Book Review : The Curse of Surya

Synopsis :

Sangeeta Rao, a beautiful, feisty reporter at Channel 7 TV in Singapore, rushes to Agra on a special assignment after an early morning phone call. At the Taj Mahal, she meets Alan Davies, a charming Welshman. But a terrorist attack on Mathura’s renowned Krishna temple turns them into fugitives from justice and the duo must decipher a series of complex cryptographs and unearth the illustrious Shyamantaka that belonged to Surya, the Sun God, to prove their innocence.

The Review :

The Curse of Surya by Dev Prasad is the authors first venture into the thriller genre. Given the plethora of books available in the Indian market of authors retelling mythology in their own perspective , I was happy to see someone use mythology as a plot device and not the entire plot itself.

The main characters in the plot are Sangeeta , a famous news reporter from channel 7 Singapore . Then there’s Alan Davies , a Welshman , who is irresistible to Sangeeta. Further into the story , they are joined by a elderly Frenchman ,Anton Blanchard.

Is it just me or this line up already starting to reek of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code?

Anyway, the story opens with a murder (Ahemm!!) . The reporter who is supposed to cover the International Saints conference to be held in Mathura , is murdered under suspicious circumstances . Sangeeta is called in as an emergency replacement and has to fly immediately to Agra to cover the event. Sangeeta meets Alan in Agra and is instantly smitten.

A terrorist attack at the conference sets off a chain of events that pull Sangeeta and Alan further and further into troubled waters. The only way to save themselves and prove their innocence is to find the Shyamantaka  which has been lost for nearly 5000 years, which seems like a really tall order but thats the whole fun about it.

I would categorically like to state the author has done a lot of research about the city of Mathura and especially the janma sthan of Lord Krishna . He seems to know these places like the back of his hand and that reflects in the book.

Unfortunately , the author fails at character and plot development. I would like to cite a very specific example from the book . The Assassin , is supposed to be a very cold blooded , intimidating character , very organized and very calm . The one described in the book seems almost harmless , has no plan , and in the end he ends up dying doing the one thing he was supposed to do right and being compensated heavily for. I literally let out a chuckle when he died , the author could really have used a suicide bomber in the plot if he really intended to kill of the Assassin(Is it just me or does that sound stupid) .

When the actual search for the jewel begins, everything feels  a bit rushed , the puzzles and codes solved just when the author feels like it . If you read a lot of books in the thriller genre , its a little hard to swallow how easily everything falls into place.Plot twists are there but nothing you cannot see coming .

Rating : 2.5/5

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Book Review : Mistress of Honour

Mistress of Honour- Cover

Mistress of Honour- Cover

I got this book, Mistress of Honour as a part of the Booksense Blogger review program. This is the 2nd book of the author , Bhavana Arora . Her first book was “The Deliberate Sinner” which received positive reviews from the online community.

Getting down to the book.

The book makes an attempt to provide a deep insight into the lives of the men serving in the Indian military forces and their families . The lives they lead , sometimes in constant fear , rapidly moving around the country , being way from their families and how it affects the other members of the family . At that , I think the author has done a very good job.

The story follows the lives of the two characters Potnis and Pansy . Potnis is a captain in the Indian army and his life is constantly uprooted when he has to move to different parts of the country for different missions. Pansy is the devoted wife , they have daughter named Rihana. Being the only child , Rihana always wanted a sibling , to fill the void the absence of his father always left around her. She later finds a brother in Kabir and finally the love of her life in Advik.

The book constantly reminds us of the sacrifices the armed forces make in the personal lives and family to protect our country . Potnis is met with tragedies during the course of the book that test his resolve to put nation before family first. But the family sticks together and helps each other out getting through the tough phase.The book also emphasizes that it’s an endless cycle. As is depicted by the story of the two generations , Pansy and her daughter Rihana .  Rihana would have to make the same sacrifices her mother does .

The author has done well enough to develop these characters over the book and the side characters as well , but the main storyline is very weak and never quite takes off. The story starts off with operation blue star at the time of the assassination of Indira Gandhi , then traverses Civil Unrest in Sri Lanka , assassination of Rajiv Gandhi , ULFA militants in Assam and then culminating in the Kargil war. I was instantly reminded of Chetan Bhagat’s 3 mistakes of my life where he started off with the Gujarat earthquake and then all the way ended his story with the riots. I know the cover of the book says its inspired by real life stories , but at times the book really felt a half baked history lesson.

The book has all the usual elements , drama , action , romance , sex , that you would expect from a short read like this . The sex scenes described are corny at best , at times I just skipped it altogether .

The book is a decent read if you’re traveling and have some time to kill. At 200 pages , it doesn’t take much of your time either.

Rating : 2.5/5

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