Sunday, 27 May 2018

Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

 The whole world is intrigued as the world renowned Visionary is all set to announce the biggest scientific breakthrough since Darwin and Copernicus. But it all begins to fall apart as he is shot minutes before his findings are presented and the whole world is stuck between grief and curiosity. It is now up to Robert Langdon and his associates to ensure that the destiny of the great Visionary is fulfilled.

Book Name: Origin
Author: Daniel Gerhard Brown
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 461

About the Author:
 Daniel Gerhard Brown is an American author of thriller novels, most notably the Roberts Langdon series. He is known for his storytelling style where Robert Langdon goes on a 24 hours adventure, usually triggered by a murder. Three of his books (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and Inferno) have been adapted into Films.

  After the release of Philosopher's Stone in 2001, the characters of the movie were etched in the mind in a way that every subsequent book was read by picturizing the actors as the characters. As is the case with Origin where every book is read by picturizing Tom Hanks in mind (Not as you picturize other actors in your mind at times) as Robert Langdon.
  Robert Langdon finds himself in the middle of yet another murder, and goes on a 24 hour journey with yet another pretty looking lady. Yes, Robert Langdon, in his 50s, known for wearing turtle necks and Harris tweed jackets manages to roam with yet another pretty lady for a whole day. There's something fishy! He's doing this for 5 books now.
  The story begins with a really big pilot and takes nearly 1/5th of the book to only set up a foundation. To give a gist, Edmond Kirsch, (btw, no spoilers) a genius computer scientist and Visionary is about to make the biggest scientific breakthrough which could change the very foundation of every society, religion and culture. He proposes to answer the life changing questions as to, “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” And as anticipated, he has a contradiction from Religious leaders around the world . He hosts an upscale event with influential people at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to present his findings where he is shot minutes before he plans to announce his revolutionary breakthrough.
  Being said that, our Super Hero, Tom Langdon, manages to be present at the right place and at the right time, goes on a quest to release his friends' (oh. Btw Kirsch was a student of Robert Hanks and his dear friend) breakthrough by finding the cloud server where the findings are stored. Like many Super Heroes he has a pretty female side kick too. This time its the charming Ambra Vidal, who happens to be the director of the Guggenheim Museum and fiancee of the future king of Spain. Not just her, he is also accompanied by an Omniscient A.I. called
'Winston' which was created by Kirsch and helps Robert Tom Langdon in his quest.


  • Yet another book with every chapter ending with an edgy cliffhanger, leaving the readers to read that one more chapter.
  • 'All art, architecture, locations, science and religious organizations in this novel are real'. Having said that right in the beginning, the books fill the readers with alluring facts about the art, architecture, technology, history and even the future. (that Robert Tom really is a big head!)
  • With Logic vs Faith in 'Angels and Demons', overpopulation in 'Inferno', Dan Brown has given  yet another issue to ponder upon, the future of humanity by its dependence on technology. Go ahead, read that again, take a minute and start thinking.
  • The book touches upon edgy topics like the extinction of religions, homosexuality, infertility and the extinction of humanity, which is quite forward in terms of a Dan Brown.

  • The introduction takes forever to set up and too many sub-plots were started by the time the entire foundation is constructed.
  • 'Groundbreaking revelation', 'Revolutionary breakthrough', 'Next Darwin and Copernicus', 'more than 200 million people around the world awaits the discovery' having hyped so much for more than half of the book, the revolution turns out to be a really long speech. (say your principal motivating you to study better to avoid being thrown out of the school in the future)
  • Just like its predecessors, this is yet another maze where Robert Hanks Langdon dodges death at every milestone and finds the password which is only accessible by riddles and guessworks.

