Saturday, April 30, 2011

Anything Else But Love by Ankita Chadha

Anything Else But Love is a bollywood-esque love story.

Anything Else But Love

If you're a fan of that kind of romance, then I would definitely recommend this book to fact, many of my friends have already asked to borrow this book from me. Its a classic boy-meets-girl, conflicts happens and happily-ever-after type of story, with quite a few twists and turns, drama on airports, loads of true love, a lot of misunderstandings, great supporting cast and a lot of plain old fun. The situations are really dramatized, as are the characters, which all adds to the kind of story it is. Its very clear, not every one will like this book, but people who actually do enjoy movies like Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge, or Kuch Kuch Hota Hein should definitely consider this book as it is likely to be really enjoyable for them to read. 

I think the star of this book is Avi, the main guy. He's adorable, sweet, kind, flirty and FUN, which the female lead, Shewali, the 'teacher' lacks. Also, the thing about Shewali is that's she really good-good, and traditional, and pretty, and perfect, and all those things that I wont ever be, which is why I can emphasise more with Avi, whose pain and love and family issues and flirtiness are all really well-written and not too angsty. Also, I dont like Shewali's decisions through a majority of the book, she's over-dramatized at parts and at parts she just plain acts stupid, like the end, but Avi is just a great foil for her, and he makes the whole book seem a lot better. I think Avi - and Tia (Shevali's sweet best friend), Shabeer (Avi's very sweet and serious brother), and Sonnel (Shewali's kick-ass sister), are the reason you should be reading this book. Of course by the end of the book you cant ever hate Shewali, who's very kind and gentle and all, and eventually you grow to like her too. 

A few things in the book didnt exactly agree with me - I wasnt too fond of the writing style (but then, this is a pretty personal opinion) but it didnt gel with me much, and I didnt like some scenes which were a little nuts (though honestly, in the story they were in, it made perfect sense to put them, but still...). However, what I did like was that it was a quick and zippy read, 300 + pages go  by like a breeze. Moreover, this is the kind of book that warms your heart, pushes your buttons, makes you smile, and finally go 'aww' which is a pretty fun sensation once in a while. 

Final thoughts: Anything Else But Love is about nothing else but love. A fun, sweet, bollywood-esque read, recommended for all lovers of the genre. 

Other thoughts: This is another book for the Book Reading Challenge 2011! Also, author Ankita Chadha's going to make an appearance on my blog soon. Watch this space. 

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Interview: Prem Rao

Hi, today I have on my blog Prem Rao, author of "It Cant be You" that I reviewed here a few days ago. Welcome to my blog!

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again? 
You will find heaps of thrillers and plenty of P.G.Wodehouse. I just finished “Aftertaste” by Namita Devidayal- a very interesting book about a business family in India. I have started on “More Salt Than Pepper” by Karan Thapar. The best part of P.G. Wodehouse is that you can read and re-read his books so many times. I grant we seldom do that for a thriller!

2. Tell us something about your work before "It Cant Be You"?
I was a talent management specialist and executive coach. I have worked closely with people for over 35 years. It has been my good fortune to have worked with a wide cross-section of society from manual unskilled labor to sophisticated CEOs and members of the Board. I held top management positions in companies like Wipro, Fujitsu ICIM and Bajaj Auto before I started my own HR consulting firm called People 1st Consulting which I ran for ten years.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "It Cant Be You"?
Reading Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins, James Hadley Chase and Ian Fleming, I had this dream that some day I should write a book and it should be a thriller. This urge stemmed from my days as a voracious reader during my childhood. The national Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it is popularly called gave me the impetus to write “It Can’t Be You”. As you know in this competition thousands of people from all over the world write 50,000 words of their novel in the calendar month of November. I did this successfully in November 2009. I then worked on refining this until it was published as “It Can’t Be You” in November 2010.

