I have lived in Mumbai all my life and I am someone who is used to everything that this city has to throw at me. By this, I mean that I fail to really...moreI have lived in Mumbai all my life and I am someone who is used to everything that this city has to throw at me. By this, I mean that I fail to really see the city and everything that is wrong with it. I am immune to the pain and the poverty, the recklessness and the “my d*ck is bigger than yours” attitude of the rich, the ineptitude of the politicians and the police. I am happy to travel in my air-conditioned car to work and back, making a living which can buy me the comforts of life.
So I was interested to see what happens when the tottering city finally collapses. And this book brings it out perfectly. Under the garb of a fast-paced YA thriller, the author writes a story which goes beyond that and removes the gloss and shine which the city is always bathed in to show us what is truly possible.
The characters are pretty well developed, though the book left a lot of questions unanswered, not just in how things end, but also about each of the characters’ lives. I am sure all of this is something which will be revealed in the coming books. I have found out that there is a very short piece put up by the author on the main character which presents some of the back story. That, I suppose should also help.
The broad story line is not something which is unique, really. Boy and girl travelling through a crumbling city to stop the evil before it can strike is something which has already been done. What is unique is the really deep insight into the main character’s mind which the author is able to present through the use of first-person writing. It feels like you are in the mind of the character, and can literally taste her emotions.
The main character is like any other teen, rebellious and act-first-think-later. She seems quite immature at times, but is someone who is willing to take action and move ahead in the committed direction. Two things I would not have thought possible together, but which gel really well. The emotional turmoil she goes through is amazingly well brought out. I just loved how the book was able to place me solidly in her mind. There is so much potential here, I’d love to see where she goes from the end of the book.
The sights of the city are just breath-taking. Each new imagery evokes a sense of forlornness which is hard to keep in check. I think that the way the city is shown to react to the events which unfold in the book are quite right. I know that this is how things would unfold. There was a lot more which could have been shown, but I know that it would not really have added to the story meaningfully. The book made me wonder what I would do in such a situation. I think the people I know, me included, would take this sudden availability of free time by planning a holiday to one of the nearby getaways. You know, go stay in a nice 5-star hotel away from the city. This apathy to what happens to the city is something which the author is able to tap into.
The end was quite dramatic and wasn’t something I had expected, at all. It ended in absolutely the opposite direction of what I could have predicted. But, now that I think of it, I see that the ending was just perfect. It also leave me with a dramatic cliff-hanger and I really want to know what happens next. I do not want to give away anything from the book, and so will keep myself in check and not discuss this in the review, even though I am itching to.
Overall, a great start to the series, which leaves me wanting more. Definitely a series I am going to be following to the end.(less)
Kiwi’s gang is back in full force! Vickie has again created a huge fun filled adventure for us to follow, and I loved every bit of it. All the characters of the previous story are back with a few new characters. The list of new characters includes Kiwi’s mother Moogie who seems to be quite influential in Cat City and a giant mouse named Whiskers (I run away when I see a tiny mouse, I don’t know what I’d do if I saw a giant one!).
As anyone who has read the first book in this series knows that the kids named Amy and James have a cat named Kiwi, who is find of ‘magical’ and can covert these kids into kittens and take them to Cat City. After they return from their first trip to Cat City, the kids find it a little difficult to adjust back to their human selves and retain some of the habits they picked up in Cat City. This provides us with a few laughs. The adventure begins when Kiwi teaches the kids to talk to all the other animals. This new found skill helps them talk to the bees and find out what is wrong with the flowers around their house. Here they meet the ‘worrying bee’ who worries about everything.
The real adventure begins when they return to Cat City and soon find that some ‘Magic’ is missing. The adventure takes a serious turn when Cat City comes under attack, aided by some of the missing Magic. James’ pet hamster, Hammy also makes an appearance and plays a role in the story. Important values of friendship and forgiveness are really well depicted and kids can learn a few valuable insights about how true friends should really behave.
The story takes a number of twists and turns to reach a gripping conclusion as any further attack on Cat City is finally averted. I will not go any further to avoid giving out too many details of the story. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out what happens there!
Unlike the first book, this book is not entirely based in Cat City. The team moves back and forth between the human world, Cat City and ‘other worlds’. So the setting of the story is a bit different, but the readers do get to explore other new worlds and meet new animals.
There is a third book in the series, which has already come out, and I can’t wait to get to it. I also hope that the series continues to produce such magical tales for a long, long time. (less)
Disclaimer: If you have not read the previous two books in the series, this review is going to have some major spoilers for you.
Do you like it when a...moreDisclaimer: If you have not read the previous two books in the series, this review is going to have some major spoilers for you.
Do you like it when a series ends perfectly? Is it not nice to know that everything that was left unanswered in the previous books is finally answered by the author and the loose ends are tied together is the most perfect of bows? Personally, I don’t like series which end with things not explained clearly, or where it is left to the readers’ imagination about what happened to the characters after the series ended. If you like your series to finally end, and to end well, then this is the book. This is definitely the biggest reason why I am giving this book a five-star rating.
At the end of the last book in the series, we all knew that a war was coming, a war where the draykoni were going to try and lay claim to the world and fight the humans to regain control. Well, we are definitely not disappointed in that regard. The war forms one of the main story arcs in the book and it is a grand war, with everyone from humans to drakoni to the Lokants involved in it. In fact, the second big story arc in the book is about how the Lokants influence and meddle with everything that is going on. Of course, as expected Krays and Limbane end up on opposite sides of the war. I can’t tell you much more about the lokants’ influence on the whole situation without giving away the ending, but I’ll just tell you that there is a lot more going on than you can ever imagine. The war between Limbane and Krays is much more important than some petty rivalry.
