The Age of Azmoq (Book 1: The Valantian Imperium) by Rajamayyoor Sharma

“The man raised his hands and jumped with such grace, it seemed he was going for a swim and not jumping in to end his life.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Ola, readers! Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve read a book or done a review, but you know how life is, right? It’s awfully busy sometimes and then some other times, it gives you time to breathe, a.k.a, read. This time, I read, *Drum Roll*  The Age of Azmoq (The Valantian Imperium) by Rajamayyoor Sharma

Let us get into the review, shall we?

Blurb:

 

Azmoq is the rarest and most coveted metal on the planet. It’s the ultimate source and symbol of real power, and the Valantian Imperium controls it all.

Or so they thought…

For the first time in generations, the Valantian Imperium, masters of the Valantian continent glimpse the first tremors of fear. There are rumors abound. Rumors of legends. Legends of both ancient Azmoqian weapons and men of godly powers, long thought to be myths.

As these rumors grow, a small group of people, from various walks of life, some commoners, some within the mighty Valantian Imperium itself, by pure coincidence, have set in motion a chain of events. The legends, if true, along with these set of events, might reignite the flames of a revolution. A revolution the Imperium had long suppressed. A revolution that might alter the balance of power in the continent, and eventually the entire world…

Title:

First of all, there is an aura surrounding the title that gives it a rich, vibrant vibe of fantasy. It is deep, thought-provoking and definitely induces curiosity among readers.

When I read the title and saw the words ‘Book 1: The Valantian Imperium’, I knew for a fact that I was on an amazing journey to a series that would most definitely be some of the greatest that I would read.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

“I didn’t really care if he slept on a mat. Or what he did with the mat.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Upon first glance, the most striking attribute of the cover is how the colours blend together. The colour choices are bright but not domineering the title, they blend but also stick out wonderfully and all in all, I was quite impressed.

Further, the sync between the title and the cover is complimentary to the entire theme.

Fabulous.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“The hills itself looked like a part of the blue sky, as if sent to our world by the heavens to cover the world with a part of its beauty.” – Rajamayyoor Sharma

Without a doubt, this read is one of my most engaging and engrossing. Right from the start it pulls you into another dimension till you start believing that you are with the characters. This is the highlight of the novel.

One of the other standout points is the conversational style that carries through the narration. For a fantasy theme that is so intricately woven, the elements of conversations really do add so much of enchantment to the story. Another really cool feature of the book is the illustrations which help us visualize the story with a more clear sense, almost like virtual reality.

“I felt sadness. I had never been this afraid in my life, but I had experienced grief.” –  Rajamayyoor Sharma

The author’s sense of language is evidence that he is meant to write. That, and the way the author chose to make most of his sentences complex, add a very strong grip to the story. One of the most important elements of writing  a novel is the language – the grammar, the punctuation and the sentence construction. Rajamayyoor has nailed this.

“I knew I was still young, but when someone that old implied that I should have done something by then, it made me feel I hadn’t done enough in my life.”  – Rajamayyoor Sharma

One of my most favourite characters is Grim. The portrayal of this character was done flawlessly and lingers long after you read the book. Further, though the genre is that of Fantasy, the book is packed with values, morals and elements of life that we can all easily relate to.

Overall, it is a highly engaging and an enjoyable read.

Plot Rating – 5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The writing style
  2. The complex sentences

I wanted…

  1. More one-liners
  2. More Illustrations

Overall Rating: 4.75 / 5

Verdict: Definitely Worth Every Penny!

 

Order your copy from any of the links below:

Amazon India

Amazon (US)

If you are interested in getting your book reviewed or would like me to take an author interview, feel free to reach out to me at shravya.gunipudi@gmail.com

 

Book Review: Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal

“Sleep alone could bring the peace he sought.” – Rajiv Mittal

Hey there, readers! I know it’s been long, but I’m back now and this week I was able to get my hands on Brahmahatya by Rajiv Mittal which stands for ‘the act of killing a Brahmin’ in Sanskrit.

Let us get into the review, shall we?

