Ripples of my Reflections

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Tag: Book review

Book Review: Into the water

Paula Hawkins had me hooked with her debut novel The girl on the train. That’s what made me pick this book. Well, that and some reviews I read. I would give it to the author for using the same narrative style in two consecutive books and still managing to keep the readers on tether hooks. While reading The girl on the train, I couldn’t help but read a bit ahead as I was unable to contain myself. Thankfully, the narrative style didn’t spoil it for me. So, I was extra careful not to read ahead with this book. I wanted the suspense to build up in the way Paula had intended and it did. However, when I reached the end I should say I was disappointed a little. Some things may have gone over my head, but I expected more.

Highs:

~ Narration. Succinct and clear, Paula has done it again with so much ease.

~ Keeping the plot progressing. There’s not a page where I felt the story to be stagnant. It kept building on and on. The scenes that were built with every page were all leading to something. It felt like you are getting close to finishing a jigsaw puzzle with every page.

~ Characters in the plot. The variety in thinking, behavior, and interpretations helped the thriller novel to throw the readers off the hook whenever and wherever needed.

Lows:

~ The last piece of puzzle still doesn’t give that much meaning to the picture once it fits. It does complete the plot and hence the story but doesn’t do anything beyond that. Maybe I am wrong in comparing this with The girl on the train where the last piece of the puzzle gave the story an entirely different twist.

~ Some gaping holes that come with a story built on the interpretations of different characters. I could have gone easy on this if the ending had given me the clarity I wanted.

My verdict:

I was hoping for a 5 star book but I would only go as far as 3 stars for this one. Blame it on the high expectations or comparative mindset with The girl on the train, but that’s as much as I can say.

Until later 🙂

Book Review: The Confession

Book: The Confession
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Thriller
No. of pages: 418
My rating: 5/5

An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.

I had this book lying around for a long time, never knowing why I didn’t pick it up. On an impulsive day and in a reading frenzy, I picked this up and found myself racing through the pages. I finished it in 2 days and it was absolutely worth the experience. I like crime and legal thrillers but sometimes find them placing disturbing images in my mind. The Confession did have such disturbing scenarios but I would say Grisham has used it sparingly only to support the plot and explain the context.

This is a book in which John Grisham is at what he does best, a legal thriller. Keith, a lutheran minister is unwillingly pulled into a race against time to save an innocent man from death penalty. Will he succeed? And then there are men like Travis Boyette who are hardened criminals who lie, change their minds like switching shirts, and never change. However, only Travis Boyette can save the innocent Donte Drumm from death penalty for a murder that Donte did not commit. Travis chooses Keith as his solution and pulls him into a roller coaster ride.

Does Keith succeed in saving Donte? Does Travis change and feel remorse? Who helps the duo in their race to Donte? There are so many characters involved and so many questions that arise. But Grisham deals with all of them deftly. The book is gripping to the point where the plot decides what Donte’s fate is and then from there, it takes a much more legal and a social view of what happens due to a wrongful conviction. What is at stake? So many people involved in a wrongful conviction, in so many ways. Are they able to live with it? Do they regret or are they worried only about saving themselves? The book offers closure on all these aspects.

As the plot grew, I encountered one too many characters but it did not have a tiring effect. The characters were unique and held different threads of the story together. I cannot blame Grisham for going into detail about some of the characters, we need it to understand how extreme humans can get. The gripping fact that what happens will happen shook me when Grisham threw the bombshell more than halfway through the book and my first reaction was that of being let down. But in his own style Grisham took the story forward and made me realize and accept that no matter what happens, life goes on. There are also places where the book strongly portrays the injustice of life in itself and how cruel people and time can get.

The only thread left till the last page is whether death penalty should be legal. There is another thread of whether death penalty is right or wrong. But that debate will go on even beyond the pages of this book.

Until later 🙂

P.S: A version of this review is also posted on Goodreads.

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s calling

I have been holding off on this book since I couldn’t imagine Rowling’s style of writing in any other way than the Harry Potter series. Being a huge HP fan, I didn’t want to be in a prejudiced state of mind when I read this. However, curiosity got the better of me as I started reading more reviews about this book and most of them rated the book above 3.5. And they were right, I like The Cuckoo’s calling to bits.

