This brilliantly written (seriously, it's fantastic!) book is one of those that make you think that just about anyone might bMindfuckery at its best.
This brilliantly written (seriously, it's fantastic!) book is one of those that make you think that just about anyone might be the murderer, and even though you will have probably guessed who at some point, you'll never really be sure until the end.
And speaking of the end, it brings us to the point why I gave it only 4 stars instead of 5 - (view spoiler)[The scene at the end with Anna at Elise's grave, whispering "I win."? Contrived, out of place, jarring, did not fit the tone of the book. After reading 400+ pages of Anna's mental anguish and the narrative's brilliant deflection of suspicion over every character but her, we get that one line of utterly cliched, and, dare I say, trashy writing that has no place in this book. (hide spoiler)]
Recommended for fans of Gone Girl, who will lap up this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Disclaimer : If you have not yet read the blurb for this book, DO NOT READ IT - It gives away way, WAY too much information. (BuFuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Disclaimer : If you have not yet read the blurb for this book, DO NOT READ IT - It gives away way, WAY too much information. (But if you are of the kind that believes that it's the journey and not the destination, then go right ahead).
If you've already read the blurb then the mindfuck factor of this book lessens considerably, but the ending will still make you gasp and say "What?! What?!" for about 10 minutes straight.
Recommended for those who like works by Gillian Flynn....more
I hadn't read any of Sanghi's books before picking this up, but if his writing skills in the Krishna Key is anything to go by, then I can safely say II hadn't read any of Sanghi's books before picking this up, but if his writing skills in the Krishna Key is anything to go by, then I can safely say I dodged a couple of bullets. I won't waste space pointing out the innumerable similarities between the Krishna Key and the Da Vinci Code, as it's been done to death by the other reviewers on Goodreads. Instead, let me put together a list (in no particular order) of stray observations I made while reading this book. It's going to be a LONG one, so please bear with me (Or skip to the end for the TL;DR version) -
1. If anybody is labouring under the delusion that this is a book with a plot or a story, filled with action, intrigue, conflicts, resolutions and happy endings, let me stop you right here. This isn't so much a novel as one giant-ass lesson in history, mythology and theology. EVERYTHING that happens in the book is done for the sole reason to allow Sanghi to include as much of his research as possible into the book.
2. While the amount of research gone into this book is commendable (and I admit there is no way I can read through all the material mentioned in the appendix to verify or refute his theory), at times it feels like Sanghi is just trying a little too hard to connect everything (literally) to India/Krishna/Vedas (I mean, Noah (He of the Ark) actually comes from Naoh (Hindi word for boat)? Really?)
3. Sanghi has made use of the omniscient POV (my least favourite kind) while writing this book. This means that we get to know everything, everyone of the characters is thinking or saying or doing at all times - which can be an overload of information. It also means, we don't get to spend enough quality time with any of the characters to be able to develop an attachment to them, and end up not caring about anything that happens to any of them -
One of the characters nearly dies in an avalanche! (Don't care.) He is bleeding to death! (Yawn.) All of a sudden, with nothing leading to it whatsoever, they're in love now! (Watching paint dry is more exciting than these two.) They are trapped in a cave-in! (Can we get on with the story already?)
4. The writing is awful. Just...no. The descriptions of characters are extremely cringe-worthy and give the impression that Sanghi has only the vaguest ideas of how most Indians look like -
- [He] had been blessed with godlike physical charms and unblemished complexion... - [She] had the body of a Rajput warrior queen and the analytical mind of a Tamil engineer... - [His] outward appearance was that of a geek - ill-fitting clothes, uncombed hair ... face was blemished with acne and his personal hygiene left a lot to be desired...
(this last one made my blood boil a little because, not only do I consider myself a geek and find this extremely offensive, but, also, it is SO CLEARLY stereotypical and LAZY, that it leaves no room for any doubt that Sanghi doesn't give two hoots for his characters - he only needs them as a mouthpiece to show off his research)
- On his balding head was a straw hat that gave him the appearance of a mafia don...
