Tag Archives: #adventure

A Mahabharata based extravaganza!

A Mahabharata-inspired retelling

I received a review copy from the publishers in return for an honest review and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I read the first book in this series quite some time ago and from what I remember, that book concentrated quite a bit on the world-building aspect and the construction of the setting. It revolved around the princes and the royal families and their relationships with each other. But in Part 2, which recently was released recently, the focus is given instead on the backstories of the characters, their pasts, and their emotional buildup – all culminating in the ultimate war.

The question about retellings

In the Burnt Empire series, the author has given a fantastic retelling of the epic Mahabharata, but has altered a few essential aspects of it, so as to keep it entertaining. But while this may be a controversial point, I do think that retellings, especially in fantasy, do not have to remain completely true to the original story – if it does, where is the scope for imagination?

World-building

Nonetheless, I think that in this second book, the characters have grown significantly than in the first one. There is clearly a lot of attention given to details and the way the author has intertwined all the different narratives, is a job well done. Banker is meticulous with his description of the world in the book – Arthaloka. His attention to detail is uniquely reflected in the plotline and the reader’s imagination’s eye. The world-building ensnares you completely and leaves no possible exit.  I quite enjoyed the book.

Click here to check out my review of the first book!

The human/moral dilemma

Like in the first book, the author has continued to draw upon the essence of the age of confusion that the Mahabharata implies. There is no longer any binary. There is no clear division between what is solely good and what is evil. Everyone is drawn to a point where they have to or have already made decisions, that were not truly evil but not right, either. The moral conundrum that we humans face is on point in this book. It is dubious, the decisions we personally make sometimes as well as the ones made by the characters in this book.

Verdict:

However, the ending was not… how shall I put it? Not very satisfactory for me. It could have been a bit clearer I suppose. In spite of it all, this Mahabharata retelling – Upon a Burning Throne 2 was an enjoyable read for me. I rate it 4/5 stars.

Title: Upon A Burning Throne (Part 2 of The Burnt Empire Saga)

Author: Ashok K Banker

Publisher: Simon & Schuster India

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Upon-Burning-Throne-Part-2/dp/938679750X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=upon+a+burning+throne+2&qid=1571664653&sr=8-1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47896474-upon-a-burning-throne–part-2

About the reviewer: Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo, 2013

Title: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan

Genre: Fantasy

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 400

Recommended for: YA and above

Synopsis:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

My review:

I am very glad to say that Faguni from @fannatality , and I continued our tradition ad read the second book in the Grishaverse trilogy – Siege and Storm – in February. It truly was an amazing sequel to Shadow and Bone, which we had read in January. I really loved reading this book and Faguni and I are back with the schedule for buddy-reading Ruin and Rising, which is the last book in the series, in March.

Firstly, the author has done a great job with the continuation of the series. I loved the way the characters have developed throughout the series and seeing their actions, and another layer of depth in their beings was a great time. The introduction of the great Sturmhond was another much anticipated thing for me, and having read the Six of Crows duology earlier, I was very much in the know, regarding the truth about this character. I can only grow impatient as I wait for my copy of Ruin and Rising to arrive, so that I can finally delve again into this world.

The Darkling is another force to reckon with. He is cunning, but he is alluring. And the fact that I like him so much despite the bad boy characteristics, truly make me question myself. What Leigh Bardugo does is impeccably portray some very real characters in her stories, with real life greyness to them; they are not merely black and white, two-dimensional and limited in their beings. I am also hoping for a twist regarding his character in the last book.

Mal and Alina, and their relationship undergoes many different undulations throughout and at the end of this book I am sort of left at a cliffhanger. While one may love the boy-next-door quality of Mal, the bad boyish charm of the Darkling is just as fascinating.

The themes of war, love and friendship, loyalty and adventure are again portrayed in this book. While everything was on point, the adventure aspect was just as great- the hunt for Rusalye was magical. I am so excited for when they find the Firebird.

Overall, this was a thrilling sequel to Shadow and Bone. And I hope I will enjoy just as much when I finally pick up Ruin and Rising.

Verdict:

I really enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading Ruin and Rising. I rate this one a 4.5/5 stars.

About the author:

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over two million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

About the reviewer:

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .

February 2019 TBR part 1!

It’s time I showed you all my #februarytbr , the #part1 . Yes I plan on reading a ton of books this month so let’s see how I do.

1. Kaalkoot by @authorsvenkatesh
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
2. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka Lal
3. Scammed by @ahmedf45
4. The Perfect Drug by @chaitanya424
I’m currently reading this book
5. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
6. The Anonymous by @nidhikkukreja
I’m already done with this book so the review will be up soon!
7. Krishantak by Anuj Singh Nagaur
8. Wake Up, Girl! By @niharikatheauthor @bloomsburyindia
I’m also done with this book and the review will be up after 2 days!
9. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
I’m also done with this book and i wrote a really long review about it and l share it soon!
10. The Stalker by @sandeeplochansharma
11. Honey and the Moon by Kamini Kusum
12. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot .
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#qotd : so do you have any favourite festival? And I’m talking about the non major ones (so you cannot answer with Durga Puja, Ganesha chaturthi, pongal or such!) OR are you excited for Saraswati Puja tomorrow?

January 2019 Wrap-up!

