Book Review: Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman

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Before the beginning there was nothing – no Earth, no Heavens, no stars, no sky. Only the mist world, and the fire world, always burning.

I am a big fan of mythology. The stories tell us of a time gone by and of heroes and villains with powers unimaginable. The stories tell us about life and death and of adventures into the unknown. I have a fair knowledge of Greek and Egyptian mythology but I knew nothing of Norse. The only thing I heard of Norse Mythology was from Marvel’s Thor, and that too not much of it.

I was browsing through Instagram and came across a giveaway for the book. I hadn’t really read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before but this one interested me. I needed this book and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the giveaway so I logged onto Amazon and put the book in my wishlist. It remained there for a month or so before I decided to purchase it and don’t I wish I did it sooner.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a collection of short stories. Each story is as enjoyable as the next and I found it very hard to put the book down, even for a second. I don’t remember when was the last time I read a book that I enjoyed so much and even while I write this review my mind keeps going back to a particular story that I loved. He captures your imagination and every single word brings our heroes to life. The stories will make you laugh, will make you wonder and maybe even cry. You watch the story of creation unfold before your eyes and you shiver when Ragnarok approaches.

The book is 283 pages long and isn’t a heavy read. In fact, it is so enjoyable you will be surprised as to where did the time go when you read. It is a refreshing read and is perfect for the time when you are stuck between books or when you don’t feel like reading something heavy and deep. I wouldn’t recommend reading this to young children because as with all mythology, this too contains violent and adult themes. You can read it to them if you want to, but be prepared for a lot of questions once you are done.

My edition is the Bloomsbury India 2018 edition. I love the gold on white cover and the Mjollnir really gives a minimalist but attractive look to the book. The font size is comfortable to the eye.

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a bestselling and award-winning author from England. He is best known for his works in Science Fiction and Fantasy. His works include American God’s, Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Stardust.

 

 

 

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Book Review: Kane and Abel – Jeffrey Archer

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Born on the same day on opposite ends of the earth. William Lowell Kane and Abel Rosnovski, one the son of a rich New York Banker, the other, a poor polish immigrant. Their lives destined to cross in the fight for supreme  power.

Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel follows the lives of William Kane and Abel Rosnovski (earlier know as Wladek Koskiewicz) right from their birth till their death. The book is set over a time period of sixty years, it takes us through both the World War’s and the Great Depression. Each chapter alternates between their stories. Its the story about two different men, born into completely different situations, and how their paths cross during their lifetime. It is a story about two ambitious men and their fight for supremacy.

Kane and Abel is not one of those books that you can rush though, you have to take your time and understand what the author has written. Jeffery Archer has written this novel in such a wonderful way that while reading we tend to feel with the characters. We laugh, cry, hate and love with the characters. This is a book that can capture the mind of the readers, I found it hard to take a break from this book. Even once I stopped reading, the story kept playing in my mind. It holds the interest of the reader right from the first page to the last. This truly is a masterpiece.

Kane and Abel is a classic. Jeffery Archer has discussed human emotions such as sheer determination, hatred, love, anger and ambition in the book. These are the emotions that we feel day to day and can easily relate to it.

The main characters that you shall meet are:
1) Abel Rosnovski : Formerly know as Wladek Koskiewicz, Abel is the son of a Polish Baron. Caught up during the First World War, he is sent to a labor camp in Siberia when he is just twelve years old. After escaping from the camp he then makes his way to America where he makes is fortune. He shares a mutual hatred with William Lowell Kane.

2) William Lowell Kane : William Kane is the son of a wealthy Boston banker. Since he was a child he was brought up to take over the bank from his father. He is determined to to prove himself in the banking field. He shares a mutual hatred with Abel Rosnovski.

Being a total of 550 pages, it is a long read, especially for those who have just started reading. The book ends in a surprising revelation that will play on your mind again and again. Though it may take you a long time to complete this book, its completely worth it. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.It is a must read.

 

Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

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A story told through the eyes of a young girl as she watches her father defend a black man charged with the rape of a white woman.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic tale written by Harper Lee. Set in the 1930’s, this book tells us the story of the sleepy little town of Maycomb. The entire story is told through the eyes of young Scout Finch.

Harper Lee has a written a story in which all of us readers would get to know the mindset of the general population of America during the 1930’s. There is racial intolerance towards the blacks and class in the whites. We get to know the prejudice between a black man and whites. This story also tells us about growing up. We get a look into the feelings and thoughts of a child towards the events happening around her.

The story is written beautifully. While reading it you feel Maycomb come alive in your mind. You can feel with the characters, laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. This book is not exactly a heavy read and even beginners will enjoy reading it. A total of 309 pages, this book is perfect for new readers.

Lets take a look at the main characters.