The MCU resemblance
  This may be far stretched, but when it comes to storylines in the MCU and the Robert Langdon series, there are way more similarities than just co-incidences. To begin with the book in question, Edmond Kirsch, a billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist is a visionary who builds the A.I. Winston, which has a British accent throughout the
book. The uncanny resemblance to Tony stark extends where his A.I. with a British accent, Jarvis has the same way of working and features as Winston.
 Yet another similarity is the point where the A.I. Winston (ok. Spoiler alert) makes an extended plan to kill his master Edmond 'for the greater good of humanity' which was the base of the movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron where Ultron (though a lot more bad guy attitude) decides to kill his makers “for humanity”.
  It doesn't stop there, remember Inferno? The book had the plot where Bertrand Zobrist(Thanos) thought that he could bring balance in the world (universe) by solving the overpopulation issue by releasing a virus (infinity gauntlet) that would destroy 1/3rd (½) of the population.
  Apart from this Brown uses 'Religion vs Science' in most of his books, which could be a parallel to 'Shield vs Hydra' and maybe few others here and there (found any? Do let me know!)

  Now lets keep everything else aside and think about this for a minute! Comment section open for discussions! 

(Also I read the Hardback version and it had that book aroma, so brownie points for that!)

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Omaram: the Over-thinker

Read chapter 2 here.
It has been a week since college started, and still it was extremely difficult for Omaram to start a conversation with anyone.
"So 1 week has passed, and you're still sitting alone?"
"Yes. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert?"
"OK. Introverts don't go to everyone and say that they're introverts"
"I'm afraid they think I'm weird?"
"Yes you are! You're talking to yourself!"
"OK bye"
He needed something to talk about. Similar interests maybe.
"You don't listen to English songs. So can't talk about that"
"You again!"
"And you really don't know what football is"
"Stop it"
"And you've never watched a tamil movie"
He couldn't agree more. He just had a lecture about how language barriers affect communication. And he was sitting in the corner, nodding, a living example. His last few attempts to start any sort of conversations ended up, not just in awkward silences, but in embarrassing ones.
"Let's just go and talk"
"Not now, there are too many people around"
"They are around everytime"
"OK. Screw this. I'll go and talk"
"OK. Your zipper is open. No it's not. Just kidding. Go!"
And just when he stood up and said a hi, he realized he didn't know any language.
"What should I speakkk"
"Just ask his name"
"In which language!"
"Any language!"
"But I don't know any"
"Which language are you thinking in!"
"I don't know! Should I try morse code?"
"You'll die alone"
And by the time he realized he was talking to himself in his mind again, awkward silence set in. He completely forgot a human being was standing near him. Maybe that human being even asked something. But as usual he screwed it up. New people were like the yellow light in the traffic signal. He preferred to avoid them. But at the same time being alone didn't suit him. And he really couldn't spend the entire two years of his college life talking to himself in the corner. He had to find something common to start a conversation.
With a empty mind and empty stomach. He decided to give importance to his priorities. Food. And as soon as he opened his tiffin a voice came from the other side of the classroom.
"Are those chapatis? I love them!"
Tables were joined. Food came to the rescue.
Life gave him a smile.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Omaram: The Over-thinker

