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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review : 'Talon the Falcon' by Deepak Dalal

'Talon the Falcon' by Deepak Dalal is an interesting story. It basically, gets on the plot, almost immediately. The story is about Shikar, a squirrel, who can speak the bird language and also about a falcon, named Talon.

As the story begins, you are introduced to Shikar, who has no clue, why almost all his buddies have suddenly disappeared from the place called as Rose Garden. The mynas, bulbuls, koels, and a few others are all missing. He spends the rest of his time, looking for them, when he comes upon a couple of squirrels, who are his best friends.

Both of them explain to Shikar that they would be going away too, because they are now under imminent danger. And then they point towards another bird, the falcon. The falcons are scary birds, which fly from above and carry away the little ones. That is the reason that all the birds have fled.

Shikar, who stayed on suddenly came face to face with the falcon. It was a huge bird and had huge wings, a curved beak and intense eyes. It looked chilling and ready to kill. But it had a deep voice, and a sad tone. He sang the words of a bird, which was trapped. Shikar noticed then, that the bird was in a cage.

With that the whole scare, which he had suddenly felt was lifted. Immediately, he felt sorry for the bird, and made his way over to talk to the falcon. He realised that it would be easy for him to chew away the twine, what bound him and he could fly away to freedom.

But the falcon would have to promise that he would fly away and not hurt anyone. The falcon who heard Shikar’s words, immediately agreed. But, suddenly there was some noise and Shikar ran away. The people of the house at the child was promising his father that he would handle the falcon and make sure he took good care of it, as it was his responsibility.

By that evening birds came back to the garden, as they had heard that the falcon was caged. The birds are spoken to by Shikar, and though reluctantly at first, most birds agreed to Shikar’s plan of freeing, Talon, the falcon. So, Shikar has plans to chew out the twine of the cage and his friends, who would watch over and make sure that he could chew it out.

So, does he manage to do this? Would no one from the house notice? And would the falcon keep his promise and not hurt a single bird or animal from the Rose Garden? Read up, ‘Talon the Falcon’ to find out more. This book is about bravery, kindness, and doing what must be done, for the goodness of all.

The songs in the book are pleasingly written, and all in the right places. It also has wonderful illustrations by Lavanya Naidu, to help keep the story going. Overall, it was a neat book and it had all the best notes for children and a few adults, as well.

You can Buy the Book, right here. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review : 'Nickerbacher' by Terry John Barto

Read up, ‘Nickerbacher’ by Terry John Barto, Folks… You might have read a few books on dragons, and Princesses and even a rescuing prince, but none like this one. Now, just put them all together and give them all a good shake and you get a dragon, Nickerbacher by name and his father who yells at the poor guy, just because he has a few dreams of his own. 

Then, we chance upon the princess Gwendolyn who likes and cares for the dragon, who looks after her. It is his duty to look after her and his father tells him to do so and not chase after his silly dreams of becoming a comedian.

But Nickerbacher is encouraged by the princess to follow his dreams and he and the princess are working on his jokes, when Prince Happenstance comes into the picture. The prince, who is all set to fight the dragon and rescue the princess, is stopped by the princess. He is told of the problem. So, the three of them set off to La La Land. 

When the three of them get there, we are of course thrown into the colourful pictures of La La Land. The Comedy Castle, run by Johnny Kingston, is the place to be to show off his comedic talent. It would be kind of a weird thing to have a dragon on stage to try on comedy, because nobody had ever heard of it before.

Yet, Gwendolyn manages to convince Kingston by promising to promote the comedy show throughout the city, while the Prince convinces him of having a novelty comedian. Kingston agrees since it would probably boost his ratings.

So, do they manage to get a full house in on ‘The Late Knight Show’? Will Argyle, the leprechaun agree to be the coach? Does Nickerbacher manage to convince his father to let him do the show? And will there be a full house? 

The Griffin, dwarves, Santa Claus, his elves and even a Sphinx and his
Terry John Barto
friends make up a few of the audience. But who else would come and check out the show with jokes, riddles and the goofiness of the dragon?

It encourages kids to follow their dreams and basically, encourages kids to treat everybody the same way. A funny and goofy book which is something, that is different and will definitely get your thinking hats out for sure. The colourful illustrations by Kim Sponaugle, mixed with Barto’s story definitely are a treat.

You can Buy the Book, right here. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review : 'Skyfire' by Aroon Raman

It has been a while that I h­­­­ave read a thriller, so bring it on. Aroon Raman’s ‘Skyfire’ is a good book, with all the history, mystery, and a roundup of poking and prodding, the bits of love story and intelligence operations, it needs.

Well, I have pretty much given you the basis of the story, but since I have not read, ‘The Shadow Throne’, I guess I am missing out a little bit. Basically, it gives us a journalist, Chandrasekhar, historian, Meenakshi and an intelligence operative, Syed Ali Hassan, to handle it all. 

The story begins in 2012, when there are abnormal weather disruptions across India, diseases caused, child trafficking in the major cities and small kids from slums disappearing, and quite the dash of violence, combined with surreptitious behaviour, all around. 