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?
The best thing about thrillers is that have appeal for fans across age groups. People are intrigued by suspense. They have the urge to solve mysteries. In this context, I think “It Can’t Be You” will apply to a wide range of readers. Teenagers will like it as much as their grandparents would. The book is at the intersection of two of my major interests, psychology and the military. I guess it will appeal to thosewho like these subjects too. It is set in contemporary India and has a lot of
aspects that I believe most people will be able to easily relate to.

5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life? 
I enjoy reading because it gives me new perspectives into the minds of people. This is reflected in the way characters in the book, if not the author himself/herself, think. In addition, books have always been a stress buster for me. I maintain that a few pages of P. G. Wodehouse would do you a world of good in moments of stress. Books have opened up new vistas for me; they have made me far better informed and aware than if I hadn’t been such a voracious reader. Last but not the least; they have in turn inspired me to try to entertain others with my stories.

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:

- Relationships – What you make of it

- Life – Be happy with what you have

- Human mind – Nothing is more complex

- Murder – Often the thirst for vengeance

- Books – Quality entertainment at reasonable cost

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interview: Sundip Gorai

Hi! Today I have on my blog Sundip Gorai, author of Hickory Dickory Shock, a book I reviewed yesterday. Welcome, Sundip! 

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again?
My reading interest  -  thrillers, classics,  Victorian   drama and non fiction - risk management, analytics,strategy. I am currently reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker winner -"The remains of a day". The books that I have read again and again are the complete works of Oscar Wilde, Tagore, Premchand , R L Stevenson, Wodehouse, and Alexander Dumas.

Above: A glimpse into Sundip's bookshelves. 

2. Tell us something about your work before "Hickory Dickory Shock"?
I used to write poetry and short stories during my college days at IIT, I have one unfinished work on ' Risk Management for Dummies.' I embarked on HDS in 2007 but  it  took longer than expected , mainly because of work constraints. 

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "Hickory Dickory Shock"?
Writing is a pastime. I had an unique story to tell so i wrote this book. Mu main inspiration for writing the book was that I always felt that Indian fiction has a huge vaccum in terms of well plotted dectective/espinoage fiction, and that is the reason I penned this book

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?
The book is created for a wide range of audience - mystery lovers, thriller readers, workforce of the IT Industry,those who love mathematics, romance or pure burlusque. The reader feedback suggests that it has been appealing to a broad base of readers -

5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life?

Books and movies are a great ways of unwinding (I dont watch TV). Spiritual books have made a great impact on me to believe in the path of righteousness.

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:

- Codes –  Fascinated by Ciphers 

- Life – Be in the present

- 210 (the character) – hero of my book - named so as he was born at 2:10 AM  

- Innovation –  Believe in Disruptive innovation that breaks all rules of the game.

- Books – only thing that  makes me realise I need a bigger house-:)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hickory Dickory Shock by Sundip Gorai

I think the name Hickory Dickory Shock doesnt do justice to how good this book is.

Quite honestly, on the onset, I had not expected to like this book. "A Tale For Techies" is not on my ideal reading list, and I admit to being somewhat biased. But the book itself, right from chapter 1, forced me to reconsider, and eventually I will say that this book is amazing. Its fun, its intelligent, and it is really well-written. The book is a basically a mystery set within a techno-innovation company called Shivan Computers. You learn at the very onset that things are wrong - they're cooking their books, there is something fishy about the recruitment patterns, and finally this culminates into the murder of two high-ranking officials of the company. One of the major suspects is our hero - 210 (Maninder Tuten Chatterjee, the history of whose name is as fascinating as the rest of the book) - and he must find the actual culprits of this. This is compounded by some odd ciphers that keep turning up everywhere. 