Read chapter 1 HERE

As soon as he got down from the train and out to the station, the auto driver started suggesting him cheap hotels. 'Wait do I look that poor?'. He thought.
'Is it the worn out sandals or the fact that I haven't taken a bath for the last 3 days'
'No. Must be the sandals.'
His trip to home was rather educational than festive. Back home, he wasn't the lion of the jungle.
'A tiger maybe? Second best. Lion must my father'
'No. Second best must be your younger brother. And you know it. A giraffe maybe?'
'A giraffe?'
'Yea, why not? Giraffes are cool.'
Three days of over thinking in the train was enough to mess his mind.
'Lets go somewhere'
'First lets go to our hostel, rest, change and then go'
'Orr, lets go somewhere'
'Orrr at least lets go to hostel and change?'
He never cared about appropriate dressing. It was India, People can wear full sleeve shirts, skin tight jeans, and sport shoes to a beach or just a random shorts with the same font as PUMA but spelled as UPMA can be used in a swimming pool.
'Lets go to the beach'
'Or, go have masala poori in that stall near the signal'
'I only have a 10 Rupee note'
'Orrr, lets go to the beach'
Beach was very peaceful by the shore. Apart from a few sundal vendors and people claiming to know your weeks schedule by Tarot cards, there was no disturbance. The couples would usually resort back to the shades of unopened shops for some privacy, and the other shops wouldn't open till late in the evening.
It was then he realized he was alone, and tried hard not to think. Well, Over-think.
'OK. What do we do now'
'Let's meditate'
'Let's eat!' came a blissful solution.
But reality stings and it struck. He was a hosteler. A hosteler with a financial range from, 'One idli per day would do' to 'Lets quit this material world and beg.' But he could take anything that came his way. He just saved a few minutes by not going back and changing. Time was gold, and he had to do the same with money.
'But to save money, you should have some in the first place'
'You should try dying you know. Very peaceful'
The money trouble was turning out to be a bigger trouble than he expected. And with the various part-time and freelancing ventures already rejecting him, he hit a dead end. Glad he wasn't dating anymore. It was like an investment without any returns. He almost choked on his imaginary cheese burger when a foul smell distracted him from his over-thinking.
'Indian beaches and its many uses!!'
'Let us do it here too, they charge 3 rupees in the public washroom over there'
He checked his phone. It was 6. His friend was back from his hometown by now. And imagining all the snacks he could eat back at the hostel, he left. Using the saved 3 rupees, he took a bus back to the hostel. Standing on the foot-board he felt a sense of calm as the gush of fresh air hit him.
'Life wasn't that bad' He thought.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Omaram: The Over-thinker

Om woke up with a jolt. And out of habit, his hands straight up went to his pockets. "Yes, everything's safe". He checked his breathing, "Yes, I'm alive". He was 20 and it was the first time he was travelling alone. And even the thought of a 3 day train journey, alone, made him very nervous right from the words "Don't be a wuss you'll be fine" 
His usual excuse for his nerves was, "I'll be bored! Majority of the people will be with their family, and I'll be stupidly staring out of the window, looking at random traffic jams on the road and green grasses in the village side". He had a knack of screwing things up, by just overthinking normal stuff, when people expected him to act like a 20 year old. He was sitting in the train, alone, waiting for some magic to happen. But the nauseating smell from the bathroom which was right next to him was enough to distract him. He remembered the time when he traveled with his high school friends on a trip, and locked up a friend in the very same bathroom. But damn! He was alone now, and he had to deal with it. And now, he had to pee.
"Don't go, coz if you do, you know you're luggage is gone as good"
"But it's chained?"
"I'm telling you, it will be gone"
"Fine i will wait till everyone is asleep, who cares how long it takes"
He had random plastic food packets around him. Normally with someone for company, this would mean "packets filled with hour of fun and some air". He was in no mood to eat then anyway and declined all the attempts by neighbors to start a conversation. He kept his bag near him, which had his biggest asset. Home food! Which he would eat, not when he was hungry, but when he felt less awkward. 
"What if they feel uncomfortable when you eat?"
"They are eating too"
"Fine, later"
He was going through his usual teenage mid-life crisis. So a train journey was a good change to think things through. He wanted to do something to raise his own bar of awkwardness and defy the competitions he was facing. But right now, everything was a chaos. His school crush was out there, dancing with the guy he hated. "You know what is the best thing to do? Play some sad songs and feel depressed" 
He had a good distraction in form of a vendor, selling playing cards, paper soap, chains and every useless thing which you'd generally ignore, but very useful in a train ride. Seeing the vendor he thought, "Great, An 18 year old has a job too." So far, he wasn't doing well, he clearly seemed unhappy. 
"We should sell stuffs on train too"
"Or!! we should suit up and get ready for a corporate life" 
He laughed at himself for even coming up with a nonsensical dilemma. Yes. This was his new hobby now. Talking to himself. Listening to himself. Giving life advice to himself and then laughing at himself. He realized, he wasn't such a boring person after all. Maybe the failure he was facing was just because his lack on confidence in himself. He made best friends with himself. But it had a side effect too. People. He'd just stare in the void out of the window and laugh all of a sudden. "Honey, let's go, there's a psycho over here" they would think. But like a toddler, he was unaware of every other thing and was enjoying his own company. Earning money? He'll think about it later, after he's a graduate maybe? He was only 20! He has to enjoy now! And not to assume himself sitting in a grand office in the CEO chair and ordering people around. But this was a train ride, and he had vague thoughts in his head. 
"What would be the best career option bro!"
"Business man?"
"Serial killer! We'll kill for rich people"
"Bus drivers? You love driving!"
"You know what, you should sleep, give it a rest for today, we'll think more stupid stuff tomorrow"
It was 3 days train ride, which meant 3 days without bathing, in the same clothes and he can even warm the same seat for 3 days.
"Wait? Its day 2 right?"
"Bro, you just boarded 1 hour ago, remember checking out that girl at the station"
"That was yesterday!"
"Let's overthink!"
He slept again, only to wake up with the very familiar, "kaapi.. tea..kaapi..kaapi". 
Life gave a kick-start. He was glad. He was home!.