I just love the development of Llandry as a character throughout the series. In this book, Llandry is now a mature, and dare I say, powerful human and draykon. I am amazed at the amount she has grown in the series, from the young, shy girl into a woman who has the power to bend wills, who stand up for herself and others, who can take charge of situations and who can be a mentor to others. Eva has also grown a lot, which may seem surprising. But, she too has been put into something completely new, and has undergone a lot of change since coming to know about her Lokant heritage. I really like how Pensould learns really quickly what it really means to be human. He may still have trouble, but there are times when seeing things from his perspective make me wonder about why humans behave in a particular manner. The relationship of Eva and Tren really grows too. Their love for each other comes out clearly, as they face immense danger together, support each other, and are not willing to leave the other behind.
The author never ceases to amaze me. Every time I think I have a firm grasp on where the story is headed, I get completely thrown off. In this book too, I had a mental image of how the book would progress and end. It did go on for quite a while in that direction when, WHAM! It took a completely different turn, and a story arc I could have never thought of is introduced. This story arc is so important because it perfectly ties off whatever we know about the world, its races and its history. It also creates an extremely powerful ending, one which left me breathless with action, anticipation, dread and relief. The ending finally explains why the draykoni can travel so seamlessly throughout the three worlds, why the humans have the ingenuity needed to win the war, and how the Lokants have been the reason behind all that is wrong and has been wrong with the worlds for a very long time.
There are some really powerful emotions explored in this book and they definitely deserve a separate mention. The author explores the high and lows of the emotional rollercoaster, with the good, bad and ugly all getting into play. The need for revenge for the draykoni, the quest for power by the Lokants, the love shared between Llandry and Pensould, the mercilessness of the power plays bwtween the Lokants, the desire to defend one’s home, all these make the book an extremely powerful read. By the end, the readers are left gasping at how much each of the races in the book has at stake!
This book is the perfect ending to the series; I really could not have asked anything more. This is a rare occasion where I am not left with questions but with a satisfied feeling for having taken this this wonderful journey with the author and her characters. Would it be too much of a spoiler if I say that all the main characters end up being happy, finally?(less)
Welcome to a new adventure with Nate Rocks! In this book, we may get less of Nate Rocks’ adventures and more of Nate’s adventures, but, this does not...moreWelcome to a new adventure with Nate Rocks! In this book, we may get less of Nate Rocks’ adventures and more of Nate’s adventures, but, this does not make the book any less fun and interesting. I was really happy to see Nate in action. Seeing him living in the real world, and less in the adventures he creates was wonderful!
This book is perfectly created for the MG reader. In this book, Nate is going to summer camp. I remember the time I dreaded to go on one sponsored by my school. I dreaded being away at a new place, among new kids, and having to adjust to a completely new environment. I dreaded the fact that I would not be accepted, would have to face bullies and I would end up doing something stupid or dangerous. Nate also has to face all these things. But, add to it the fact that is elder sister is going to the same camp, and it gets a whole lot worse. The only solace is that he has his best friend along with him. I can imagine, and somewhat remember going through the same problems that Nate does in this book. Every kid wants to be accepted in school and at camp. Most boys, including me, who have an elder sister feel that their sisters are out to get them. Also, we have all been bullied by someone at some point when we are that age (well almost everyone).
I liked all the small details which the author adds to help create the perfect image of every scene in the book. The car ride to the camp, the arrival, the departure of the parents, meeting other boys in the camp, the really hyper camp supervisor, and all the activities at camp all seemed to come to life in the book. It was like I was right there, alongside Nate, experiencing each and every up and down he was going through. And, I enjoyed every minute!
I did miss the consistent banter between Nate and Lisa. Wonder if I can call it that? That was a highlight of the first book for me, as it made me remember the times I had with my sister when I was that age. I have to say that I missed Lisa too, the haughty neighbour and Nate’s nemesis. I think Abby and Lisa made the first book so much more interesting! But, the new characters introduced in the book did make up for their absence. And, I have to say that there are some wonderful new characters in this book. Jerry and Tasha, the camp owners, Matt, the over-enthusiastic counsellor and No-Neck, the really burly kid who is Nate’s new nemesis in the absence of Lisa were all incredibly nice and at times funny. All the other kids introduced at camp made it come to life, and got it buzzing with activity.
Like any good book about summer camps, there is a big event in the end in which all the camp bunks have to compete. As Nate goes up against his sister, there were bound to be fireworks and a well-fought and really close finish. I have to say that the way in which the event ended was something which I had expected all along, so it was a kind of let-down as I seemed to have known the twist which was coming. But, that is just me! I think the children at whom this book is targeted are going to love it.
The ending of the book is perfect. As with the previous book, it ends on a happy note and with one of Nate’s real adventures. I really liked it that Nate’s parents thought things through before giving in to one of his demands, even though he may have deserved it due to his heroic deed. I really do hate it when parents are shown to have no backbone and just fall over each other to fulfil every demand of the kid. That reminds me so much of Dudley from Harry Potter. I also loved the fact that in the end, all the kids, whether they fought, or were mean to each other, or called each other names, became friends. That is simply a great message, that if you take the time to get to know someone, there is a chance you may change your initial impression and start liking that person, and even become their friend. This is exactly how I expect every great MG book to end. Definitely recommended for children or the child hidden in all adults.(less)