Now I'd say the very best part of this story has got to be 210. He's a great protagonist. He's fun, he's passionate about his work, and he's the kind of IIT guy who finds relationships between random data in restaurants and yet isnt getting good grades - he's nice, he's cool, and he's somewhat geeky - in short the kind of guy I would consider a great protagonist. He's also well-equipped for this sort of mission, with his extensive knowledge. His supporting cast, especially love interest Geetika ("Geeks") and his amazing mother, are all pretty good. At places, it can be hard to keep the cast in Shivan straight, since you meet them all at the same place and they have slightly similar names. In that case, keep that chapter where they are introduced bookmarked. (Trust me, as this web tangles, you'll need it.) 

The plot is refreshing and not predictable (at least not for me), the puzzles are quite interesting and have a Da Vinci-code esque way of getting you interested in the story, and the writing, as I've mentioned above, is above-average to say the least. The author definitely has a way with words and writes in a clean, simple style that makes the book really easy to read. In fact, this book is the kind of book you would love to finish in a day, because it flies forwards at a steady pace and builds up the mystery really well. The skipping of the narrative from past to present to future may not suit all readers, however, I'm quite comfortable with it so it was not a problem with me. 

Final thoughts: This review has come blazing out, because I really enjoyed the book and I could pinpoint exactly what I liked about it - good protagonist, innovative plot, and interesting writing style. A book everyone, but especially techies, will enjoy. 

Other thoughts: Will be interviewing author Sundip Gorai sometime soon, so watch this space. :) Also, this is my (I've lost count) but part of the books for the Book Reading Challenge 2011

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Cant Be You by Prem Rao

It Cant Be You is a murder mystery.

It Can't be You

The premise of this book is really interesting - I love how the plot is weaved and the story structure. The story begins with a scene where Col. Belliappa, a major character, is killed. Then we go into flashback mode and are told about the lives of three family members of his who were in his house at the time of the murder - Shefali, his daughter, Pritam, his son, and Elena, his second wife - and we are told, in the next three chapters, that all of them may have reasons to kill him. After this the story deepens into a character sketch of each of the main characters as we trace all their lives (from childhood to the point of the murder) - and each of them reveals the deepest part of their psyche in the form of first-person narratives. Finally, we get to see who committed the murder. 

I love the plot. I like the way it is, and I found the ending really shocking (it was by the character I least expected, but then my friend says I dont read enough suspense and I should always expect the one I'd never expect). I also love the characters. Actually, I dont love the characters, I just like how they've been etched, they are deep and have loads of flaws, and frankly they're all immensely unlikeable, but also really well-etched. I like how they're deep and have loads of psychological disorders (especially Col. Belliappa, but frankly you can see it in all of them) which seems to be a strong point of the author who is highly interested in Psychology. 

For me, the lows of the book are all on technical aspects. I do not like how the book doesnt use punctuation before quotes, with all text ending up like this: "I don't like this" said Character 1. This might not be a problem for most people, but for people like me, it can be very jarring. I also feel that the book involved too much telling (ie, summarziing stories) instead of showing action - which will not appeal to all readers. Also I did not find all the parts equally interesting (I'm sure most people wont) - I liked the stories of Pritam and Shefali more than the Col. and Elena, for example, but this might just be a generation gap. But even in the stories that were less appealing, some aspects, like Belliappa's relationship with Dinaz (with such chilling implications later on in the story) - and more importantly how the childhood development of the character affected later behavior - were very interesting indeed. 

Final thoughts: A deep, moving, thrilling book with an unexpcted ending. Really interesting read. 

Other thoughts: I'll be posting an interview with author Prem Rao soon. Also, this is another book for the Book Reading Challenge 2011!

(Financial disclosure: Book source is the author.) 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interview: Rashmi Kumar

And today I have on my blog Rashmi Kumar, author of "Stilettos in the Newsroom" reviewed by me here not so long ago. Welcome, Rashmi! 

