Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Goodbye Girl - Book Review

The Cover:

It is apparent that a lot of time has been invested in designing the cover. It is predominantly and if I am right, deliberately coloured red with two shades, the top half lighter and the bottom half darker. There are some speckles of the darker colour (like blood), starting at the top and finally forming a pool covering the 'girl in a school uniform holding a gun'. Hats off to the cover-designer. It is very ingeniously crafted, giving a little sneak-peek to the reader that this is not going to be a run-of-the-mill kind of a story, it is gruesome and involves a lot of gore.

The Blurb:

Today I am 18.
I have decided to give myself a birthday gift - JUSTICE
My enemies are rich, power and dangerous.
If I want to be alive, I'll have to kill them before they kill me.
I do not care if I die in the process.
At least I will die knowing that I am not a victim anymore.
I am a survivor.
I am going to open a real world, scarier than fiction.

Will you walk with me?
Because if it can happen to me, it can happen to you too

This is a powerful blurb, isn't it? It tells us more about the story. An 18 year old girl, wanting to kill powerful and destructive people while many in the country are trying to find a boyfriend. Jokes apart, it gives us some information furthermore about the story. She is a victim, she is a survivor, she is tough, she has nothing to lose, and that she has went through a lot of pain to take such a drastic decision.

My Take:

It is a thick book about 400+ pages. I haven't read a thick book that is written by an Indian author. I open the book, and the first thing I find before the story starts is a quote from the epic, Mahabharat. It reads thus:

To save a family, abandon a man
To save the village, abandon a family
To save the country, abandon a village
To save the soul, abandon the earth.

This got me hooked. Excited, I started reading the preface. It was told from the perspective of a five year old girl which put down my excitement. It was a slow start for a thriller. But the pulse raised from chapter two. The girl who is now eighteen, is handcuffed and is in Bangkok, and she has no idea as to how she ends up there. From there, the pulse doesn't reduce. The book follows the first person perspective throughout the story. It is hard to believe that this was a debut, because the author seems to know how to keep a reader guessing which I think is the most important thing that needs to be kept in mind as a storyteller; to make the reader turn the page. That I think the author has got it. She has carefully presented the story to the reader by juggling between the past and present, slowly unraveling the main motive behind the girl's drastic decision. The protagonist, I must say, goes through a lot. Some descriptions are so vivid that it makes the reader go to the place and visualize the amount of pain that the protagonist goes through for no fault of hers. It is bound to leave an unprepared reader teary-eyed. There is a phase in the book which I'd like to call it the depression phase. It comes sometime around in the second half of the book. If the book is compared to a man, it would be fair to say that the book suffered a mid-life crisis that would just break any heart. Having said that the people who inflicted pain upon her are powerful, vicious and disastrous, she is undeterred. She has nothing to lose now, and gets ready for the suicidal feat. On the way through her journey, she meets a guy who goes by the name of Balu, which isn't technically his real name. The author has handled the romance between the two in an unorthodox way, which is good. We don't need girl-victim-finding a helper-falls in love with him right away kind of stories anymore, thanks to the movies that has dusted and tampered with these type of stories. But Sheeja handles it brilliantly. Though the protagonist is eighteen, she acts mature, and at times immature. The way their romance progresses is gradual. And that being said, the people the girl meets whilst pursuing her seemingly implausible feat, pave way to make it possible. She doesn't straight away return back and pull the trigger at the people responsible for the state she was in, it doesn't work that way. She trains a lot, and so much hard that shows how determined she is to go about the plan. Does the formulated plan work out for the best? That forms the rest of the story. The author has portrayed the book in the most realistic manner possible. She has enunciated the fact that life isn't kiss-the-frog-marry-a king-be a queen kind of fairy tale.

Now for the cons. Though the book is definitely a page-turner, the language used could have been a little better. The way things were put could have been conveyed in a better manner, like the ending of the book. The reader gets to know what the author tries to say; it has been left open-ended, which is a brilliant way to end a novel, but having said all that, it could have been written in a much better way.

Cover: 5/5
Blurb: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Narration: 3.5/5
Flow: 4/5
Climax: 3.5/5
Overall: 4.25/5

Overall, it was a fantastic read. It makes the reader go through a turmoil of emotions. This was indeed the most different revenge story that I have read till date and I'd like to thank the author for the experience and wish her best for her future ventures.


