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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ambuj (Guardians of the Blue Lotus #3) by Anita Shirodkar

Blurb (from the jacket):

After the Great War of Sompur, Aryavir and Sitanshu are forced to go their separate ways – one back to Kamalkund and the other to Aryavartha. As the two struggle to embrace their new roles, the great Maharajadhiraj Ambujakshan’s past sins are revealed, casting ominous shadows on the events of the present.

Against all odds, Sitanshu must accomplish a seemingly impossible task set by the Maheshwari Masters. From an ancient secret cave deep inside Mount Mandeshwar to the mysterious Raven Monastery across the border of Ch’in, Sitanshu races against time to save an entire race of people from extinction. If the mother of all weapons – the Mahavidhvamsha Astra, is released, the Old World will be plunged back into Andhasaya – the darkest of ages.

Written with the classic Indian ethos, Ambuj, the third part of the Guardians of the Blue Lotus Trilogy, pays homage to India's magnificent mythological heritage and takes the reader on a journey into the heart of human passions.

My take on the book:

To read our reviews of the earlier books in the series, click the links below...

Firstly I want to thank people from Silver Spun for being very patient, even thought I was falling behind schedule to review this book and also for giving me the chance to review all the three books in the series.

Though the second book ended on a peaceful note, with no cliff hangers, after the Great War, when Aryavir and Sitanshu take their own paths trying to restore peace in their own sorts of ways.

This book would be hard on you if you haven't read the previous books, because the characters in this story are made of lot of complexity and details. It is very enthralling to see how the characters have developed into whatever they've developed in this book. The author made sure the reader faces no hurdles in understand the characters in the book by creating a unperturbed flow.

Though everything seems peaceful at the start of this book, Aryavir and Sitanshu slowly come to know of the sins committed by Ambujakshan, in the past and its effects on their kingdom in the present. There is a mighty weapon, which when activated will push the world to near-extinction. It is in Aryavir's and Sitanshu's hand to save their people from it.

It is beautiful how the author seems to still maintain that fast pace of the story. The starting chapter took me a while but once past them, I was hooked all the way to the end.

It was a roller-coaster ride, this series. I would recommend it to all the fantasy lovers out there. There are lot of Indian mythological references which makes it a more interesting read. Beautiful characters, pacy-plotline, clearly descriptive writing. This book is highly recommended.

However, I feel they could've put more effort on the cover...


Title: Ambuj

Series: Guardians of the Blue Lotus #3

Author: Anita Shirodkar

ISBN (edition I've read): 978938720403


Read between: 29-09-2019 to 03-10-2019

Publishers: The Write Place & AuthorsUpfront

Pages: 335

MRP: ₹ 350

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Man from Mandu by Manoj V Jain

Blurb (from the cover):

Is he the New Age Guru that we have all been waiting for?  

Is he a fraudster? 

How does he know the story of your life? 

In his latest book, Manoj Jain delves into the world of Godmen and devotees, of faith and money. A Man from Mandu is a book of deception, transformation and growth. Read about Dhawal and his metamorphosis into Avishkar Baba, the Sadhu of Stories, and about Tarini who is promoting him so successfully. But what does the scheming Tarini have to gain?

My take on the book:
This book isn't like any I've read so far. Though I don't think the synopsis does the justice but a snippet of the book will get you hooked for sure.

The story talks about Dhawal, a.k.a. Avishkar Baba. He is an ordinary man turned Godman. Every chapter starts with a quote by Avishkar Baba as a Quote of the Day on WhatsApp and Instagram posts. The story takes course, most of the chapters have these parables sermoned by Avishkar Baba to  his growing followers. These parables are sweet and thought-provoking. The story is as breezy as it urges to stop and ponder over our own lives. These quotes from the start of the chapter will only have deeper meaning at the end of the chapter.

This story is as funny as scary it is. The entire concept of a Baba with an online presence and, touching and healing his followers in ways undefinable is pretty much funny being a reader. But when you think about it, the so-called Gurus from the present age, the Godmen with their impoverished attire and all-knowing attitudes and the effect they are holding on their followers is immense and scary. It lets you question yourself about the religion, belief and stupidity.