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again?
 I am actually surrounded by fiction. I am a huge fan of work of fiction and that's precisely what you'd find on my bookshelf! Currently I am reading Gregory David Robert's Shantaram.  There was a time when I had started reading too many contemporary Indian authors, while that tired me soon, I decided to change my taste to books which have been popular but I could never come around to reading them,Shantaram being one of them. While I have re-read  Marquez's novella Memories of My Melancholy Whores over and over again, I was also fascinated by Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Now I definitely plan to re-read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. There is no particular reason why I have re-read these books but guess, somewhere they've connected too closely to my heart.        

2. Tell us something about your work before "Stilettos in the Newsroom"?
Interestingly, the manuscript for Stilettos in the Newsroom is technically not the first one I wrote, but it definitely is my first official book. Some 8-9 years back, I'd completed a story but when I read it again (after many years!!) I  found it extremely boring, full of flaws and totally unfit for anyone to read so I decided to dump the manuscript and work on something new, that's how Stilettos... came along. 

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "Stilettos in the Newsroom"?
Well, I always knew I had to do something with writing but wasn't sure what. There was a time when I considered joining an ad agency, but eventually ended up being a journalist. So, writing was not by default, it was a conscious decision to make a career out of it. Creative writing however, happened when a friend coaxed me into writing the first manuscript. I was too under confident to  believe that I could ever be a writer because when you say the word author, you think of someone  who belongs to a different league altogether. 
As to what inspired to me write Stilettos... Other than being a journalist, I have also been a great observer. I love to observe things so deeply that at times I surprise myself for staring at a thing too hard or thinking about a subject too deep! So I had a raging desire to share my observations about a newsroom and its myriad journalists with everyone.

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?
I thought the book would have struck a good cord with people of all age groups, but over the months, I realised that it is somehow more popular among youth. It could possibly be due to the language, and many young characters in the book. But, interestingly it has been received too well even by those who do not come from the journalistic fraternity. 

5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life?
Favourite thing about books is that it makes you look so intelligent, so intellectual, so well-informed :) But on a more serious note, books can play an important role in your life only when you seriously read them and imbibe them in your life. 
Any person can be impacted by books, that's why we all call them our best friends. Had it not been for my reading, I wouldn't have been able to write. You can never be a good writer, if you don't read enough, and the right kind of literature that helps you enhance your language, thoughts and personality!

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:

- Journalism – Be tough to survive it.

Life – Live to the fullest.

-  Struggles in love – I've had too many :)
Radhika (the character) – Beautiful and strong.

Books – Precious.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stilettos in the Newsroom by Rashmi Kumar

Stilettos in the Newsroom is an important glimpse into the journalism industry.

Its written from the perspective of a female journalist in what seems to be highly autobiographical (or perhaps that is just the way the book is written?) and tells you about the struggles that Radhika will face as she enters the tough and demanding world of journalism - office politics, power struggles, sullen bosses, back-stabbing friends, mismatches between the picture and the caption, relationship problems and a great deal of craziness - with people inside and outside the industry. It seems to be written without any pretense, there is a lot of stuff in it that is controversial - like relationships between the Press members and the people they interview, or relationships with bosses in order to get better stories. Moreover, Radhika is ambitious enough in this book to be doing just about anything to get what she wants - a big plus.

The characters in this book, aside from the main character, are according to me a little under-developed. I can hardly keep the names and places straight, most people just become one single character trait and quite a few of them don't appear very often. Even Radhika's love interest, Sameer, is a rushed character who doesnt get the screen space he deserves - after reading this book, I have trouble with knowing anything about him other than the fact that "he was a nice guy." I also failed to understand the motivations or why some of them acted the way they did, but perhaps this is a personal thing. This is one of the things I didnt particularly like about the book.

However, there were a lot of things that I did like a lot about the book. I like the 'chat-with-the-reader' style the book is written in - its a simple, fast, entertaining read and I appreciate that. I really like the 'journalism tip' of the day at the end of each chapter - its a nice conclusion to each event, some of it is hilarious, and a lot of the tips arent just limited to journalism but are rather applicable to everyone's lives. I also enjoyed how the author describes various facets of the journalism industry, they are fascinating, especially since I've never read anything in a similar vein (though perhaps I should). The book is humorous at parts, touchy at parts, and written in a no-nonsense way that makes the humor more try and the emotion less tacky, which I appreciate.