It begins with the disappearance of a child, ­which Meenakshi and Chandra are handling when, the acid rain also hits them and also with it, the Dharma Foundation, which is taking care of the whole thing. I need to pause now, or I will just end up telling you the whole story.

It is with the arrival of the brother - sister duo of Harshvardhan and Vaishali Dharma that the p­­­­lot takes on a new colour. Harsh is the NGO behind some of the work, which Meenakshi wants to get done. While the Dharmas are enlisted in to help, and a trip to Bhutan is on the cards, and we find ourselves there, the plot digs in deeper.

Making sense of these actions, are the three of them, when you are driven into the dark world of the three nations of India, Pakistan and Bhutan. Of course, one cannot miss the Hindi movie references and it is well, kind of taking it all in. That is a lot of stories, rolled into one.

The story moves on, but with the ultimate twist brought in by Vaishali Dharma, the story plus all its political and administrative twists, and the never ending war of words, between India and Pakistan, we have so much more to be wrapped into this review.

So, the end was well, not too unexpected. But it was Meenakshi Pirzada, who won me over, with her instinctive eye, and a brilliant mind, who solves the mystery, explaining it ever so clearly. Well, I will not give out more though; I think I might just have…

You can Buy the Book, right here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lonely girl in the hills...

Just back from Virajpet in Coorg. It took many hours and actually, I did not end up there with a book. So, a trip to Club Mahindra later, I have cooler thoughts. So, that meant it was just me, my own funky thoughts and the walks later, when I thought that I must return to my books and writing.

And by writing, I mean my own writing. I mean, of course I want to get back to the reviews, interviews my own views as well, but now, I think, I should really get back to writing my own book. And a zillion ideas, I do have. Not just of trees and birds, but of people and their dreams. About clocks, and the times they keep… about weird, funny, and odd tales. 

So, I am sorry folks… if I do not produce any review today or over the next 2 days. But they are definitely on!! So, Jeffrey Archer or Aroon Raman… hmm…

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Book Review : 'Lanka's Princess' by Kavita Kane

Well, Kavita Kane is back and I am sorry that I could not come out with a review earlier, but here it is, nevertheless. ‘Lanka’s Princess’ is a book, that makes it complete. Nowadays, I have begun to enjoy mythological fiction, with all the twist, I guess it needed. With Anand Neelakantan taking care of all the male figures, whom I have enjoyed and I guess they all deserve the kind of good boy imagery too, we now have Kane handling the female figures… and deservedly so… Always did wonder about Surpanakha and now, she seems to have gotten it. 

A very well researched book, it shows Surpanakha as the earliest, Meenakshi. The daughter of Kaikesi and Rishi Vishvaras, who is as hard as nails but needed to fight back against her mother, who did not like her because she was a girl-child, and a dark skinned one, and also her brothers who were on their own trips and her father too, at times, when she was expecting support from him. The only love, she got was from her brother, Kumbha, but it never was enough. As time goes by, Ravan is the ‘destined’ ruler of Lanka, taking it away from his step brother, Kubera.  

As Ravan is cursed, that if he takes any woman, if she does not wish it to be so, he is destined to be hurt very badly, but Kaikesi fights her war against fortune, itself. Meenakshi falls in love with Vidyujiva, who is Ravan’s enemy. Everything seems to fall in place, and Vidyujiva, who seems to get on with Ravan, is suddenly killed in the battlefield, when he goes to fight with him. 

The two had a child too, Kumar. Meenakshi, who is now at loggerheads with her brother and family, who had accused him of cheating, not once, but many a time. She runs away from her immediate family, to find solace in the forest of Dandak, with her uncle, Mareecha. Her anger is unabated and threatening to kill Ravan, and preparing Kumar to slay him. But fate has it in for her, since Kumar is killed by Lakshman, quite by mistake, and Meenakshi, who is now destined to be Surpanakha, will have to find her way again.

Anger and desperation lead her deeper into Dandak, and she meets Ram, Sita and Lakshman. As, she wants to find a way to kill Lakshman and Ram, she also thinks of a plan to kill Ravan too, but she ends up getting defaced and hurt badly.

Then, it was according to her plan that she goes to her brother complaining of all the atrocities done to her by Ram and Lakshman. We all know the story of what happens after.

As we know what happens to Lanka and Ravan, after but there was much more to happen with Lakshman. The story goes on to explain what we might have missed in the entire story, and how the Ramayana was also Meenakshi’s story as much as it was Sita’s, later.

There was so much more to the story, Kaikesi’s own story about how she got Lanka back again and Ravan’s never ending quest for power. With Meenakshi’s own struggle for the best in her world, her ways of finding her own finest things in the harshest ways of the world. How fate had played tricks and how she ended up the way she was, the poor Meenakshi ended up playing Surpanakha in the entire play of Ramayana.
Kavita Kane

Whether you feel sorry for her, or if you feel slightly bad for her fortune, it might be completely up to you, but if she deserves this read, the Kavita Kane, you have nailed it...

You can Buy the Book, right here.