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It’s kind of cold today again and just when I thought that I’d forego the coat, I had to actually wear it again today!
Nonetheless, a happy Friday to you all!! Today I’m showing you all my #januarywrapup when I read a total of 13 books. I’m hoping to read the same number this month, more work less.
So the books I read in January are:
1. The Matchmaker’s List by @saskinthecity thanks @berkleypub #partner (click here to see the review)
2. The Peshwa II: War of the Deceivers by @sivasankaranram @westland_books (click here to see the review)
3. The Guarded Heart by Robyn Donald
4. It’s Official Stupid by @siddbaliga (click here to see the review)
5. Bestseller by @ahmedf45 (click here to see the review)
@rupa_publications
6. The new Dewtas by @surajtheauthor (click here to see the review)
7. Scrapbook of n Unfound Songstress by @unfoundsongstress (click here to see the review)
8. Shadow and Bone by @lbardugo which I buddy read with @fannatality . It was also for the #readyoshelf challenge by @per_fictionist
(click here to see the review)
9. The Knife Slipped by Erle Stanley Gardner @bloomsburyindia
(click here to see the review)
10. Bride, Bought and Paid for by Helen Bianchin
11. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie @harpercollinsin for the #readyoshelf challenge by @per_fictionist (click here to see the review)
12. Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson @penguinclassics
@penguinrandomhouse (click here to see the review)
13. Burhi Aair Sadhu, a book in assamese for the #readyourchallenge !

#newbooks #indiabookstagram #guwahatiblogger #guwahatibookstagrammers #assambookstagrammers #assamreads #bookpile #aestheticphotos #booksflatlay #prettyfeed #warmfeed #historicalfiction #adventure #bittersweet #indianenglishliterature

January 2019 book haul part 2!


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Hey guys!
I’m back with #part2 of my #januarybookhaul ! I had got a total of 18 new books! And here are the rest!
1. Between You and Me by @societalmoksha @bloomsburyindia
2. A collection of stories in Assamese borrowed from my aunt. Im reading this book as apart of my #readyourmothertongue challenge.
For college:
3. A critical study of #kanthapura by #rajarao which I bought for my Indian English Literature class
4. A book on Literary Criticism
5. Aristotle’s Poetics
6. Classical Literary Criticism @oxfordbookstores
7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier @viragopress
8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
9. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells @maplepressofficial which I won in their #giveaway
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#qotd : what series are you currently watching? Are you loving it?

January 2019 book haul part 1!


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Hey guys!
How has the week been treating you so far?
I have been at a seminar since tuesday and have been enjoying listening to the various papers presented. I’ve had an amazing time here at #elysian19 a national students’ seminar held at the Cotton University!
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Anyway, I am back with another #bookhaul ! So for January 2019, I got a total of 18 new books! #januarybookhaul #part1
Some of them are as follows:
1. Kalkoot by @venkatesh.kalaga
2. Krishantak
3. Wake Up, Girl by @niharikatheauthor
4. The Lupanarium by @authoradeleleigh
5. Honey and the moon by K Kusum
6. Scammed by @ahmedf45
7. Until Love Sets us Apart by @adityanighhot given as a gift by @pen_paper_tales
8. Shadows of the Night by Priyanka All
9. The Stalker by Sandeep Sharma
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#qotd : how many books did you get in January?
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#newbooks #indiabookstagram #guwahatiblogger #guwahatibookstagrammers #assambookstagrammers #assamreads #bookpile #aestheticphotos #booksflatlay #prettyfeed #warmfeed #historicalfiction #adventure #bittersweet #indianenglishliterature

The Hidden Children: The Lost Grimoire, Reshma K. Barshikar, 2018

Title: The Hidden Children: The Lost Grimoire

Author: Reshma K. arshikar

Publisher: Two Ravens

Format: Paperback

Language: English

Pages: 420

Synopsis:

‘What price would you pay to be extraordinary? What would you do to speak to a butterfly? 

 Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn’t really rattled her. But something isn’t right anymore and it begins when a New Girl joins the school. 

She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies. 

But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.   

Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves? 

About the author:

Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge, and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well-renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home. All her work can be found on www.reshmakrishnan.com 

My review:

I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset. https://rakhijayashankar.blogspot.in 

Being an avid fantasy reader, I just had to pick up The Hidden Children: The Lost Grimoire. Ofcourse, Ashok K. Banker’s blur really helped as well, since I personally like his writing as well.

The hope for achieving something great, of ambition and success is something we see starkly portrayed in Shayamukthy or Shui. We see her growth throughout the novel – and I consider it a bildungsroman in this aspect.

One thing that really impressed me was the intertextual or rather cross-cultural references, more specifically references to various movies, and books. It really points to the fact that the author herself is well-versed in all of them, well enough to have mentioned them at the necessary places.

The language used is understandable and as such, pre-teens and teens can read this without any difficulty. This dos not limit the book to only the younger side of the age spectrum.  Every fantasy lover can pick this one up.

The pacing however is a bit slow and that is where I personally faltered, in the beginning. If one can overlook that aspect, then I do not think anyone might find any problem otherwise. The first person perspective works well in this case and the occasional flashbacks are quite refreshing while also adding depth to the characters as well as the story. The themes of memory, childhood, magic, righteousness or rather good versus evil etc. intertwined well with the symbolism applied by the author. The ‘chosen one’ concept is a common trope, however, the author has added her own twist to it and delivered to us an exciting dish.

The world building, especially the magic system was really well planned and intriguing. The author does not fail even with the character building. Soumi, Nallini, Jai, Aadyant and Anya were all well portrayed and seemed realistic in their beings.

Set in a high school world, this book is truly one of a kind- I admit that I have never read something like this set in India. The author has done well in intertwining the American/European elements into the Indian context, and The Hidden Children, somewhere midway between YA literature and fantasy, might just be the book to introduce this in our country.

The title of the story makes a lot of sense as we delve deeper into the story. It is quite unique in its originality. The cover is also nice although it could have been a bit better. However I do think that it captures the essence of the story.

Verdict:

I quite enjoyed this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars.

About the reviewer

Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc.  She can be contacted at nayanikasaikia98@gmail.com .