Final thoughts: An interesting book on a young's journalists struggles. Worth a read for sure.

(Come back soon to catch my interview with author Rashmi Kumar.)

Other thoughts: This is my third book for the Book Readers Challenge 2011!  Come join us, and discover a new genre...or just get an excuse to read a lot.

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Interview: Abhishek Bose

Today I have on my blog Abhishek Bose, author of Legally, Lovingly Yours, that I reviewed just yesterday. Welcome, Abhishek! 

1. I'd like to begin this interview by asking you what kind of books are there on your bookshelf? What books are you reading right now? Which genre of books do you generally read? Which books do you re-read again and again?
I would like to begin by thanking you for reviewing my book and giving me the opportunity to reach out to people. Coming to the question, you’ll generally find fiction and autobiographies on my bookshelf. In addition you may also find books on history, non-fiction, and any book that I find appealing enough to be read.
I am currently reading ‘Trapped Wings Open Sky’ by Nisha Arppit, which will be followed by ‘Avenger’ by Frederick Forsyth and ‘Anything Else But Love’ by Ankita Chadha.
As I have already said above, I like to read fiction and autobiographies, and anything the blurb of which appeals to the eye – it may be non-fiction, history, inspirational, philosophy, romance, etc
Candidly speaking, I haven’t re-read any book, but would like to read ‘Godfather’ by Mario Puzo again.

2. Tell us something about your work before "Legally, Lovingly Yours"?

Well, there’s not much to say about my work before this book. My work before “Legally, Lovingly Yours” comprised of a couple of blogs, where I used to post occasionally. But, after this book I’m planning to blog more frequently.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get into writing? What inspired you to write "Legally, Lovingly Yours"?

I did not always wanted to be a writer, though I must confess that I liked to write from a very young age. But never wrote anything fearing the outcome, and reaction of the people around me.
My getting into writing was something by chance. It was not planned. I was in Delhi where I was having a conversation with my friend about the increasing number of contemporary Indian writers. I voiced my opinion about the unavailability of a book by a law school student. She said, ‘Tum Likhna’. These two words stuck with me. Maybe you can say that these words inspired me to write, and also see whether I can write or not. And, now I can happily say that the result is in front of you.

4. What kind of people do you think this book will reach out to?

This book, though targeted towards the college going crowd, does not restrict itself to any specific category of college – like Law, Management, etc. I would be happy if people other than college going students also read this. Overall, this book is targeted and should reach out to those people who like a quick, easy, and breezy read. Being not a thick piece of fiction, people picking it up shouldn’t be a problem.

5. What is your favourite thing about books and reading? How have books made an impact on your life?

My favourite thing is that while reading a book you are transported to another world. If I’m getting bored, I pick up a book and I don’t know where time flies. A book keeps a person gripped to it and compels him to keep turning the pages. It’s not a crime to forget about all your worries, and get transported to another world for some time. That is what reading a book does, at least to me.
The biggest impact that books have had on me is that now I don’t want to stop writing, and would also continue reading as reading is something that a writer shouldn’t stop doing.

6. Quick take. Answer the following with the first words/phrase that comes to your mind, in five words or less:
Love – I have never experienced it, but would like to.

Life – You have one life, so live every moment of it. Apna har din aise jeeyo jaise ki aakhri ho.

Law – It’s a profession where you have to study throughout your life.

Lavanya (your character) – She is based on someone whom I would like to meet again, and clear out all the misunderstandings and say sorry to her.

Books – Getting bored, pick up a book, forget about your worries, and get transported into another world.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Legally, Lovingly Yours by Abhishek Bose

Legally, Lovingly Yours is exactly what it sounds like - a law college romance story.