The story is deeper than it seems.

On the other side flows the story of Tarini, who is Avishkar Baba's manager. Her management career was about to hit rock-bottom just about when she meets Dhawal and Avishkar Baba is born,

Overall, it is a perfect book you can read over a weekend. It is light-hearted and provocative.


Title: A Man from Mandu

Author: Manoj V Jain

ISBN (edition I've read): 9781645871620


Read between: 09-07-2019 to 11-07-2019

Publishers: Notion Press

Pages: 165

MRP: ₹ 349

Monday, June 10, 2019

Upheaval by Vijai Singh Mankotia

My take on the book:

This is the first book I've read from these publishers, Har-Anand Publications but it left quite an impression.

For the start, I have to complain about the physical feel of the book. Given that the price of the book is almost Rs. 700/-, I would suggest the author or the publishers to put in a little more effort into the physical feel of the book. There are chances the book might go overlooked due to its feel.

I had very few expectation from the book when I started it, but it turned out way interesting. Book covers are very deceiving.

The story starts at a faraway place somewhere in Afghanistan. The time is past. Among the bloodshed and dry mountains, the story beautifully takes place. Though, the significance of the scene in clear at this point of time, it makes sense later.

Then the story snaps back to India and it feels so real. The unrest shown in the protagonist, Himanshu Mishra, the son of Prime Minister of India (as in the story), is so beautifully shown, it all seemed very real.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances the protagonist had to take office in the largest democracy in the world and fate happens, that he falls in love with a girl from Pakistan. The melancholy and dilemma involved in the love story is presented so beautifully by the reader won't miss a feeling experienced by the characters in the story. The author successfully stirred every emotion in me.

The best part of the book was the narration. It doesn't just stick to the plot of the fiction, but the author had made sure he has got his views and opinions about the near-past politics, terrorism and various other trivial problems faced by present day world and India, in particular.

As I read these views put forward by the author in the form of a monologue or a dialogue between the character of the story, it was deeply surprising to know how much the author has researched. It was only after reading the author's bio did I understand that Vijai Singh is a retired army official and active political enthusiast. Though most of the matters mentioned in the story seemed legit and believable for most of the extent. But as it is mentioned in the disclaimer in the start, I would suggest everyone who read this book, to do thorough recent into the topic before using any of the facts mentioned in this book for any purpose.

Overall, this book had left with quite a few emotions stirred. But then, everything is well that ends well...


Title: Upheaval

Author: Vijai Singh Mankotia

ISBN (edition I've read): 9789388409209


Read between: 03-06-2019 to 10-06-2019

Publishers: Har-Anand Publications

Pages: 229

MRP: ₹ 695

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sitanshu (Guardians of the Blue Lotus, #2) by Anita Shirodkar

Blurb (from the book):

As the divine Blue Lotus Indivara sprouts an ominous red petal, its guardians must do everything in their power to protect it and their kingdom. Aryavir and Sitanshu march to the border of Kalipura for a bloody showdown with the Chandraketu King Divyendu. It seems as if the Kamal Akshi Army with its peerless long-haired Kesakuta warriors cannot lose a war, but the wily enemies of Kamalkund have diabolical plans that are not written in any rule book. Thanks to the evil machinations of the Mayakari Queen Tamasi and wily King Kratu, Aryavir and Sitanshu are facing the battle of their lives.

With hidden ancient secrets that are known only to the revered Maheshwari Masters, the mythological Old World is about to be plunged into intrigue and danger its denizens could never have imagined. Powerful kings face mortality, relationships are tested to their breaking point and the Great War of Sompur will bring completely unexpected repercussions.

Written with the classic Indian ethos, Sitanshu, the second part of the Guardians of the Blue Lotus Trilogy, pays homage to India's magnificent mythological heritage and takes the reader on a journey into the heart of human passions.

My take on the book:
I feel really fortunate to have read the first book, Aryavir, when the second was already out. Lot of stuff happened at the end of the first book. Lot of good things happened. And then, there are few stories in the saga that ended on a very high note, which will leave the reader puzzled and eager for following part. I'm sure, I couldn't have taken the wait.

