Tuesday, 30 April 2013

War Horse - Michael Morpurgo

Date of Reading: 29/03/2013
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publisher: Egmont 
Place: London
Year:2010 (as e-book)
Rating: 3.5/5

           May be I am a little too old for children's fiction, but here we are. I have watched the Steven Spielberg movie, so thought its time to lay hands on the book too. All in all its Black Beauty gone to war; except for the introduction of  World War I, there is not much difference from Anna Sewell's work, Spielberg at least has succeeded in producing a reunion theme out of it.
           One thing puzzles me though, how can this horse understand three languages? (English, German, French). And his narrative voice is much like that of  a full grown homo sapiens, not of a horse. Pretty impressive!!! 

            Joey, the horse is narrating his life story and it begins with his separation from his mother. His master turns out to be a gentle boy, Albert, who trains him as a farm horse and also rides him well. With the outbreak of World War I, the situation changes.
            Joey is sold to the army where his superior abilities attains him much respect. A new friend -- Topthorne -- comes to life. Joey's owners (first Captain Nicholls and later Trooper Warren) gets killed in the war and soon both horses find themselves in the hands of the Germans. They are used to bring the wounded back from the battlefield.
           Emilie, a little French girl, becomes their guardian while they are camped at her grandfather's farm. But the friends are soon parted as the horses are taken away to pull the artillery. Topthorne dies in the no-man's land leaving Joey run for safety. He gets wounded and in a surprising turning point in the story, a soldier from both sides come to help him. They toss a coin for the ownership and the English side wins Joey.
He is transported to the vetenary hospital nearby where he finds his Albert waiting for him. He has joined the army for the sole sake of finding his companion. Joey is nursed through difficult times and the war too gets over. Horses are auctioned in public and Albert loses Joey to Emilie's grandfather. She is dead and Joey is the last part that is associated with her memory. Hearing about Albert's devotion to the horse, the old man hands over Joey asking him to take care of him till his life's end.
Michael Morpurgo
Albert returns to his farm at Devon and marries his sweetheart. Joey says she never liked him.

--- the story is adapted for screen by Steven Spielberg in 2011 and film won six Academy Award Nominations including that of Best Picture.              

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Tantra - Adi

Date of Reading: 11/04/2013
Author: Adi
Publisher: Apeejay Stya
Place: New Delhi
Year: 2013
My Rating: 4/5

             I did have my premonitions on seeing the cover page of this book, but fortunately the story fared better. A female action figure from an Indian English fiction!!! A feast to the mind indeed. Adi has left some loose ends, but considering that a sequel is expected, we might know the answers soon.
           An obsessive sadhu using the evil tantric techniques to conquer the world is not a new story when it comes to Indian movies and regional literature. The twist here is an intermingling of East and West and the introduction of a female savior. Anu is a no-nonsense professional vampire killer and her male allies are not jealous of  her powerful reputation.The usual difference that irritates me so often when a male author writes on a girl is not even felt, but the sad part is, should we need to be brought up in America to become an enlightened heroine?
Setting could be Delhi, but as all the characters seems to be well versed in American English, this seemed unreal (where in Delhi we can find these kind of people, who can crack good Western jokes, is beyond my imagination). One reminder is the usual criticisms of India -- bad computer facilities, dirty slums, ignorance and fear. 
          Over all Adi has succeeded in maintaining a rhythm and balance, and a wise selection of characters adds to this gleam. Somewhere in the middle we might feel that his knowledge on tantra is a bit shallow, but that could be forgiven for this excellent plot. As a thriller cum spiritual reader, this is an interesting one for everyone interested in the genre. Thank you BlogAdda for giving me a free copy through your book review program. Now to the story.
            Anu Aggarwal is a professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York city. When her enemies murder her lover, Brian, she puts in for a transfer to New Delhi where she expects to find the killer.
           But things in India is more than she has bargained for. For one, her fellow operatives have made a truce with the vampires to keep a balance in the city. Now the children have started disappearing and Anu suspects vampires. Dr. Sharma, a University Professor gives another thread and she finds out the one responsible -- Baba Senaka, the renowned spiritual leader. He needs the spirits of children to store the energy he has accumulated through tantric ways.

             In order to stop this evil, Anu starts training with Dr. Sharma in sattivic way of enlightenment. On the day of Chotti Holi, the epic battle takes place. Baba has realised Anu's potential and has wanted her on his side, and with this intention he kidnaps her new friend, Gaurav. With Dr. Sharma's abilities combined with hers, Anu uses Brahma Astra and Senaka gets defeated. Sharma agrees to teach Anu the tantric techniques.

Something to Think:

"God is on everyone's side. It is up to us to tip the balance to the one we favor". -- 257

"Most people would have to be told by someone that they were special, with a unique gift that would allow them to rise above the rat race". -- 269

This review is a part of the biggest <a href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

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