Blurb:

A story of revenge and redemption and deeds shaped by forces that humans believe they have defined through mythology and scriptures but still struggle to understand.
A woman employee of a retirement home is shocked to discover that a new resident is in fact the son impersonating his father. The son is seeking revenge. She, by her past actions, is unwittingly complicit in his being there and now tries to thwart his peculiar plans. A senile woman-resident and an enigmatic founder offer him sage advice. The samudra manthan (a major episode in Hindu mythology), a slightly dim secretary and a sinister boss play their part in ensuring justice is finally served but in an unexpected manner.

The novel quotes frequently from the ancient Hindu scriptures and stories that the protagonists use to justify their actions. The treatment of the elderly in society is a major theme.

 

Title:

The most appealing thing about the title is the Sanskrit meaning to it. I found the depth of the word and the possible circumstances surrounding it to be quite fascinating. It has the two elements I search for in any title. The attraction factor and the arousal of curiosity.

Title Rating – 5 / 5

Cover:

The cover has a holy feeling to it and makes it seem as though the book has a very religiously philosophical approach to it – both of which are fabulous as it sets a record with the readers before they start reading the book. However, my only comment is that I wish it was more catchy as the current cover is a bit bland and dull.

Cover Rating – 4.5 / 5

Plot:

“The sound of its siren was now strident, continuous and very frightening in its urgency..” – Rajiv Mittal

At the start of this book, I was wondering how a heavy topic could be portrayed in a fictional  and light-hearted manner. But as I read through the pages, I realized that the author did a fantastic job in deducing a wonderful flow among the situations and the characters. What specifically stood apart for me was the character ‘Bhavna’ who connected to me instantly due to the strength of perseverance.

“His father’s bed seemed to be waiting for him to return.” –  Rajiv Mittal

The language is fluent and simple to understand. It has a wonderful flow to it which makes it all the more appealing. There is a third person narration which I found quite apt though a singular narration from a specific point of view would have also suited the story immaculately. That being said, this is probably one of the more descriptive pieces of writing I have read so far which makes it appealing to me.

“The two men remained silent visitors of the night.”  – Rajiv Mittal

It is a highly engaging and an enjoyable read. The author did a fantastic job in connecting loose ends and finishing off the story on a gentle note.

Plot Rating – 5 / 5

I loved…

  1. The writing style
  2. The conversational aspects
  3. The author’s clarity of thought
  4. The plot

I wanted…

  1. An element of mystery
  2. Less confusion among a couple of dialogues

Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5

Verdict: Worth A Read!

Order your copy from any of the links below:

Amazon India

Amazon (US)

 

 

Book Review: Transitions and Beyond (4) by Inderjit Kaur

I just read Transitions and Beyond (4) by Inderjit Kaur.
While I was expecting it to be like yet another self-help book, it proved to be so much more than just that. Here is what I thought…

BOOK COVER:

I wasn’t very sure what to make of it at first. I found it utterly confusing and weird. But then upon trying to analyse it, I liked how it shows a piece of a puzzle, a direction moving across a cracked path and growth among rubble. It sent many motivational messages to me though I wished it could be represented in a more attractive way.

Cover Rating – 3 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is perfect. It’s apt for the subject which is about change from a disorganized and haphazard way of living. It also promises of teaching something more than just that. I liked how it sounds.

Title Rating – 4.5 / 5

Theme

The main focus of this novel is how the right way you transition from your existing way of life can drastically change how success comes to you. It speaks about structure, modification and dedication, all of which are essential to be able to move forward from an unclear future. There is immense positive feeling that one derives from the way the author has portrayed these lessons.

Additionally, in order to make it more catchy and memorable, the lessons and motivational guides are split into modules. This is another strong point which makes implementation quick and easy. to elaborate, there are a total of three modules. The first is ‘The Change’ which speaks about exactly that. It highlights some very valuable points about how a person develops a patterned way of living which needs to be altered to succeed. The second is ‘Interventions’ which is more of a self-analysis about the present and the progress. This is the one that contains the most depth and philosophical teaching. Lastly, we have ‘Revive and Renewal’ which is like a refresh button to your own life. It is acceptance, understanding and tolerance.

What really struck a chord with me in my personal life is how the concept of change and stress merge into one another. This was something I could relate to very well. The knowledge derived may not be completely new, but it is, to the most extent, quite catchy and read-worthy. That is the strength of this work.

The writing style is simple, to the point and lacks any major grammatical errors.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Though the information is probably something we’ve thought about every now and then, the presentation is excellent and I found the book worth my while. I would recommend this to someone grappling with life or struggling to strike a chord with difference.

