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The Broken Amoretti, by Sudipto Das and Aparajita Dutta, 2019

Title: The Broken Amoretti

Author: Sudipto Das, Aparajita Dutta

Publisher: Olive Turtle, in imprint of Niyogi Books

Genre: Romance

Format: Paperback

Language: English

No. of pages: 296

Synopsis:

“Unusually bold narrative… Almost lyrical in nature” Times of India

To begin afresh, after her broken marriage, Saoli returns to India and starts living in Prembajar at the house her grandfather had bought from Bitasta’s father. While cleaning the house, Saoli comes across an old diary, perhaps belonging to Bitasta’s mother, Panchali. The diary has a very cryptic poem written in dactylic hexameter, the archaic meter of the ancient Greek epics. Aware of the fact that Sairandhri didn’t let her son, Parush, marry Bitasta, even though Sairandhri and Bitasta’s mother were the best of friends, Saoli gets in touch with the reckless Parush, recently accused in a high-profile IP theft case in the US. As Parush tells Saoli about his heedless and shattered life, his unrequited love affair with Bitasta, his lifelong hatred for his mother, and his topsy-turvy corporate career in the US, Saoli unearths the darkest secrets 
hidden in the cryptic poem for so long. 

Why didn’t Sairandhri want Parush to marry Bitasta? Why was Bitasta the only person she wished to see on her death-bed? Why had she been nothing more than a beautiful but lifeless mural at home? The cryptic poem has the answers. 

Join Saoli and Parush in their journey to decode the past and discover their real identities, where love can never be chained by stereotypes. It’s time to set love free!

My review:

I received a review copy from a PR agency in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

So I had no idea this book would contain so many Greek references when I picked it up. Anyway, The Broke Amoretti is a story told through Saoli’s perspective, a woman who has recently separated from her husband and has settled as a lecturer at IIT Kharagpur. She meets Parushni in a seminar and the story begins from then on. Parush and Bitasta had a famous romance although Parush’s mother Sairandhri never let him marry the woman he loved, despite the fact that Bitasta’s mother Panchali was her bosom friend. It had always remained a mystery and as Saoli tries to decipher the meaning of the enigmatic poem she finds in Panchali’s diary, we come to know more about this story.

The character of Saoli was with multiple layers – she is suffering after that separation from her husband. She is a brilliant scholar, and she is also a kind friend. However, at times I found that her reactions to things that were not actually right (in terms of literature) was contemptuous and I am not sure that I something I appreciate in people, to be honest.

Moreover, Bitasta was not a likeable character for me. It seemed as if she had a chip on her shoulder and I did not like the way her behaved with Parush. It was just too complicated for me.

The most important themes shown here is the LGBTQ spectrum of love and relationship, especially in India. Parushni and Saoli in fact have a common theme in their papers – lesbianism, back when they first met. This theme itself runs and weaves so many events together in the story, it proves to be an important one not just in societal aspects but in terms to the story as well.

There is an inclusion of Greek mythology throughout the book. For instance, Rikshi and Kalyani are compared to Artemis and Callisto. The juxtaposition of Greek mythology against Tagore, Kalidasa’s stories and poems abounded the book. While I appreciate the authors’ attempts at this inclusion, I am not sure if they gelled well, although they did seem to, superficially. Another thing I did not like was that there were too many characters and their interrelationships were too complex for me to remember.

However, the writing style is lovely. Literary allusions are always welcome to read about and I enjoyed them very much. The inclusion of various subplots and doing away with the Unity of action was well done.

Verdict:

I rate this book 3.5/5 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 .

The Reading Rush 2019 TBR!

So I came across The Reading Rush Challenge a few days ago and I was just so excited seeing the videos that I planned to finally do it too! Earlier it was the BookTubeathon and I have never participated in it before.

The readathon starts from today and will end at 12 midnight on the 28th! There are several prompts and I am hoping to read atleast 7 books for the 7 days of the week. For more details you can definitely check out their website and the Instagram.

The books I am planning on reading are as follows:

  1. Read a book with purple on the cover – Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
  2. Read a book in the same spot for the entire time – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  3. Read a book you meant to read last year – Africa’s Tarnished Name by Chinua Achebe
  4. Read an author’s first book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  5. Read a book with a non-human main character – King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Read a book with 5 or more words in the title – By the Brahmaputra and other poems by Srutimala Duara
  7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation – The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (I’ll be reading this one as an e-book)

Have you participated in this readathon? And are you planning on participating in any other book readathons in the coming months? DO inform if you know of any and I’m sure all of us would like to check them out as well.