Half the time, the characters say things that are so unbelievable, that even suspension of disbelief doesn't quite work here. Imagine, if you will, an Indian cop who says things like -
"Cat got your tongue?..." "Your femme fatale friend..." [Talking about jail] "Welcome to Hotel California. You can check in any time but you can never leave!"
5. The editing is careless, to say the least. I can recall two instances (page 301 and 389) where Radhika and Saini are referred to as Priya, respectively.
6. At one point, Saini, an Indian professor, says to Priya, fellow Indian - "For your information, a yojana is about nine American miles...". Excuse me?? Since when did Indians stop using the metric system?? It is things like this that make me loathe to pick up books by Indian authors! From this one statement, it is SO OBVIOUS that Sanghi has written this book keeping (probably non-existent) American readers in mind, while the truth is that almost all of his readers will be Indians (because, c'mon, which American in his right mind will want to read a Da Vinci Code rip-off?). Know your audience, Sanghi. DO NOT ALIENATE THEM.
7. Sanghi has a habit of over-sharing. Throughout the book we are told that the characters are wearing Reebok shoes or Levis jeans or carrying a Samsung Galaxy XCover or using an Apple iPad or driving a Yamaha bike with a 150cc engine or smoking a Cohiba cigar....!! Are you being paid to endorse these products, Sanghi?? No? Then quit it, because (and I cannot emphasize this enough) NOBODY CARES. Give us a gist of the scene and settings, and leave the rest to our imagination. Do not spoon-feed us and insult our intelligence!
8. Speaking of insulting the reader's intelligence, Sanghi also has a habit of re-iterating key passages of the book during a big reveal. In italics. I can almost hear his voice in my head going, Look! See! Here's the twist in the story BUT I HAD ALREADY HINTED ABOUT IT BEFORE. See how smart I am?!?!?! And since you're too stupid to figure it out on your own, I'm going to remind you about the hint by typing it again! In italics! Because that's how it's supposed to be done!!!!!!!
9. Finally, let's talk about the plot. Can I say, contrived much?
So we begin with a Mr. Varshney, who starts off the whole thing by giving Saini a VERY IMPORTANT ancient seal. He tells Saini to safeguard it for him as he is afraid his life might be in danger. Question, WHY is his life in danger, Mr. Sanghi? What gave him the idea? What did he figure/find out that led him to believe that what he has in his possession is also wanted by dangerous people who will stop at nothing to obtain it, and that he has to give it to FOUR different people to keep it safe, all of whom HAPPEN to be descendants of Krishna? How did he convince those people to do this favour for him?
Also, Every character we ever meet conveniently has an abundance of knowledge on Indian history and can spout them at will. Even the so-called "mob boss" knows the ins and outs of Krishna's escapades, as well as detailed info on nuclear transmutations(!!!!!)
Don't expect us to just go along with your story, Sanghi, make it believable!
10. The ending. Oh God, the ending! The norm in reading a book is that the ending is supposed make the rest of the journey worthwhile. That's the whole point of the book. Sanghi spectacularly fails in this. The ending is so abysmally done, you feel like tearing at your hair and throwing the book at the nearest wall, for having wasted your precious time on this drivel. Through the whole book, they gather the seals, escape from death, travel across the country, only to be told, and in turn tell us, that (paraphrasing) "we should aim to be better people in life and only then we can be happy". Not a peep about the seals or the Krishna Key after that. So everybody in the book died for this?! I READ THROUGH ALL THAT CRAP FOR THIS?!?!?!
TL;DR - Less thrills and more facepalms. Terrible writing. Shoddy editing. Contrived plot. No story. Severely lame ending. Too much historical information stuffed into one book. Don't bother reading unless you're a Indian mythology/Conspiracy theory buff.
P.S - I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't see the reveal of Mataji coming. But that might be because I really didn't care about the story at that point....more
I made the mistake of reading this late into the night and ended up sleeping with my door locked tight.
Ten is a retelling of Agatha Christie's famousI made the mistake of reading this late into the night and ended up sleeping with my door locked tight.
Ten is a retelling of Agatha Christie's famous 'And then there were none' with a YA spin on it (That should make you want to read this book, right there!).