Final Rating: 4 / 5

Verdict: Recommended!

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My new novel, ‘Twisted’ is now out in stores. Take a peak into the sample chapters and order your copy today at Amazon!

Book Review: Twenty Twenty – A Race Against Time by Anuraag Srivastava

I just read Twenty Twenty – A Race Against Time by Anuraag Srivastava.
Here is what I thought.

 

BOOK COVER:

I personally did not like the book cover. It just didn’t seem like a lot of effort was put into it. It is unoriginal and bland. Sadly, this just did not work for me.

Cover Rating – 2.5 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is perfect for the plot and the story. I felt that it fit well with the essence of the novel. Time is always something that we have no control over. It slips out of our grasp before we even know it. That justifies the plot as well as the title quite well.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

The genre is Thriller, which is very evident both from the cover and the title. However, there is so much more to the story than just that. The story revolves around two siblings who find themselves caught in a seemingly impossible situation where they have just twenty days to relieve themselves from their own stressful adventure.

The part I loved most about this book is that it has two female protagonists, both portrayed as powerful and sophisticated women who are able to hold their ground. It revolves around the troubles they face, the manipulations they have at the center of their hands and the relationships that are tethering at the edge of breaking points. It is very admirable to see that the author has been able to portray a side to women that isn’t really acceptable within the Indian Society. These two sisters do everything that a man does and gets away with – be it sex, power and even redemption.

It was an enjoyable read. The writing style is very good and the book is quite fast paced.

Rating – 5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Definite recommendation from my end. Worthy of reading and will linger with you for a long time.

Final Rating: 4 / 5
Verdict: Recommended!

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Book Review: Rafflesia, The Banished Princess by Gautam

I just read ‘Rafflesia, The Banished Princess’ by Gautam.
Here is what I thought.

BOOK COVER:

The cover wasn’t the highlight of the book for me. It was drab, it was dull and definitely not something I would call ‘catchy’. Perhaps it is the grey factor that made it seem that way.

But it is a good accompaniment to the title and, obviously, the story. However, my suggestion to the author is to try something discrete for his next work, something that makes the cover intriguing and mysterious.

Cover Rating – 3 / 5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

The title is pretty straightforward and it does mention one of the key characters of the novel. The byline ‘The Banished Princess’ is apt and gives a wonderful peak into the plot as well.

I love the name Rafflesia.

Title Rating – 4/5

PLOT

When I first saw the immense size of the book, I was quite terrified. It is probably one of the longest books I’ve read in the recent past. However, I will say that for the length of the novel,  the author was able to keep up the story line and stretch it across without making it seem dull, repetitive or dragged.

The plot revolves around ‘Appu’ who is the protagonist. His life is dependent on the situations that his closest ones face or the obstacles that they incur. Each character is deep, has a history of its own and is presented very well. My favourite character was ‘Misha’, a sibling-like friend to ‘Appu’.

The drawback would definitely have to be the length. I did find, in a few places, that the narration was either slow or unnecessary. There was no steadiness to the writing, but instead went like wave after wave with a bunch of highs and lows.

The writing style is good, however, I felt that in many places, it could have been better. The main issue I had was the repetition of words in the same sentence. That was distracting. But then again, perhaps I am being nit-picky. I would love to see the author pick a more vibrant topic and see how he deals with a different theme.

Though there are pros and cons to the book, I definitely liked reading it and found it to be quite enjoyable.

Rating – 4 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

I don’t regret reading this book at all. It was a great read, and though it took me two weeks to complete with my hectic schedule and frantic deadlines, it was a calm and peaceful journey for me. However, I will have to add, that this book isn’t for all audiences – especially those who enjoy quicker reads.

Final Rating: 4 / 5
Verdict: Recommended as a Long Read!

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Book Review: Her Resurrection by Soumyadeep Koley

I just read ‘Her Resurrection’ by Soumyadeep Koley and I am SO happy that I did.
So, here is what I thought.

 

BOOK COVER:

I won’t even get into details. There is no necessity. The cover was stellar. It’s one of the best I’ve seen. Attractive? Check. Deep and Meaningful? Check. Connects to the Plot? Check.