May 2019 Book-Haul, Part-1!

Hey guys!

It seems like it was only a few days ago that 2019 actually started but now we’re almost halfway into the year. Time does fly fast, I guess! I’m going to appear for my 3rd semester finals soon and I am kind of tensed (obviously!). Finals week is damn hectic. I’ve also been going to the gym regularly now and I feel great. It’s worked a lot on my health – my sleep pattern specifically, because I don’t like to sleep at all, but now I am so tired by the time it’s 11/12, I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow! I’ll continue with the health stuff in another post, but for todays #qotd , do tell – what are you doing for your physical health these days (I’m asking because resolutions mostly wear off by the time April rolls in!)

Moving on, here is #part1 of my #maybookhaul . I got a total of 14 new books in May (including review copies, books I bought for myself and also a couple for gifting purposes)

  1. The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve – thanks to Bloomsbury!
  2. Circus Folk and Village Freaks by Aparna Upadhyaya Sanyal – thank you so much! And isn’t that a beautiful cover?!
  3. Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K Banker- thanks to Simon&Schuster! It is my current read and I am immensely enjoying it!
  4. The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph – Thanks to my friend to lending it to me!
  5. Womb of Butterflies by Ambika Barman – Thanks a lot for sending me this book! Eager to pick it up soon!
  6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – I love this book and I already own a copy but I just had to buy this beautiful edition by FingerPrint Publications!
  7. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  8. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie – I bought these 2 ACs to gift them to my friends actually, and I’m happy to say that they both loved them!

So, I’ll share the other books day after tomorrow in another post! I love displaying the book cover instead of just the spines and so many of you seem to love it too!

Ashwatthama’a Redemption: The Rise of Dandak, Gunjan Porwal, 2018

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Title: Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak
Author: Gunjan Porwal
Publisher: Om Books International
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Pages: 263
Synopsis:
Over a hundred years after the Mahabharata War, an ancient power threatens to destroy the new Age of Men, by establishing the Age of Terror of the asuras, long believed to be extinct. The only hurdle in its path is Guru Dronacharya’s son, the mighty but accursed warrior Ashwatthama, who lost all his powers following Lord Krishna’s curse, and who unwittingly finds himself drawn into the quest of the lost bow of Lord Rama – the Kodanda.
As ghosts of the distant past return to haunt him, and the line between friends and enemies blurs, Ashwatthama must fight his inner demons to emerge victorious. He undertakes a perilous journey – across the vast plains of the gages, to the snow-capped peaks of the Himavant – where the price of failure is a fate worse than death, and death is a privilege not granted to Ashwatthama.
Is this all part of Lord Krishna’s great plan? Will Ashwatthama be able to regain his lost glory?
My review:
Ashwatthama’s Redemption is a mythological fiction book, and one of the best of its kind. I found in it, a perfect blend of all elements that have the capacity to thrust forward and make popular any book within the genre. Perhaps that explains the amazing ratings that this book has been gathering, and deservedly so.
The entire plot was well planned out and detailed – elaborate in its own scope and leaving the reader intrigued by the ending – there is undoubtedly a sequel coming out. The author has maintained the plot pace very well and it really becomes fast paced towards the end of the book, leading to a crescendo!
The themes again – war, politics, human spirit in the face of doom, friendship, kinship etc., are all very dynamic, as shown in the book and the fiction element with which the author has written this mythological tale is fluent and free-flowing. There were no jerks throughout. It all sounds like it happened, but the best part is that the reader feels like he or she is a part of the adventure. The world building was good, but I admit, could have been better. The inclusion of the map in the beginning was a great idea but perhaps it would have been preferable if the naming had been done in English and not Hindi. The mystery element is also one that needs special mention – the hermeneutic and pro-airetic codes used have truly helped in that regard.
The character created by the author are well made – they are round and multi-dimensional, except the side characters, of course. Their backstories have also been provided which truly adds great depth to any character – another good point that the author has kept in mind, clearly.
The stories and anecdotes that the author puts in, in the middle – the various references to the Mahabharata war and that world, basically, is intriguing and attracts the reader’s attention clearly, for so many of those facts and small details are unknown to the common reader and thus, interesting for them.
The editing and proof-corrections have been well done as well. The cover is nice to look at and really helps the reader to imagine how Ashwatthama may have looked like.
Verdict:
I quite enjoyed this book and as I rate it a 4/5 stars, I wait eagerly for the sequel to come out!
 
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 .