If you haven't read Christie's version (and you really, REALLY should), ten random strangers end up on an island, each of them having been called there by a friend/acquaintance they haven't heard from, in a long time and find themselves mysteriously cut off from the mainland with no way to contact anybody outside the island. To make things much, much worse, someone is killing all of them off, one by one, and since there is no way in or out of the island, it has got to be one of their own. And no one can be trusted. Christie's book, in my opinion, is a masterpiece in the Crime/Mystery literature genre.
McNeil tries to stay as true to the original story as possible. Ten teens end up on an island for a party after they all receive a Facebook invite from someone they all know. Once there, they watch a video which has a creepy message in it for all of them, assuring them of their imminent doom. And before they know it, the power's gone, the telephone's out and one of them is hanging from a noose, dead.
Although the book started off on a very, very shaky start (I almost put down the book after the first couple of chapters), the plot and the writing is deliciously eerie. It creeps up on you much like the mysterious killer in the book and scares the bejesus out of you when you are least expecting it.
BUT, having said that, Ten falls short of the mark because of the poor characterization. The female lead is your typical Mary Sue - shy, whines a lot, completely ordinary with no likeable character traits but still SOMEHOW, inexplicably, manages to grab the attention of the cutest guy in her class, shows spontaneous life-saving skills, out of the blue, when needed the most, etc. etc. McNeil needs to work on her "showing" skills a bit more. She's done a LOT of "telling" in this one.
But all in all, a good, scary novel (it's based on a Christie book, for crying out loud!) Recommended....more
For some reason, whenever someone had mentioned this book to me earlier, I had always pictured a cowboy on horseback chasing down a train in the wild,For some reason, whenever someone had mentioned this book to me earlier, I had always pictured a cowboy on horseback chasing down a train in the wild, wild west, complete with a lasso in his hand. I have no idea how I made that relation but the image stuck. And since cowboys and westerns were not really my thing, I had never felt the urge to pick this book up, until now.
Oh, how so very wrong I had been!
You can safely assume I kicked myself a fair number of times after I was about a quarter-way through this book, for this was most definitely NOT a western!
The Great Train Robbery is a basically an account of a event that actually occurred about a century and a half ago, put together by some excellent research work by Michael Crichton. I can only imagine the number of people he had had to talk to, the amount of newspaper clippings he had had to go through to put together this tale so wonderfully that never, not for a second, do you doubt that those people had said and felt and expressed the very things mentioned in the book, in actuality. In fact, the side tidbits Crichton offered shed a wonderful light on life in the 1800's and I, as someone who knows little about how the world worked back then, thoroughly enjoyed those insights.
Simply put, this story is about a man who wants to steal some gold, and who enlists the help of certain skilled people to pull the whole thing off, all based on a crazy, insane but highly intricate and meticulous plan. A fellow reviewer likened it to the Victorian Era's Ocean's Eleven, and I couldn't agree more.
The fascinating thing about this is IT ALL ACTUALLY HAPPENED. The fact that an audacious, insane, genius of a man pulled off such a large-scale, highly publicized robbery IN THE VICTORIAN ERA is simply astounding - so much so that one comes to admire and root for him in the end. (view spoiler)[I actually cheered out loud when I found out he got away with it finally! :D (hide spoiler)]
Brilliant narration of a thrilling tale. Highly recommended!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Narrated alternatively by the two protagonists, Gone Girl tells the story of Nick and, his wife, Amy. Got to give it to thThis was one messed up book.
Narrated alternatively by the two protagonists, Gone Girl tells the story of Nick and, his wife, Amy. Got to give it to the author, the writing pulls you into the book. Each chapter reveals a new facet of Nick and Amy, how damaged each are, and shows just how skewed a person's point of view can be.
We begin with Nick - a down-on-his-luck, small town guy who has married a wealthy, pretty, big city girl. From Nick, we learn that though they were pretty happy in the first few years of their marriage, things have begun to fall apart now that both of them have lost their jobs and moved back to Nick's hometown. Always used to the best in life, Amy slowly changes and turns into a bitter, cold woman who looks down on her husband and never misses an opportunity to let him know that.