The book is refreshing in a few ways. For one, after the Chetan Bhagat success story exploded in India, bookstores are lined by Indian authors from the IITs or the IIMs or various other engineering and management colleges all over the country, and law (which I have a soft spot for anyway) has been largely underrepresented. Moreover, the writing in this book, according to me, is a notch above the regular books it shares a bookshelf with. The writing style of the author is crisp, thankfully without any pretentious words that seem to have been put in after checking a thesaurus. The story is almost auto-biographical in nature, though I'm not sure where fact separates from fiction, the book definitely reads like it's a true story, and like its the author's love story, which is being shared here. 

The story is fairly straightforward, a guy likes a girl, and a series of misunderstandings (mostly engineered by a rival) ensue, which makes her hate him, eventually things are cleared out, and a happy ending reached. Interwoven among this is a vibrant friendship among many different students (in a group called 'diversity unified') and the depiction of a law school - with its moot courts and competitions and projects, and fresher's parties, and fun. Its a simple, clear plot - without much suspense, as the story begins with the girl introducing her parents to the parents of the guy - but with a lot of emotion, and fun, intermixed into the plotline. 

As I said before, the book is fairly well-written. At parts there seem to be details that are extraneous, like a part in the fresher's party which never seems to come back to relevance (unless I read it wrong) and that might be jarring to a reader, but on the whole the book is a quick and easy read, without many stumbling blocks. Its coherent, linear, and easy to understand even if you're not a huge fan of reading. Its also a great glimpse into the lifestyle of a law college, something that might touch a chord among many students (of law and otherwise). 

Final thoughts: Sweet love story - and a nice insight into the law school atmosphere. Oh, and come back tomorrow to see me interview author Abhishek Bose, right here on In My Bookshelves. 

Other thoughts: This is my second book for the Book Reading Challenge 2011! Come join! 

(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.) 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

List: Religion Portrayed Differently

So I've decided that the first Sunday of each month is going to be list-day, where I decide to list a few great books on a particular topic if you want something to add to your reading list. I hope you enjoy this! :)  

Today's topic is on Religion Portrayed Differently. As Edwin Lewis says, "A religion without the element of mystery would not be a religion at all", and yet most of my list tries to do exactly that - strip the element of mystery from religion, and let the chaos unleash itself on whichever world the book might be set in. Yet others on my list try to talk about the role of religion in our life - on religious conflicts that separate and unite people - and about the things that we do for religion. Not all the books in my list today are about religion, but each of them has religion as one of the major themes of the book. If you are interested in religion, and in less-than-normal portrayals of the same, it is my hope that you will enjoy this list. 

Religion Portrayed Differently

American Gods: A NovelThe Lions of al-RassanGardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen)Priestess of the White (Age of the Five Trilogy, Book 1)Lord of Light
(Note: The books are in no particular order.) 

1. American Gods (Neil Gaiman) 
Plot: In American Gods, Gaiman uses the following theme - when people go from one place to another, they take their Gods with them - and the fate of these Gods in that place depend on the belief of the people in them. In American Gods, old gods, be it from Hindu mythology or Norse mythology, must fight for their survival against the new Gods - media, internet, technology. The battleground? America. 
Why should you read it? Great metaphor, great writing, believable characters and epic scale. A book to keep you up all night reading it. 
(Read my full review here.) 
Dont believe me? Dont take my word for it. Read this review, or this one, or this one. 
Why you might not like it? Quirky writing style. You might want to read a sample first. 