Read Chapter 2 HERE

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Book Review - And Then There Were None

In a story set up in early 1900s a group of 10 people are lured on an island under different reasons by an unknown stranger. Each of them has one thing in common. A dark secret. And one by one everyone is killed. The fact that all the murders are operated from within the island and no one else is present apart from the 10 (The twisted ten!) makes the already unguessable plot more mysterious and in the end the reader is left with the question, Has Justice gone too far?

Book Name: And then there were none (Original- Ten Little Niggers)
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Publisher: Collins Crime Club
Pages: 272

About the author
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller is a celebrated novelist from England who had a reputation in writing, unputdownable (not a word, I know) crime thrillers. With 66 Stories and a record of 'Best selling novelist of all time' Christie's legacy is sure to be looked upon by ages of book worms.

The story starts with a description of each character and how they are lured to the island, and then the twisted plot continues flawlessly hardly leaving any loopholes. One might think that they've guessed the murderer and bam! He'd die! The guessing work dies with the last person on the island. With the murderer defending his acts by calling it an act of true justice, the story stirs and age old debate, 'is death an answer to death?'. The psychopath believes it is, and the results are deadly! It is clear that the murdered wasn't a big fan of Middle earth as the great Gandalf once said, "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

Do I recommend
Without killing a single point, I'd give it a perfect 10! This is a 'Sharma ji ka ladka' of all crime thrillers ever written!

Friday, 5 February 2016

Book Review - Ramayana, The Game Of Life - Stolen Hopes

Book Name:- Ramayana, The Game Of Life – Stolen Hope
Author:- Shubha Vilas
Genre:- Religious
Publisher:- Jaico Books

Thirteen years have passed since Rama left Ayodhya and things are about to get nasty. Third edition of Game Of Life journeys through the age old epic in a way to keep the new generations gripped. With the world renowned antagonist finally coming into the picture, it's up to Rama to fulfill his oath and kill the demon king, Ravana while he tries to steal his wife, steal his peace, steal his Hope.

About The Author
Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. He periodically interacts with the
youth in the premier institutes across the country, inspiring them to live a life based on deeper human values. He believes that a good teacher, no matter how knowledgeable, always sees the process of learning as an inherent
aspect of personal and spiritual growth.

Fourteen years of exile was almost coming to an end with only a year left and Rama was on a quest to meet all the world renowned Sages, the most iconic one being Agasthya! Not long after the meeting with the great sage the 'Surpanakha Episode' begins which ends with the death of Khara, brother of the demon king Ravana. To seek revenge on Rama and also blinded by the beauty of Sita, Ravana decides to abduct her. He seeks help of his uncle Maricha living in the same forest to lure Rama and Laxmana away from Sita so abduction would be carried out smoothly. After an intense fight with Jatayu Ravana successfully manages to bring Sita to Lanka, his abode and personally shows her all the worldly wealth and glory she could achieve if she marries him. Following which Ravana adds one more curse from a woman to his fate that he would die in the hands of an ordinary man. Jatayu conveys the message of Sita's abduction to Rama before dying. And the book ends in a cliffhanger with Rama looking for Sugriva(are they monkeys?) who is supposed to be the only person who could help Rama to find Sita.
The book is complete with metaphors perfectly describing Rama, Sita and every event taking place between them. The narration is pure, simple and flawless. Footnotes mentioned in almost every page of the book gives the bigger picture of the words and phrases which seldom includes interesting tales.