But don't go feeling sorry for Nick yet. Amy has her turn next. Written in the form of diary entries, we learn about Nick and Amy's life through her eyes and see that all she has done so far is love and support her husband while he has slowly been retreating into a shell, shutting her out completely and taking all his frustrations out on her. Amy feels alone and is at a loss as to what to do fix her marriage.
Then, one day, Amy disappears into the blue.
Nick comes home to a clearly staged "crime scene" and the police quickly catch on to that fact, and he becomes the main suspect in Amy's disappearance. Clues begin to pop up everywhere and they ALL seem to point to Nick. A treasure hunt, designed for Nick by Amy - a yearly anniversary tradition - finally leads Nick to believe that nothing is as it seems.
Most of the characters in the book, especially Nick and Amy are extremely well fleshed out, flaws and all. It is quite easy to imagine such people living around you. The first half of the book is brilliantly written. Never, at any point, are you really sure which of the two, Nick or Amy, is telling the truth and who to root for. But, the second half didn't sit quite right with me. While it was all STILL GOOD, the plot become a little too elaborate, the crime became a little too perfect.
I was all ready to give this book a 5 star when nearly done with it, BUT, then came the ending. Which was as fucked up as they come. Not only was it not believable but there was also no proper resolution.
(view spoiler)[SERIOUSLY SPOILER-Y SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU DON'T WANT THE BOOK RUINED FOR YOU!
(view spoiler)[For, not only did the psychotic bitch get away with everything, but Nick also agreed to all her conditions and dropped all chargers against her just for the sake of the baby and CONTINUED TO STAY WITH HER AND BE MARRIED TO HER, WITH BOTH OF THEM PRETENDING TO LOVE EACH OTHER WHEN EVEN THOUGH ALL THEY WANT IS TO KILL EACH OTHER AND BE DONE WITH IT.
4 stars out of 5 just because I HATED the ending.["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
Disclaimer: A little suspension on disbelief is required by the reader to read Micro (or any3.5 stars out of 5.
This book can be summed up in one gif -
Disclaimer: A little suspension on disbelief is required by the reader to read Micro (or any other MC book, for that matter).
Nanigen is a robotics company which recruits seven graduate students (each from a different field) as part of its research team. Nanigen is light-years ahead in its technology, seeing as how its scientists have come up with a "tensor generator" which is able to shrink humans to micro sizes. Teams have been successfully shrunk and sent into the forests to study micro-organisms, most of which have never even been identified by mankind till now.
As it turns out, the CEO of Nanigen is a bad, bad man. Because of a scandal that one of the graduates uncovers, the CEO, in his rage, shrinks the graduates and abandons them in the forest teeming with predetors of all sizes. The seven of them have to survive against all odds and return back to normal size somehow before the "micro-bends" (a suddenly manifesting disease that causes internal hemorrhaging which eventually leads to death) gets them.
A classic Crichton book. I can honestly say I'll never be able to look at the world around me the same way again. We never usually pay attention to all the tiny creatures in and around us - the millions of bacteria inside us, the pretty butterflies flitting around, the centipedes, millipedes and ants crawling everywhere, the strange unnamed worms or mites we (I) carefully step around - in our day-to-day life but Crichton brings them to attention in a horrifyingly gripping way (I had to put down the book many times because I was too grossed out to continue!). Let me just tell you now - The ants that you see scurrying around minding their own business are NOTHING like the cute and friendly ants you saw in "Honey, I shrunk the kids", when you are their size.
But it's not all bad, too. Crichton also offers us a glimpse into how the world works from the very heart of it. There is one scene in particular where one of the characters plays with a paramecium - that's a protozoan, usually invisible to the naked eye; I thought that was pretty cool :)
Unfortunately, in the end, I was able to give this book only 3.5 stars. For me, the major let down was (view spoiler)[the death of, who was till then, the main character. After that the focus shifts to the secondary characters and, while it is definitely unorthodox, it also felt very clumsy to me - maybe it could have been handled better under a different author. (hide spoiler)]. Also, all the deaths in book felt forced. It's like the characters all died just for the sake of dying - none of the deaths had any purpose.
The ending, as well, fell a bit flat but unlike to the destination, the journey was amazing :) Recommended.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more