Monday, April 7, 2014

Kaivalya - book review

I first read the book back in October 2010, when it was self published by Sumana through 'CinnamonTeal Print and Publishing Services'. I promised her then that I would write a post on my blog - the first ever review by me on a book. I couldn't though and it was really a case of not enough time. I wrote a few lines to her personally though - excerpts below:

"... Try as much, am not able to get enough time to write review for your novel. I finished it about 2 weeks back! Lest I forget it all, here is a compressed version:

Its a fast paced novel and a rank page turner, shades of Sidney Sheldon and Dan Brown in the unfolding of events. Easy flow of language means at no point do I feel to stop reading except for lack of time! I would also like to say that, at times I could see inexperience of first timer. Events could have been more tightly packed. ..."

Some more comments were there too, but they are spoilers. Well, you might ask, why am I bringing all this up suddenly, more than 3 years later on. The novel has now been accepted and published by Westland (who have brought out authors like Amish and Ashwin Sanghi) in September 2013.

Cover of 'The Revenge of Kaivalya'
Cover as put by Flipkart
More info about the novel, other reviews and where to purchase on book's facebook page.

I told myself that it was a good cue to reread the novel. The first time I had read, I was sick at home - the kind where you yearn for mother's lap. I was here, in Bangalore, all by myself and reading the book to pass time (and thereby forget the pain).

As with other things, rereading got pushed and only finished few days back. In between, I did finally meet her in January during book launch at Easy library, Koramangala. And didn't miss the chance for an autograph - another first for me. Surreal really that I was meeting an author :)

So, coming back to review. I wish this wasn't the first time to review a book and that I could put it eloquently. Here it goes:

Even for second time reading, it was fast paced. Easy to read and interesting events keep popping up almost every page. The setting spans multiple eras and all of them are nicely set-up. In between the two readings, I have trekked a lot and come to know Bangalore better, so I could relate to many landmarks in the book. They do enhance the experience. Flashbacks are interesting too and help build characters - too many for my liking though.

It is not a whodunnit, but the suspense is palpable. Just like reaching the peak of a mountain is not all but the journey that is more interesting, here too, events and characters (seemingly unrelated) make it very difficult to put aside the book, even for a break or sleep. At times, one would feel that the author has slipped up, beware, something else is brewing up there! It felt like she purposefully put it like that to tease the reader. Some particular numbers keep popping up frequently too.

Though the genre is paranormal, I'll stick with my earlier impression that the book is Dan Brown and Sidney Sheldon rolled into one. And by that, I don't mean to compare those authors with Sumana here, it's just a way to convey what kind of a book this is.

Coming to characters, many of them are memorable and atleast 1-2 distinctive personality that one would easily recall even after years. While rereading, I was surprised that I remembered little incidents and yet forgot some big plot lines.

Putting a critical eye during the second sitting meant that I did notice few short comings too. I won't go in depth with those, some are plot spoilers. Though some coincidences are very subtle - the way I like them, few of them were hard to digest. But then perhaps, fictional novel aren't supposed to follow normal life. Falling in love at first sight, stylish men and women, expressions like 'biggest in a decade', etc give a filmy touch, which I personally feel could have been toned down or completely avoided. One particular support character disappearing in the later half felt odd.

All in all, I will strongly recommend anyone looking for a good read or a fast paced novel to give this one a try - even if one doesn't like paranormal genre. It is around 400 pages, but one would easily finish in 2-3 days.

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