thing clear here - I wasn't disappointed with the writing in this book; I was disappointed with the editing. Dreadfully done. There were just SO many parts of the book that we could have simply done without (As one reviewer put it - the goddamn Felurian bit!).
I get it, really. It's Rothfuss' baby so he'll write whatever the hell he wishes, but, if not him, couldn't at least the editor keep the readers in mind and crop out the unnecessary parts? Honestly, somewhere around the middle of the book (after Kvothe sets out to hunt down the bandits) I was skipping pages more often than reading them.
I also got the feeling that Rothfuss doesn't really understand women. Did anybody understand what Fela said when she was explaining how the female mind works (keeping Denna's behaviour in mind) to Kvothe? I certainly didn't - and I'm a woman!
I was all set to give this book 5 stars. And then I hit the Felurian part, and I came down to 4 stars. I ended up giving The Wise Man's fear 3 stars when I realized that I could have skipped this book and gone directly to the third, and I wouldn't have missed a thing.
P.S - I hate Denna. A lot. With a passion. P.P.S - Goddamn Felurian!...more
The best in the series, so far! Loved, loved, LOVED it!
The thing I love about the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series is that they keepThe best in the series, so far! Loved, loved, LOVED it!
The thing I love about the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series is that they keep you guessing! You think you have it all figured out, only to be proven wrong a few pages later. This was one such book - I could NOT put it down!
The Indigo King focuses on the mysterious Cartographer this time around. Much like how Dumbledore shows Harry the history of Voldemort and how he came to be, Jules Verne shows John, Jack and Charles the history of Mordred and the Cartographer, and how they came to be. The whole thing was expertly handled and was brilliant to read about. I cannot believe I actually felt sorry for Mordred at the end of it all! Just goes to show there are always two sides to a story.
The book takes time-travel in the Archiepelago to a whole new level! Several places, I found it a bit difficult to digest the story as I firmly believe, in cases of Time travel, you cannot change the past - what has happened, has happened and what will happen, will happen. The Universe always, always course-corrects itself.
So I wasn't comfortable with the idea that Hugo Dyson had gone back in time and somehow ended up changing the past. But in the end, Owen again managed to explain it all away, leaving me with no room to complain :)
But, I must admit, in the end, I got a bit dizzy trying to keep track of the chronology of the story. Maybe some day, after several re-reads, I'll be able to jot the chronology down on a piece of paper so that it'll be crystal clear, but, till then, I'm going to trust that Owen knows what he's doing and let him take me along on this ride to the magical world of the Archiepalago of Dreams.
Highly recommended just for the sheer shock-and-awe factor of the book!
P.S - Apparently Charles is awesome no matter what timeline he's in! His story-arc in the book was one of the main reasons I loved it :)
Even before I begin to write this review, I know right away that no matter what I say, I'll never be able to do this book justice. I'll try, though.
FiEven before I begin to write this review, I know right away that no matter what I say, I'll never be able to do this book justice. I'll try, though.
First, a little background :
"An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica -- an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between our world and the Archipelago of Dreams.
Pursued by strange and terrifying creatures, the companions flee London aboard the Dragonship. Traveling to the very realm of the imagination itself, they must learn to overcome their fears and trust in one another if they are to defeat the dark forces that threaten the destiny of two worlds."
Now, before you get any false ideas, do not go into the book expecting an unique and original story. Seeing as the story is set in a place where all the lands (ever written about in fiction), exist, you'll probably find yourself going, "Hey, haven't I read this somewhere, before?", more than once. But do not lose heart - the ending will explain everything.
The main attraction of this book is the author's writing. His love for his work, the world he is building and its characters, shines through in every page. I can give no higher praise.
Here, there be Dragons is fantasy in its purest form. A grand old adventure on a ship over foreign seas, with magic, dragons, elves, dwarves, goblins, trolls and many more! In these days where "fantasy" is synonymous with vampires and werewolves (ALWAYS with a bit romance thrown in) this book comes as a wonderful breath of fresh air!
And, the ending! Oh, the ending! Sheer cheek, and sheer brilliance on the author's part! :D Without giving anything away, I can safely say that it blew me away! The fantasy geek in me was thrilled to bits! :D
I cannot recommend this book enough to everybody. Fantasy lovers, this one's for you :)...more
After the first two books, I had high hopes. The writing was good, the plot was good; it had purpose - "Evil"
I am sad. Mr. Tripathi... what happened?
After the first two books, I had high hopes. The writing was good, the plot was good; it had purpose - "Evil" had risen in Meluha, Shiva had to stop it. Simple, yes? Throughout the first two books, we were given the impression that evil, in the form of some not-so-nice people, was lurking in the shadows, ever-growing, ever-menacing, threatening to disrupt life as they knew it,and it must be stopped at all cost.
And then came the third book.
As soon as I started the book, I knew something was wrong. Instead of the story being about Shiva and his ultimate, glorious triumph over evil, we were being told that, suddenly, the balance between "Good" and "Evil" had been destroyed and that Shiva must rise to the occasion quickly and remove "Evil" and restore "Good" (All this was told over 50 or so pages with the words "Good" and "Evil" being thrown in my face about 20 times per page. It is safe to assume by the end of it, I was nursing murderous feelings towards the author/editor)
Only, turns out "Evil" is not a person, or even persons, but, in fact, is the Somras. ... I know right? Ooooh, an elixir that gives you immortality and perfect health! SO EVIL!!!!
A vague and half-assed explanation was given about how that though the Somras is beneficial to some, it can cause side-effects among others (Nagas, Brangas) and so, even though it started out as "Good", it has now (out of nowhere) been declared as "Evil" and must be destroyed. Actually, no, let me correct myself. It wasn't declared "Evil" out of nowhere. It was declared "Evil" only when Shiva came to the conclusion (THIS was out of nowhere) that Somras was "Evil".
