Review|An Ember in the Ashes

In post Harry Potter and ASOIAF world, it’s tough not to be biased against a new magical fantasy.

The first two books of an ember in the ashes series are out; and broadly speaking it’s just a normal story. It does not introduce a new concept. Agreed that the narrative is excellent but the main story is the story of a tyranny and resistance, of ghouls and jinns, of magic and prophesies. Or is it?

What makes the book mind-blowing is the implied story; a story which runs parallel to the main story; a story which we, in the modern world, can relate to.

Laia represents the oppressed, Elias represents those who no longer believe in system, Helene is a firm believer of the empire’s ideals. Eeach group, be out scholars, the resistance, or the martials believe that they are on the right path. The ghouls and efrits represents the sorrows, loneliness and troubles (and thus are so easily defeated).

Like the story, in our modern society there are oppressed people (be it colored folks of the West or the untouchables in the East). Sooner or later groups claiming to resist tyranny emerges which ultimately causes more harm than good. In this whole drama the real evil entities (nightbringer in the story) are able to achieve their evil designs.

So what to look forward in the third book?

Will nightbringer be able to fool Helene in giving him the necklace?

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The postman always rings twice

The postman always rings twice is a psychological story dealing with crime and punishment. The story deals with the concept of karma, of how crime always pays.

The novel has been adopted to multiple movies, and is included in 100 best books of “modern library”; considering this the book is below expectations.

It’s a story of how lust (no, I don’t think it’s love what’s portrayed in the novel) leads the narrator to commit murder and later face the consequences; though the punishment does not come as it world have been expected.

There is something dark as well as something funny about the book, but the best thing is it’s a very short novel. Personally I would not recommend it to anyone.

To kill a mockingbird

​The law declares them equal but the prejudice remain. A fiction for the well oft and a day to day life for the down trodden and oppressed people of the society – Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” remains relevant even today.

The story deals with a small girl’s perspective of his father’s (the lawyer’s) futile attempt to defend an innocent negro against a society which – as George Orwell put in Animal Farm – considers “All as equal but some as more equal than the others”.

Originally published in 1960; it’s a book which each generation should revisit to remember that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”!

Gujarat Files

Post 2002 Gujarat carnage, the then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi had one regret. “I didn’t manage the media well” he said. It is alleged that Modi (now the prime minister of India) and his party, the BJP, was directly or indirectly involved in the riots along with the right wing extremist group, the VHP.

The question remains regarding the opinion and actions of the senior police officers and of the other senior politicians of the party. Rana Ayyub went undercover and under the guise of making a documentary on”vibrant Gujarat” interacted with the senior police officers as well as political leaders. This is documented in her book “Gujarat files”.

The book in itself is not a page turner, moving at times at a very slow pace and leaving unanswered questions at other times. Still the relevance of the book can not be ignored in the political and judicial spheres of India.

It’s not possible to determine if Rana’s version is the gospel truth or if it is a work of fiction. But in both cases – be it going undercover or to openly lie against a right wing party known for violence – it is a daring act!

Madari (puppeteer)

When one man stands against a system, without support from masses, either he loses or it is a super hero movie. Alas, none of it is true for the Bollywood movie madari.

Overall it’s a good concept where a one man army stands against the system to correct the wrongs done to him and to others like him. Had it not been for the hero worship prevalent in Bollywood the movie would not have had been so unrealistic. When will the Indian film industry understand that sacrifice for a good failed cause is also a victory?

In madari it would have been a better story if Nirmal was, in the end, either arrested or killed and the story was left unconcluded; for the real madari (puppeteer) is the system and not some common man. Though the audience, with such an ending, would be left heart broken and yearning for a closure – it would have given them some food for thought.

To conclude, madari is an unrealistic movie with good concept but poorly written story.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter’s new book is a disappointing read. It’s not that the writing is bad, rather it’s the story which is far below expectations.

The story, instead of bringing a new concept, revolves around Voldemort and time travel. Time travel – oh please! And does not the wizarding world have any problem other than Voldemort? Then as we reached the climax; it’s Harry Potter, a professional Auror, easily being defeated by a more or less an untrained witch!

At best HP8 is a poorly written fan fiction.