Do I Recommend
If you have already read the previous version there is no way you'll miss the sequel. And those of you who haven't, you might just want to consider your options. You might be thinking you know the entire epic, having seen in various movies and TV shows. But remember book is always the better option (Cliché). The little tales and anecdotes mentioned in the books would bring you back to reality.
So go for it!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Book Review - The Bestseller She Wrote

*Spoilers Alert*
  When the book trailer was out it looked all colourful and happy, depicting a cute love story between an author and a girl he meets, who he helps by writing a bestseller.
But Bam! Not that simple.
  As you progress things starts getting complicated and dark showing the consequences of when you're stuck at the wrong side of psychopath. But hey everything works out well, and there is a Happy Ending. 
 Basically this book is written by a bestselling author in which another bestselling author helps a newbie author to be a bestselling author. Let's open "The Bestseller She Wrote"

Book Name:- The Bestseller She Wrote
Author:- Ravi Subramanian
Pages:- 391
Publisher:- Westland Ltd.

About the Author
Ravi Subramanian is an award winning author. He has
written bestsellers like 'The Bankster', 'The Incredible
Banker' and God is a Gamer. He is alumnus of IIM and a banker by profession. He
has almost 2 decades of experience with companies like
HSBC, Citibank, ANZ Grindlays.

  The story starts when a celebrity bestselling author, Aditya Kapoor is invited at IIM Bangalore to deliver a lecture about his success as a writer. And when he was least expecting it, he was rudely interrupted by a girl and that's when everything started. Ambitious, open minded and beautiful, Shreya Kaushik always dreamt of being a writer of Aditya's stature. She manages to make Aditya fall in love with her and convinces him to help her to take her book to the Bestseller mark. 
  Yes and I haven't mentioned this before and nor did the trailer but Aditya is already married, has a kid and is totally in love with his wife, Maya! (Told you it was complicated).
  And to people who have read this book, does the character Aditya Kapoor's achievements remind you of someone? Wrote a few books. Two of them already made into a movies. Latest one have had the movie rights taken at the time of the launch. And is also approached to judge a famous dance show! ( I see what you did there) No? OK. Let's move on.
  Hell breaks loose when Maya finds out about Shreya and gets infected by Ebola at the same time! Meanwhile Aditya decides to break up with Shreya and patch up with Maya at the same time. (Risky gamble! What if Maya had died!) And then Aditya finds out the real intentions of Shreya and gets a divorce notice from Maya at the same time! (Complicated!)
  While Aditya tries to woo Maya back, Shreya decides to take revenge by humiliating Aditya by showing him the bad guy in newspapers, black mailing him of sexual harassment and setting him up for plagiarism.
  To take her head on he assembles a team consisting Sunaina;Shreya's best friend, Sanjay; Aditya's best friend and Diana; Sanjay's love interest. BTW Diana is a lady Aditya disliked at first but not now.(This guy has got one of the most unbalanced minds)
  Just when the book starts thinning Aditya pulls off a Byomkesh Bakshi and drops a bomb that the real culprit was his old buddy Sanjay all the way. (Yet another addition! Liked before but not now!) Sanjay plotted this for personal revenge and Shreya to meet his personal ends. Maya realizes Aditya's love towards her and they both live happily ever after.

Do I Recommend?
  Seldom I would say something positive about love stories, but this had a tinge of mystery (which I realized in the last few chapters). So Non-Love storiers can definitely finish this without getting disappointed. And yes it also shows some basic tips to market a book, so, yay!

  A bit too much of pages were extended for Shreya-Aditya relationship and too less for Aditya-Maya. Up until the turning point no one could say that Aditya did have strong feelings towards his family.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!