Category Archives: Books

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – A Review

harryaugustcover

Harry August can’t die…no, actually he can, but he is born again after he dies. He is not the only one. Apparently, there is this ‘Cronus Club‘, which is made up of people like him. These people like to just be born and die without changing anything, cos, you know, that would seriously mess up the timeline. But one of these lives, there is this little girl who comes up to him on his death bed, and tells him that she is also like him and that the end of the world was speeding up.

There was someone who was introducing technologies from the future in the past which was bringing the end of the world closer than the usual. And now Harry must find out who that is…there were a few flaws with the story but you get caught up in it and it won’t let go. Go read this!

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap

Bone Gap doesn’t make any sense. Finn starts running towards the corn, the corn gives way to the stream, the stream grows into the river, the river is suddenly fields, and Finn keeps running, looking for Roza. Really, no sense at all.
But who needs sense? When life is nothing but steps in a ladder made up of deadlines and rules and whatnots, no-sense makes life interesting. And that is why I loved Bone Gap. Finn is face-blind, yet he falls in love with Petey. Finn may be bad at recognizing faces, but not once throughout the book does he not recognize Petey.
Roza loves Sean, so when Roza is kidnapped, Sean should be one to go after her. But he doesn’t because he is stuck with Finn and he doesn’t believe Finn and he thinks Roza just dumped him and went away.
This may not make any sense, but in the end it makes a lot of sense. I loved this book. Go ahead and give it a read!

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim

I started reading this book because I was reading many good things about it. And then I read a review of the book on Amazon where the reviewer had compared it with Stieg Larsson’s ‘The Millennium’ trilogy, not to mention that it was listed on the month’s top reads by Amazon. So, I was hooked. You see, I absolutely love Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, and, how cruel is that the author could not write any more before he went off, into the void, God rest his soul.

This book is not the edge-of-your-seat thriller as I thought it would be, but that’s my expectation, so forget it! You can work out everything before it happens and the plot seems to move from one set piece to another. You will always know what is coming next, and nothing happens that’s not expected. That being said, I enjoyed reading through the book. The end of the book seems to have been well thought out, as if the author had given much more thought to the ending than to the entire story, maybe to end the story on a peaceful note. There are things about the book that really irritated me. The protagonist is also known as ‘The Rider of the Blue’. Yes, sounds engaging? Good for you. I will ask you again after you have finished reading this book, because every time the Pilgrim wants to speak up or someone big in the storyline wants to talk about him, he refers to him as, you guessed it, ‘The Rider of the Blue’! So many times that it makes you wonder if the author just used the Find & Replace option too liberally. Please Mr. Hayes, if you ever read this, call him The Rider from next time onwards, for simple-minded people such as me. The author seems to love Scott Pilgrim and The Pilgrim is also known as Scott Murdoch most of the times. Scott and Pilgrim, you get it? Anyways, there is one other thing which I did not like about this supposed best agent in the whole damn world, he keeps saying things like ‘I should have thought of that, but I didn’t’. Yes, best agent, huh?

Scott Murdoch headed The Division, a super-secret organization that investigates corruption in other government organizations like the FBI and the CIA and many others. He and his agency get scrapped after the incidents of 9/11. But the secret life never leaves you behind, as Scott ruminates in the book, and other events unfold which ultimately puts the future of an entire nation in his hands. That about sums up the plot of the book. While I found a few things annoying about the book, it is worth a look, but Terry Hayes is no Stieg Larsson. Whoever wrote that review on Amazon, if you think so, go on, give The Millennium trilogy another read, your brain may have gone mushy reading too much Young Adult bull!

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian cover

Did you know Ridley Scott is adapting this book into a movie, due for 2015? Now that you definitely know, if you are thinking you would just wait for the movie and give the book a miss, think again! This book is one of the best books I have read in recent times. Yes, it’s not very philosophical, not filled with great quotes that you will like updating on your wall on your favourite social networking site, but it makes for great light reading, and Andy Weir has this flow which is so effortless, you will flow along with it.

The story starts when Mark Watney, an astronaut on the Ares 3 Mars mission, gets left behind on the planet, and the rest of the crew leave him behind on the MAV, the only vehicle capable of leaving Mars. So, he is basically left to die on the planet, well, until Earth finds out that he is alive on the planet… you see, they thought he was dead. But Watney doesn’t rely on Houston for survival, because he knows that they won’t be able to help him. So, can Watney live till the Ares 4 astronauts reach Mars? There is a problem, and it is that he doesn’t have enough food, and the equipment on which his survival depends, was made to last only around a month, and the Ares 4 still is a few years away from reaching Mars. Actually, they haven’t yet left Earth.

You have to go dive into the book for the rest, and believe me when I say this, it is something you won’t regret. You will start rooting for Watney along with the rest of the Earth. I did!

The Cuckoo’s Calling & The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Cormoran Strike series

Did you know about the 2 Cormoran Strike books – The Cuckoo’s Calling & The Silkworm, before you came to know that JK Rowling had written the books and Robert Galbraith is actually her pseudonym? Chances are you did not!

Well, I have to make a confession before I continue. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. But Rowling just coming to the press and announcing to the world that Galbraith is really her seems to me to be no more than a lame attempt to increase the sales of her book. However, I also started reading the books after I heard that the books had been penned by Rowling. ‘The Silkworm’ was not yet out, and I started reading ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’. I was pleasantly surprised by the book. It was unlike Rowling and very unlike the only other book by her outside of the Harry Potter verse, ‘The Casual Vacancy’, and it is a compliment since I hated Vacancy. I stopped reading Vacancy after a few pages, but this was not the case with Calling. The book starts with the death of a supermodel and the world would have you believe that she committed suicide, but did she? Well, you can trust Cormoran Strike, with his sidekick Robin, to get to the bottom of it all and dig out the truth. Strike really ‘strikes’ you as a very unconventional detective, what with his limp due to the fact that he lost one of his legs in the war. You will not fall in love with the character, but you will sure appreciate the way Rowling builds him up in the book. By the time you finish the book, you will be able to imagine him as a man of flesh and blood.

The Silkworm picks up after Calling, and continues the story. I am really not fond of books where the author just keeps the protagonist the same and changes the rest and pretend that nothing happened. So, full marks there Rowling. Here we deal with the sudden disappearance of an author. His wife comes to Strike and asks him to find her husband. Strike accepts the case because he pities the wife. And we are on into another wonderful case.

The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

Divergent

 

Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent & Allegiant) has all the makings of a new superhit, and from the looks of how the Shailene Woodley starrer Divergent has fared at the box office, I guess when the last 2 books are adapted for the silver screen, they too will be a huge success for Summit Entertainment.

The books, however, seem to be a repeat of the dystopian future that we have often seen visited and revisited in the last few years in a dozen or so books/movies. The female protagonist, Beatrice, seems to be a direct copy off the Hunger Games trilogy, but there’s no love triangle playing out in Roth’s trilogy. The premise is the same, where the protagonist is unaware of the world she lives in and is on a path of discovery that will take her, and us readers, to new places. But one thing that cannot be denied to Roth is the way she handles the story, the first book at least.

There will be no spoilers in this review, but the first book is where the story really takes off. The last 2 books are just a continuation, and as such, do not seem too interesting. But we need to see where all of this is going, and what happens in the end, and hopefully, that will keep the readers hooked on to the books till the end.