1) Jean Louise (Scout) Finch : The narrator of the story, Scout lives in Maycomb with her father and brother. The story begins with her starting school, where she is told off for knowing too much already. She is loved by her father and looks up to her elder brother Jem.

2) Jem Finch : The eldest child of Atticus Finch, he is Scouts elder brother. He looks out for his younger sister. An aspiring lawyer, Jem idolizes his father.

3) Atticus Finch : Atticus Finch is the father of Jem and Scout Finch. He is the lawyer chosen to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. This leads to the family being taunted and ignored by the rest of the town. He advises his children on every situation in life.

 

Book Review: As the Crow Flies – Jeffrey Archer

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Charlie’s progress from the teeming streets of Whitechapel to the elegance of Chelsea Terrace is only a few miles as the crow flies, but his actual journey takes him much longer. A story of love, ambition and revenge through the triumphs and disasters of the century. 

I remember receiving this book as a birthday present a few years ago from one of my best friends. In fact, I was the one who picked it out but never got to reading it until now. “As the crow flies” is another book written by Jeffrey Archer. Set between the years 1900-1971 it follows Charlie on his journey to open the biggest barrow in the world. Truthfully speaking, I never expected the book to be so thrilling and entertaining. But Archer has his way in keeping the reader enthralled at every word and page. You never know what will happen next and there are bits and pieces that will surprise you now and then.

Now coming to the story, As the crow flies starts out when Charlie is a 5 year old boy helping at his grandfathers barrow. For those of you who do not know, a barrow is a fancy word for vegetable cart. It then follows him through various stages in his life until he is a very rich and successful business man who owns one of the largest set of shops in London. His journey towards his goal takes him through various relationships in his life, both the world wars and personal loss. It is a rags to riches story that is told through the POV of all the main characters as the story progresses.

Jeffrey Archer describes the entire plot so well, he gives us an inside look into the cut-throat business of retail and luxury. I wouldn’t blame you if you felt inspired to open your own set of shops after reading this book.

A total of 596 pages, the book is an easy read and I would recommend it to any one who is interested in a new book.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child : Exploring the 8th Story

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When I first heard that JK Rowling was working on an eighth story I couldn’t believe my ears. I grew up during the Potter phenomenon and this was definitely news I wanted to hear. Especially after the ending of book 7, where we were given a look at the next generation. I had dreams that Rowling would release a series of books based on the next generation. I wanted to know how our favorite characters grew up. Then the news came that the eighth story would not be a book or a movie, but rather a play. A play that ran only in London and that I hope in the future would run worldwide. I even tweeted JK asking for an official taping but to no avail. Anyway, I guess us Potterheads around the world can only hope and pray that we get to see it enacted live in front of us

NOTE: This post is going to contain minor spoilers. So proceed with caution. If you haven’t read the story yet then I advise you to stop right now. If you haven’t read it but still want to know about the plot then go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

I know there are some out there who are criticizing  the story. Calling it “Fanfiction” and that it isn’t like the previous books. So may i remind you that one, JK Rowling didn’t write it all by herself and two, it was written as a play and not as a novel. Yes, I felt it jumping scenes here and there but that’s about it. The story is captivating and just amazing.

Coming to how I got the book, I did’t get the book as such. I was gifted the e-book by a friend. As someone who doesn’t really like reading e-books and who prefers the actual book it was going against everything that I believe  a reading experience should be, but I was desperate to know the story and I read on. I found it more comfortable to read on my laptop rather on my smartphone. And trust me, reading it digitally was just as amazing.

Cursed child begins where Deathly Hallows ends, on platform 9 3/4. Harry and Ginny are saying goodbye to James and Albus as they leave for Hogwarts. It is Albus’s first year. Along with Albus, Hermione and Ron’s daughter, Rose also leaves for Hogwarts for the first time. On the train they  meet Scorpious Malfoy, son of everybody’s favorite bad boy Draco Malfoy, and the two boys form an unlikely friendship . What follows then is a series of adventures using a time turner and everybody knows that bad things happen to wizards who mess with time. Two alternate realities are created. Basically there is just chaos. And yes, Voldermort has a daughter!

Things that I do not understand about the story is

  1. Why give Draco such a tough time? He has already gone through as lot as it is.
  2. Harry – Albus, Draco-Scorpious father son problems. Actually the entire story could have gone without it.
  3. Where was James? Why wasn’t he supportive of his brother?
  4. Whats with the calorie and sugar thing? Harry wouldn’t deprive his children of the best thing on earth!
  5. Pigeons? Really? It’s a good thing they use owls to carry mail.
  6. And finally, who is the cursed child? Harry? Albus? Scorpious? or Delphie?

All in all, I loved the plot. It was emotional, it was edge-of-the-seat exciting, it was like a blast from the past. I just wish I could see it live in front of me.