Don't even get me started on the contrivances in this book. Apparently, it was all planned from the beginning that Shiva was going to be the Neelkanth. His Uncle had given him some drink when Shiva was a kid (which Shiva conveniently remembered just now) that would ensure that his throat would turn blue when he drank the Somras, which would happen only if he drank it at the right time (Was his uncle psychic?) and that "Evil" would be recognised, or something would be accepted as "Evil", ONLY when Shiva decided it so (Does this mean, he could have pointed at a rock on the ground and declared it "Evil" and people would have accepted it blindly?!)
The good thing is, Amish has Shiva think like the readers and question the credibility of this whole shebang. The bad thing is, Amish tries to explain it away with a feeble "everything happened exactly the way it should because the universe conspired it so". Ugh.
Let's talk about Kartik, Shiva and Sati's son, a bit here. In this book, we find him as a superior warrior, defeating even the likes of Ganesh; leading vicious, bloody battles ending in victories; preaching and counseling even wise men like Maharishi Brighu. Which should sound perfectly fine - history is rife with brave, wise men like this. My problem? HE IS SIX F***ING YEARS OLD
Ultimately, what was most disappointing about this book (I had put it down for two days and completely forgot it pick it up again, I was that unenthusiastic) was the terrible ending. (view spoiler)[Sati is killed in what was one the most unnecessary deaths I've come across in a book in a long time and Shiva goes crazy and decides he's going to destroy the entire city along with the people who knowingly, as well as unknowingly, have contributed to her death. He has King Daksha and his Meluhan soldiers remain in Devagiri, while getting most civilians, including Brahmins who were involved in making the Somras, safe out of the city. He then sets a nuclear weapon on Devagiri and annihilates the entire place.
Let me get this straight. The goal was to destroy Somras or at least stop its consumption, but instead they save all the people with the essential know-how of the Somras and demolish a city, with innocent people STILL INSIDE, for no other reason than to avenge Sati. The end.
I have to ask - WHAT WAS THE BLOODY POINT OF THIS BOOK?! (hide spoiler)]
I give up.
P.S - What oath? What Vayuputras? Holy misleading title, Batman!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
1. DON'T read it just because it's written by JK Rowling. 2. DON'T expect it to be like Harry Potter - i.e, magicHow (not) to read The Casual Vacancy :
1. DON'T read it just because it's written by JK Rowling. 2. DON'T expect it to be like Harry Potter - i.e, magic stuff. (Read the blurb, nimrod) 3. DON'T expect a murder mystery - it isn't one. 4. DON'T read it if you are not comfortable with the fact that the woman who might have moulded your childhood, is writing about drugs, teen sex, prostitution, rape etc. - this book isn't for you. 5. DON'T compare this with her previous works, for the love of God!
When it was announced that Jo Rowling was coming out with a new book, comparisons with the Harry Potter series were inevitable. No matter how many times, and in how many interviews, Jo insisted over and over again that 'THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER BOOK NOR IS IT ANYTHING LIKE IT', a small part inside every fan, desperate for another book in the series (understandably), hoped for it anyway.
(And so, when they were invariably proved wrong, there was backlash. Half the negative reviews on Goodreads are because it's 'not a Harry Potter book', which just pisses me off, so let's not go there)
The Casual Vacancy is as steeped in reality as the Harry Potter books are removed from it. There's nothing fantastical about the story - it's simple and plain, told by holding nothing back.
The characterization in this book is simply mind-blowing. Each and every one of the characters is so very real (I know this word's been thrown around a lot, but seriously, there's no other way to describe them) and has such depth! Through the course of the book, they are all ripped apart, dissected with unflinching honesty and laid bare for the readers to see. There are very few likable characters in the book, whom we can root for and hope that things work out for them eventually, but all of them end up earning our sympathies in the end.
People have said that the characters in this book are not relatable at all. I disagree. Which one of us hasn't felt like a victim of the circumstances - hopeless, unloved, desperate, bullied, frustrated, at the end of our tether - at some point in our lives? We are all in the pages of this book. It's just that our stories are different. I think Jo has expertly managed to capture and show the best and the worst of human behaviour in the book; the worst being the inability to see beyond ourselves and our petty problems, while the best being our capability to change ourselves.
Having said that, the biggest strength of the book is also, unfortunately, its biggest weakness. The setting up of the characters and their lives just takes too long. The plot, if you can call it that, begins to move ahead only after about 300 pages or so. Which was probably the reason why it took me this long to finish the book - I was plodding along until I was so caught up that I couldn't put the book down.
The final few pages of the book were brilliant and typically Jo - sad, yet beautiful and touching at the same time. I don't understand why people say the ending was abrupt. For me, there was absolute and complete closure which left me smiling and feeling content long after I finished reading (Always a sign of a good book!).
I would like to reiterate that 'The Casual Vacancy' will not be for everybody. Some of you will probably give up after the first hundred pages, others will crawl along because it's Jo, and in the hope that she might pull a rabbit out of her hat at the end and surprise you with something "magic-ky" (she doesn't). Quite a few of you will hate it, but that's probably because this not your genre and you only picked up this book because of Jo, so, in that case, it's not her, it's you.
With this book, Jo has proved beyond a doubt that she can WRITE no matter what the genre is, that she still has that magical ability to tap into some part of us, connect with us and make us care, despite ourselves. However, unlike the Harry Potter books, this book will probably not be changing any lives any time soon (it certainly didn't change mine), but I'm glad to have read it, nonetheless....more