Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Krishna Key - Blogadda Book Review


The Krishna Key. A yet another intriguing title from Ashwin Sanghi with a complementing colour scheme on the cover page gets your imagination working right away.

The plot revolves around Ravi Mohan Saini (the protagonist), a historian and Taarak Vakil, a serial killer and Mataji (the antagonists). Where the former is involved in searching for the five most important pieces of history and solving the mystery of if Krishna left some magical (read scientific) piece of the past that exists still today; the latter has some similar intentions, only a bit more violent. Through linking the story of the Mahabharata and Krishna’s role in the same with the present archaeological finds and places of the past, the protagonists and antagonists are shown linking every piece of the puzzle together, deducing the undecipherable, travelling to places of historical value to get answers while being continuously on the run from the police inspector Radhika, only to unravel some interesting twists.

The quest for finding the four seals (termed as the passport required to enter Krishna’s Dwarka in the ancient times) and the baseplate for the seals as left by Anil Varshney with his four friends (one of them being Ravi Mohan Saini) before his death in order to unlock the ultimate location of Krishna’s ‘most prized possession’ takes Ravi Saini on a journey of a lifetime from Somnath to Mount Kailash.

While the book can definitely be considered as a work of extensive research and careful descriptions, sadly it can only be termed that; the most important reason being one character of the past linked to another and another and so on and so forth till you reach a full circle and the end of the book. TMI (In case you are wondering what that is, Too Much Information)! Somewhere I could not see the marriage of the rich historical notes and the current storyline. Every character seems to have too much knowledge of everything related to the Krishna Key. This, for me, brought all the characters on par with each other and every character lost its importance altogether. They all definitely appeared to be fighting for the limelight! Interaction between the characters became more of a lecture series throughout the book and with so much information on a continuous roll being imparted, you tend to lose significant interest. That does not mean that the strings of history have not been appropriately utilized at all! The way the protagonist solves the clues and decodes the inscriptions and codes are interesting but there’s just too much of that in the book! At some places it appeared less of a fiction novel and more like Chariots of the Gods’ type.

A nice touch to the book was the usage of pictorial depictions in-between to aid a better comprehension of what the clues are talking about. With that said, the climax is a disappointment. More so because the entire book has been making so many references to historical people like Ghazni and places like Mohenjodaro, and Vedas and books and what not, that the ultimate answer lost all its importance. This book has been in-line with the previous style of the book i.e. Chanakya’s Chant as far as the back and forth movement of mythology and contemporary period is concerned. Having liked Chanakya’s Chant (and impressed by it too!), the expectations from The Krishna Key were on similar lines, but I guess Ashwin delved way too much in his research. Overall, I think people will anyways go ahead and read the book because one cannot miss out on an Ashwin Sanghi book even though he’s just three books old.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fractured Legend - Blogadda Book Review



‘Fractured Legend' is a loosely woven novel consisting of three short stories tied together with three female protagonists in each of the stories. The first story titled ‘Slave’ is a story of Priyambada, an immortal temple slave who is a rock by day and a girl in flesh and bones by night, along with other temple slaves. They reside in dilapidated temples and aren’t the only set of such rock-turning-flesh people alive. Priyambada renounces this life of immortality and monotonous slavery for a life in flesh. The second story titled ‘Manuscript’ revolves around an assassin called Nandhini who’s been hired to retrieve a manuscript. Not only that, but the story also talks about her life and hardships that she has endured till date. The final story ‘A Very Long Letter’ talks about Pravalli, a daughter, who is writing a very long letter (indeed) to her mother (who’s alive probably but not around) about a few things she’s angry about regarding her mother; a few things she did not understand over the years until the ultimate moment.

The book fairs somewhat averagely. While the plots were somewhat interesting, they were pretty much on a one-track road. Kranthi Askani, the writer, has used more similes and metaphors than one would imagine to use in an entire lifetime! While the language was moderately good (with a few words like deliquesce, vamoose, crepuscular, etc being repeated way too much) – barring a few grammatical errors and missing words (being a proof-reader it’s hard for me to not get my attention towards things like these), the descriptions would take forever to complete! The focus somehow appeared to have been shifted from the main flow of the story to describing things (that, in such short stories or a novel of this size, is required  to help the readers be able to imagine the scenes and the characters - but in minimum proportions) that take on for eternity without providing much support to the important story. Quite honestly, I couldn't understand why some things were described at all?! They weren't bringing any substance to the stories.

The second half of every story lost its charm and drifted more towards profound wanderings of the mind. All this looks good on a blog or in a psychology book (this latter is meant to be a compliment), but when you have a novel of just 190 pages, one needs to focus more on the stories to make it more interesting rather than give a psychology lecture in the form of three protagonists; even though that might be the intent. As far as a guy writing on behalf of a girl (in this case – girls) is concerned, it’s considered to be a difficult task as it is. I’ve read books written by men with female protagonists, and let me tell you that this book could not fulfill its aim. It did not appear as if a girl was telling her tale in the first story, however, as and how it moved on to the final story, it appeared a tad believable if not at all.

In short, Fractured Legend really is fractured in bits and parts. The concept was good but it would have been better had the thin thread that tied all the three stories together be given more importance or limelight and if there was more of supplementing and parallel stories instead of just things and people being described.


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