Cover Rating – 5/5

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

Such power and magnificence in the title. I love how strong it sounds but what I love even more is how the whole plot and story justified with with utmost priority. Again, the rating isn’t difficult to give.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

This is the main part of any book. There are hardly any negative aspects to the book, which is why I will start with those first. I found two issues, though minor and highly based on perception, I will add.

The first was that a few parts of the story dipped, making the reading a bit boring. I wished that the book could have been engaging throughout. However, considering the depth of the concept, I can let this pass.

The second was that a few sentences seemed off in terms of construction. I felt that if they could be worded differently, they would have made stunning one-liners. Again – Every author goes through this. We are all human and it happens.

Coming to the positives, definitely the first will have to be the subject. It is highly engaging and very complex, for which I applaud the author. But I applaud Gargi Publishers more for bringing something like this into limelight.

My debut novel was by Gargi Publishers as well, and not to sound biased, but I have immense respect for their choice of publication. The second main aspect was the writing style.

Soumyadeep aced this and managed to make such a deep and motivating subject sound highly enthralling and read-worthy. I loved it. More positives arise from the narrative, the conversational style adopted and the inclusion of a ‘prologue’ as well as an ‘epilogue’ which I personally LOVE in any novel. Kudos to the author.  This was a fascinating read.

Rating – 4.5 / 5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

I am glad to have this book on my shelf and wish to read more by this author. I love his writing style and that he chose such a different, bold topic to display.

 

Final Rating: 4.5/5
Verdict: Definitely Recommended!

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Book Review: Demons in my Mind by Aashish Gupta

I just read ‘Demons in my mind’ by Aashish Gupta. It was an eventful roller-coaster journey and a definite joy ride.
Here is what I thought.

 

 BOOK COVER:

With a minimalist approach, this cover seemed simple and straightforward at first. Upon first look, I was almost disappointed, even. But at a closer look I realized that it was quite deep and meaningful. It has the element of surprise that gets answered only when you are at least midway through reading the novel. That was one of the best things about the cover for me, and one factor that I have been looking for, for quite a long time.
Coming to the attraction factor, I won’t call it a bad looking cover, but I am pretty sure that if I saw this book in a store among others, it wouldn’t be the first to catch my attention. It lacks the oomph factor though it has just about everything else.

 

Cover Rating – 4.25/5

 

TITLE JUSTIFICATION:

I loved the title. It is mysterious, attractive and is enough to make the reader want more. While I was reading the book, I had multiple alternative titles in mind (blame the author in me!), but in the end, after much contemplation, I had to agree that Aashish’s selection was the best.

Title Rating – 5/5

PLOT

Before I start, I have a disclaimer for the weak-hearted. I never thought I would fall into that category of people but I realize now that I was wrong. I am very much squeamish and I cringe a lot. Life lesson learnt. Coming to the disclaimer – this book is not for you. It is painful, it is tragic and it is gruesome. But it is also raw, emotional and deep.

The tale revolves around four main characters – though there are plenty more, four stood out for me. One is Dakshish – the protagonist, a man suffering with a fatal disease who seeks death. The others are the Three Monks – Murali, Rizwan and Joseph. It is when their paths cross that Dakshish embarks on a journey that changes his entire perspective. Through the stories behind these three monks – One of death, one of art and one of failure, Dakshish realizes a deeper meaning of life.

The plot is outstanding. The writing is impeccable. The style technique is applaud-worthy. There are far more positives than there are negative aspects to the book. There is so much depth to each character and mental illness is portrayed magnificently without all the unnecessary glorification. This book is for those people who understand and appreciate the tenor of art. Aashish Gupta is an author who deserves to be called by the prestigious tag simply because he is gifted.

But there is something else. Something that pulled the book down a little bit for me. It got tedious and pedantic at places. Perhaps it was a tad bit too lengthy. Maybe it was too heavy a topic to be able to read with a constant flow. I found myself having to pause, take a break and get some fresh air. The topic, though dealt with magnificently, left me a little uneasy at the end.

That being said – nothing can take away the charm that Demons In My Mind has to offer.

Plot Rating – 4.5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

The size of this book had me worried for a while. Was it something that was worth the cost? Was it going to be terribly prolonged? What could possibly be told in such a long story? But I admit, and proudly so, that I was wrong. This book has everything and more. Very serious. Very deep. Very moving.

Final Rating: 4.5/5
Verdict: Recommended for the Brave

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