A Powerful Debut

Book Details:

Title: Goodbye Girl
Author: Sheeja Jose
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Whitewall Publishers
Language: English
Pages: 413
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 299 INR
Buy Paperback: Amazon|Flipkart

About the Reviewer:

Aravind Sampath is a voracious reader and an occasional writer. He is currently pursuing his final year in Mechanical Engineering at Chennai Institute of Technology. He has been a part of three anthologies namely, The Chronicles of Urban Nomads, As a Beginner for a Beginning, and A Little Chorus of Love : Love through Ages. His favourite authors to read are R. K. Narayan and Jeffrey Archer.  Besides writing, he is a passionate singer who is the lead singer of the band, The Progressive Monks, which will soon release their debut album.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Let The Game Begin by Sandeep Sharma

The Blurb:

Two kingdoms, Chaturanga and Sarprakt, separated by a mystic mountain range are at war with each other since ages. Chaturanga, ruled by King Viratha, is soon bestowed with a dynamic heir, and the whole kingdom is drowned in rituals and festivity. On the other side, Sarprakt is executing a cruel conspiracy. King Viratha, crippled by the conspiracy, urges the mysterious man of the mountain to devise a method to recreate the conspiracy and that gave birth to 'The Game of Chess'.
Serial killings shock the nation as the police are rendered clueless. The killer leaves behind a trail of chess pieces with a strange message. Random people are murdered. Connoisseurs of different fields - History, Chess and the Security forces - have united as the next intended victim is the most powerful person of the country. How is Chess involved in the whole scenario? How will they find a man who died 4000 years ago? Can a person defy the laws of nature? Does history really repeat itself? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

About the Author: 

Sandeep Sharma (23), made his debut in the writing industry with ‘Hey Dad! Meet my mom’, the book which is still a hot topic of discussion amongst readers. He is currently working on his start-up venture named ‘Author Paradise’ that works for the benefit of Authors to provide them well-organized online & offline publicity. By education, he is a civil engineer who graduated from JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida.

He is very passionate about writing and has been writing short stories for his personal blog since 6 years and they were published various times. He has also co-founded 'The Author's Blog', a platform that tries to bridge the gap between authors and readers. He is an avid reader and loves to review books on his blog. He is a well-known reviewer in the literary world. 

The Cover:

The cover is very creative and perfectly suits the story. A very apt, pictorial representation of the plot. A great advantage to the book as it lures the reader into reading it. An effort potent enough to peek the readers’ interest. The upper half of the front cover being a pact getting burnt and the lower half with a chess board bearing the majestic black queen, effortlessly tells what one is going to deal with until one gets through the game. The back cover has the blurb of the story and an interesting note about the author.

The Book Quality:

The book has the best quality cover and the paper quality is so good that anybody who holds the book, would definitely want to read it. The font as well as the line spacing is absolutely flawless.

The Plot:

To put in a nutshell, ‘HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF’ The plot is amazingly built with cruel conspiracies and mysteries of immortality of the past, in unison with blood chilling serial murders of totally unrelated people in the present, with messages left for the investigating crew. The tension gears up when one of the VIPs of the country is suspected to be the next victim. The reader is put to a complete awe for the plot when the investigating crew is actually pulled into the game. The idea of incorporating the game of chess within the plot and the way it is brought out is a class apart.

The Narration:

Perfect number of characters and the well-established connection between them makes it easy for the readers to stay in track. The author has carried the story in a pace appropriate for the plot to be well absorbed. A gripping and a page-turning narration. A combination of an unusual plot and a thrilling narration with a tinge of fantasy renders the book un-put-down-able. The speed gets constantly raised with each chapter. It is a real torture to find that the book is a cliffhanger. An epilogue to the sequel would have eased up the tension a bit.

The Execution:

The story of the past is not just the usual rivalry between two kingdoms followed by the war waged between them at the end of which the heir of the lost kingdom survives and plans to take revenge. The inspiring part is that the real war starts where the battle is lost. The immortal character at first appears to be the key to the answers but leaves the readers in pure shock when it develops into the biggest question.
After a certain point, the suspicion keeps shifting from one character to the other, which is a brilliant way to keep up the thrill. The simultaneous revelation of the past and the present events in alternate chapters adds to the intrigue and expectation as to what’s going to happen next.

The Groundwork:

The plot requires a tremendous amount of research about the game chess as it dates back to its origin. The author has also hinted about the art of wood carving which was greatly explored during the mogul period.
The language:
Simple and elegant language makes it easy to follow the story. At the same time, the language is slightly bland that it hampers the intensity of the plot. The language would add to the magnitude of the story if strengthened with powerful vocabulary.

Suggestions for the sequel:

1. Standard of the language can be improved.
2. A detailed description of the characters before-hand, paints a better picture.
3. A table of contents would be helpful.


On the whole, it was an awesome read where the reader travels through a virtual world of conspiracies and unexpected turn of events. Good luck with the sequel, Mr. Sandeep Sharma. Awaiting ‘Let The Game Begin – Part 2’.

Blurb: 5/5
Description: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

Book Details:

Title: Let The Game Begin
Author: Sandeep Sharma
Genre: Thriller
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Inspire India Publishers
Language: English
Pages: 165
Year of Publication: 2016
Price: 165 INR

Buy Paperback: Amazon

About the reviewer:
 Srimathi Gopalakrishnan, a pre-final year Medical student at ESIC MC & PGIMSR, Chennai. She is a voracious reader and a decent writer (Tamil and English). The pleasure of literature lies in reading and the joy lies in assimilating and processing it, which is very well brought out by reviewing and discussing books. Her favorite genres are Romance and thrillers. Besides reviewing books she writes poems, stories and essays and is an articulate artist.