American Gods: A NovelAmerican Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A NovelAmerican Gods
(Cover variants) 

2. The Lions of Al-Rassan (Guy Gavriel Kay) 
Plot: In the Lions of Al-Rassan, Kay writes about a world torn apart by a politico-religious conflict.  The novel concentrates on the relationships between the three peoples: the Kindath (based on the Jews), the Asharites (based on the Muslims), and the Jaddites (based on the Christians). In this setting, three people - Jehana, a plucky Kindath physician, Ammar, an awesome poet and mercenary, and Rodrigo, the captain of a Jaddite company - meet and start to like each other. But what happens when they are torn apart by religious and political conflicts that sorround their nations and people? The Lions of Al-Rassan will tell you. 
Why should you read it? Great characterization, touching plot, immensely powerful world-building and a writing style like poetry. Not a book to miss. 
(My full review to come soon). 
Dont believe me? Read Limyaael rant about why this book makes a good fantasy, or read this review, or this one. 
Why you may not like it? The author's style, which I describe as poetic, can also be called ponderous. There is a lot of skipping around from one place to another, which might be very annoying. 

The Lions of al-Rassan

3. Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson) 
Plot: The Gardens of the Moon is the first book in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, a series about the struggles on power on the Malazan Empire. In fact, in the first book, the Malazan Empire is basically trying to annex two remaining provinces to it - The Pale and Durjhistan. The only problem is, there are a lot more players in this game than our immediately apparent to those playing it - including a lot of meddling gods. 
Why should you read it? Cool plot, intense world-buildings and amazing characters - an epic story. 
(My full review to come soon.) 
Dont believe me? Read this review, or this one, or this one. 
Why you may not like it? Erikson is definitely a hate-him or love-him writer. He's got a really complex backstory, he throws you right in the middle of the plot from page one and expects you to swim or sink, and the book skips around a lot. It can be hard to follow and way too complex. 

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen)

4. Age of the Five Trilogy (Trudi Canavan) 
Plot: About a century after the war of the Gods, only five gods remain in the world...and they have formed their own religion, that of the Circlians. Auraya, the main character, is the newest priestess for this religion. But the loyalties of Auraya and the rest of her world are going to be sorely tested when the southern part of the continent claims to have a new religion with five new Gods - and even more with the appearance of the Wilds, old sorcerers who hate the Gods. This series raises questions about what happens when Gods live - and whether Gods can die. 
(The Age of the Five Trilogy has three books - The Priestess of the White, The Last of the Wilds, and The Voices of the Gods.)  
Why should you read it? Great characters - every character (especially the Gods) is shown to be so very human, great plot, amazing ending and very deep world building. An excellent, gritty, dark, realistic book. 
(My full review will come soon)
Dont believe me? Then read this (where it gets compared to my favorite author of all time - George R. R. Martin), or this, or this
Why you may not like it? You might not enjoy the skipping around between different points of views - as frankly I didn't like the Pentadrians or Ellaria enough to enjoy their voices. Also, the main character can get a little perfect at times and the ending may seem gimmicky and clich├ęd.

Priestess of the White (Age of the Five Trilogy, Book 1)Last of the Wilds: Age of the Five, Book 2Voice of the Gods (Age of the Five Trilogy, Book 3)

5. The Lord of the Light by Roger Zelazny
Plot: The Lord of the Light  is more science fiction than an actual book on religion, and yet, the fact remains that it makes a pretty great statement on Hinduism. In a futuristic earth, a group of colonists on earth have taken the names of the ancient Hindu gods - and rule their descendants within the framework of traditional Hindu beliefs. And to oppose them is one force - Sam (also known as the Buddha - the Enlightened One) who tries to overthrow the Gods and show their true faces to the people who they dominate. 
Why should you read it? Bold, creative, different - full of as much humor as action and as much beauty as mystery - great characters (I love the portrayal of Hindu gods as simple, erring humans, and how Zelazny recreates Hinduism). 
Dont believe me? Well, this review, and this review, and this one, quite seem to agree with me. 
Why you may not like it? Well, its a confusing, complex book, and the odd chapter structure and non-linear storyline has managed to confuse even me. 

Lord of Light


Well, thats all for today. Go read this books, or if you've read some great books that give you a new twist on religion, do share them with me and my readers! 

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