When I started the book, I immediately felt comfortable with the author’s writing style and wondered if it was my prejudiced knowledge of the author. But, as I read page after page, I realized that it is not so. This book was in a different league from the fantasy fiction of Harry Potter, it had a unique writing style that made me fall in love with it. The descriptions of characters, situations, places – everything kept me hooked to the book and that’s exactly what any reader would look for in a crime fiction. Cormoran Strike, the protagonist takes the reader through the case with ease and keeps us guessing what’s next.

When the famous model Lula Landry falls to her death under suspicious circumstances, none except her brother thinks there’s something fishy about her death. Even the rigorous rounds of police investigation concludes that it was a suicide. But there is a witness who overheard an argument seconds before Lula Landry fell and there’s a CCTV footage of two men running away from the scene of crime with their faces covered. These evidences are proven to be false or insignificant to the case in the police investigation. However, John Bristow, Lula Landry’s brother is not satisfied. He brings in Cormoran Strike, a war veteran resigned to private detective after his leg injury, to investigate the case further and find justice for his dead sister.

Was it indeed a suicide? Was Lula capable of going from perfectly happy to suicidal in a span of few hours? Was there a motive for someone to murder her? All these questions are strewn across the plot as Lula’s complicated familial and upbringing situations are analysed. The book effortlessly navigates through a detective’s analysis and keeps us guessing about all possibilities. However, I was a little disappointed about who turned out to be the criminal since this had been done and dusted a little too many times. The story could have been twisted into using a different leg but that opportunity is what I felt is lost towards the climax of the book. Also, the title of the book is derived from a very insignificant plot or phase of the story. It could have been more relevant and provoking.

Otherwise, The Cuckoo’s calling is an unputdownable book that is immensely enjoyable. It cost me my weekend for the most part as I started it and I was compelled to sit and complete this, instead of doing the household chores. I am planning on buying the sequel The Silkworm soon as I cannot wait to read more of Cormoran Strike and his investigation tactics.

My rating: 4/5

Until later 🙂

The Puppeteers of Palem – Book Review

puppeteers-of-palem-coverSource : sharathkomarraju.com

When I read Leo‘s take on ‘The Pupeteers of Palem‘ by Sharath Komarraju , I was excited and hesitant at the same time. I was excited because I wanted to read a book that Leo gave more than 4 on 5. I was hesitant because I don’t get along with spooky stories well. The only spooky tales I have read are that of Phatichar‘s on his blog and his book ‘Frankly Spooking’. Still I went ahead and decided to read it because the blurb on the back piqued my interest and luckily I won the giveaway of Leo’s post. So I started off the book with very high expectations and I must say it met everything and then did something more too. The book weaves a chilling tale around a lot of characters who come together in the end to form the plot.

1984: 5 kids grew up in the village of  Rudrakshapalem listening to Avadhani thatha‘s stories when one unfortunate day, he tells them the spooky story of Lachi. The one whom none in the village talks about. Their curiosity gets the better of them and the kids want to meet Lachi at the Shivalayam, which is her infamous haunt. Little do they know there is a bigger picture in the small snippet that Avadhani thatha told them.

 2001: The 5 friends who are now in various places and phases of life decide to come back to Palem. For what, they do not know. Something pulls them back to the place where they grew up in. As they take in the village that seems so familiar yet so strange, they are hunted down – one at a time. Why are they struck down? What part of their childhood connected them to the happenings that lead to their deaths now, after so many years? Through what means does their enemy strike?

In the first 70-80 pages of the book, I met a lot of characters who told me to read on but at the same time made me question why so many characters? But then, each one of them beautifully fits in the picture when the entire plot is painted. Except that, not one feature of the book ticked me off even temporarily. I read on seamlessly and my hunger grew. At times, I was genuinely scared to read on since I felt like I was a part of the story too. As the end drew, all the pieces of the plot came together and when I turned the last page of the book, I found the experience thoroughly eerie which is the best success for a book of this genre.

The Puppeteers of Palem has convinced me that I should read each and every one of Sharath’s books and I intend to do so. I thank Soumya so much for introducing me to this book and giving me a copy to read it too. You just gave me the cake and let me have it too.

My rating of The Puppeteers of Palem: 4.5/5

Until later 🙂