The very first chapter of the second book deals with the edge-of-the-seat scene that the first book ends on. Though, it was little predictable, this part of the story, the following events makes the story more interesting.

The second part of the saga mostly deals with the internal turmoil of the rival kingdoms involved and the war that ends the rival, one way or the other.

It is really surprising how the author has maintained that unwavering pace since the start of the first book. Not once, since the start, have I felt that the story slacked. The description of each scene is so vivid and realistic, the reader will be engrossed for sure.

Haven chose the third-person narration, author have wonderfully orchestrated the parts of the story like a smooth, soulful symphony. Since its a saga not constricted to one story, there are many parallel plots going on and the talent of the author at not once misplacing the facts of the story instils pure interest.

There are so many folklores and myths about the kingdoms mentioned in this book, the author has built a world of her own.

By the end of the book, everything about the story will lead to the ultimate danger faced by them and you will be left wanting more. I eagerly wait for the third installment of the series,

Overall, the second book keeps up the expectation and carries the reader with the same zeal to the rest of the story. If you haven't read the first book yet, you must go do it.

To read the detailed review of the first book in the series, Aryavirclick here...


Title: Sitanshu

Author: Anita Shirodkar

Series: Guardians of the Blue Lotus, #2

ISBN (edition I've read): 9789387280113


Read between: 29-08-2018 to 02-09-2018

Publishers: The Write Place and AuthorsUpFront

Pages: 317

MRP: ₹ 349

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Aryavir (Guardians of the Blue Lotus, 1) by Anita Shirodkar

Blurb (from the jacket):

Aryavir is not an ordinary prince. Heir to the throne of Kamalkund, Aryavir is a Kamal Akshi - blue-eyed and blessed by the Indivara, a divine Blue Lotus that protects his kingdom. And yet Aryavir harbours a terrible secret about his fate. His family, led by his father, King Chiraksh, is bound by its own web of intrigue and ancient promises.

The complexity of the family's past and present allegiances and the secrets each family member hides are set against the fact that Kamalkund has to fight off covetuous kings from across the borders who will do anything to control the powers of the Lotus.

Meanwhile, as Aryavir, his faithful tiger Kar and friend Sitanshu fight their own battles, the kingdom is faced by clear and present danger. And the past unravels its mysteries unexpectedly.

This classic tale pays homage to India's magnificent mythological heritage and, at its heart, is a story about the eternal human journey.

My take on the book:
I have always been a little skeptical about Indian Fantasy books. There could be a few good ones, but what I've come across were mostly a bad experience. Most of which, I've given up half way. Yeah, so bad!

After reading Aryavir's description, I could guess it is one of those good ones. Though the plot promised to be complex and intriguing, the simplicity of the blurb promised a breeze of a read.

The story started off on a pacy note as there was so many characters, parallel plot-lines, existing. The author had skillfully built and narrated the story in such a way that each character made an impression that lasted long after the book. One reason, I mostly evaded series are because of so many characters. Sometimes, it really gets hard to catch up with them. But in this book, author made sure that nothing of that sorts happens. There were times I had forgotten names of the characters in the book, but their story lines and characteristics were too intriguing to confuse.

Another aspect I loved about the book is that in the start of the book there is a rough map (which, of course, resembles India) stating the whereabouts of the kingdoms of the story. There is also a map of lineage of the key characters in the story, which will come very handy in the later part of the book.

The author has this unique way of story-telling which will have a grip over the reader. The plot line is so pacy, it is hard to divert one's attention.

Overall, Aryavir is on the best Indian books I've read in the recent times. Gripping, fast-paced and with edge-of-the-seat twists, I would recommend this book to everyone.

The review of the second book in the Guardians of the Blue Lotus series 'Sitanshu' is soon to come. Stay tuned...


Title: Aryavir

Author: Anita Shirodkar

Series: Guardians of the Blue Lotus, #1

ISBN (edition I've read): 9781640078109


Read between: 26-08-2018 to 28-08-2018

Publishers: The Write Place and AuthorsUpFront

Pages: 331

MRP: ₹ 295

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