9 June 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Ravan's Trial- The Naraka Cycle : Book 1 by Sundar Nathan (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

2097th BLOG POST

4th Book of 2024


Well, I have finally read my first proper fiction this year and as my interest goes, I always pick either a romantic/character-based story or a mythological fiction. This time, I chose the latter considering that it has been long since I have picked this genre. On this weekend, I completed reading “Ravan’s Trial” written by Sundar Nathan in around 200-odd pages. This is Book 1 of the trilogy named “The Naraka Cycle”. I am glad the way author has kept this book a short-read which helps you go through the book in 2-3 sittings itself.


The book talks about its protagonist, Ravan, in detail. All of us know Ravan mainly from his old age when he appears for the 1st time in Ramayan during Sita-abduction scene. Author tries to help us understand Ravan’s teenage year through this story. It helps us learn the becoming of Ravan into one of the biggest negative characters in our Hindu mythology. The book describes about his trial of 7 days in Aranya jungle which is supposedly believed to be tough for anyone to go through. Author prominently describes each day with separate headers to make us understand the curve of his experience with every passing day.


To the reader’s surprise, more than physical challenge, this turns out to be a mental game for Ravan. He goes through multiple emotional breakdowns. Ravan has to go through this pain which starts preparing him into a strong character. It is great to read this section of the story as it tells us about Ravan’s vulnerabilities through the emotional challenges that he goes through. Even after he returns back from the trial to his kingdom, the new-found facts about his family doesn’t let him be a steady person. His arc of character keeps on shifting its base with every chapter.


Along with Ravan, author has also given a good space to his siblings, Surpanakha and Kumbhkaran. The sibling love and care for each other is beautifully portrayed and reading these scenes makes you feel fresh as it gives a completely new perspective about Ravan’s life. The book also takes a spiritual tone as it’s not only about the revelation of past and truth but also about Ravan’s self-discovery and realization of many facts which were always around him.


I liked the Sanskrit shlokas that kept coming in between the story along with their translation. The geographical map of the contemporary time with the story helps you understand the travel of the characters based on the timeline. All the negative communities that we heard are brought together in some manner in this book such as Nagas, Asuras, Rakshasa, Kinaras etc. Their relationship among themselves makes the story development more exciting and mysterious.


The climax has an open ending to take us ahead with the Book 2 of the trilogy later on. The segment where it ends is nicely executed by the author as it keeps the excitement up for the next part. Author’s writing style is easy to read as he is able to blend philosophy, religion, history, geography, mystery, thriller etc. with the story seamlessly.


You won’t get overwhelmed with the kind of imaginative set-up the story has. It’s just that the initial part of the story is tough to comprehend due to its slow-pace narration. It becomes boring at several times. Similarly, I feel author should write in a bit more modern conversational tone to make it an easy read for the readers. Overall, the book is a fine read and I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.






4 June 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

The Mystery of The Missing Dog - Snowy by Swati Sinha/Sachi Shukla (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

2096th BLOG POST

3rd Book of 2024!


The days of childhood when I used to read comics and children’s books are back for me. For a change, I got my hands on the books published for children these days, and I thought of trying them to understand how are they written for these Gen-Z kids. As always, I chose the books published by Sonalika Publications with no doubts and purchased 6 of them from Amazon. I know it might sound a bit strange for someone at the age of 34 reading books meant for school kids. Haha! But then a reader within me wanted to explore this section of books and live in nostalgia for a bit. I just finished reading the 1st book of these 6 named “The Mystery of the Missing Dog- Snowy” written by Swati Sinha.


I think not mentioning the name of the illustrator at this very moment would be an injustice, as this book is incomplete without Sachi Shukla’s illustrations, which bring life to the story. The cover page and title of the book themselves are attractive enough for anyone to pick it up for their child. Even children would get attracted to it. This 44-page book is simply a delightful experience to read. The way the whole book is designed with art and text over it makes you feel that you are in the same world as the story itself.


The author talks about the story where a dog has gone missing in a society, after which the team of Super 5 is called upon for the investigation. This team of 5 consists of 12-year-old kids, but despite their age, they are known to investigate things and provide the results. Their introduction part with the society president is so interesting to read, where the names of every child are related to their personality traits. Similarly, making it in the form of a riddle tickles readers’ curiosity and makes the book much more interactive.


The story also tries to teach children compassion for animals. From my experience, I can say that this sort of attempt to foster constructive and sensible engagements between children and others is completely in line with the publications’ objectives. The way emotions portrayed by children are conveyed makes you feel as if you are around them, observing everything. The book also tries to provide insights into different occupations, such as society president, policeman, etc. At the end of the chapter, there’s another exercise where more professions are represented with animated characters, expecting readers to identify them.


Similarly, there are other exercises at the end of the book that will definitely help children develop their skills. All the good vocabulary used in the story, along with their meanings, are also mentioned in the end, signifying its intention of helping young readers learn new words and use them in their daily interactions. The kind of thrilling angle given to the story also makes it exciting as well. Even as an adult, when I was reading it, I never felt it was childish or boring. I think doing that is not an easy task.


Overall, this is a perfect book to gift to your younger ones. I recommend it to everyone. I give the book 4.5 stars out of 5.





2 June 2024 | By: Writing Buddha

Slower But Not Over by Paritosh Sontakke (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

2095th BLOG POST

2nd Book of 2024


This year has been like no other year in terms of my reading journey. We have entered 6th month and I have just finished reading the 2nd book of the year. It’s enough evident that I was going through some testing times and thankfully, the book I picked up has been a self-help book with lots of amazing insights and valuable guidance. Paritosh Sontakke’s “Slower But Not Over” is his first book which has been published in around 300 pages. While reading, you shall never be able to judge that he is a first-time author as his intent and clarity towards every topic that he talks about is very focused and on-point.


The book “Slower But Not Over” is very intelligently divided into 32 chapters where each of them is for around 10 pages which makes it easy for a reader to follow through the book even with multiple sittings. I completed this book with very slow pace in around a month and I was never confused regarding where did I leave it last. It has been executed very well ensuring that readers enjoy the book as and when they pick it up. This book is one of the perfect selections for your coffee table. One can even choose to read it in non-linear manner i.e. reading any chapter you want.


Author talks about very important elements that can help us make our lives happy, easy-going, positive, growth-oriented and spiritual. I liked how author started the book explaining about his background so that we can understand the mindset from which the book has been written. After giving a context on his middle-class upbringing and then his motivation towards doing something bigger and better in life, he followed certain books and advices which helped him achieve his goals. The whole book is then based upon the same where it includes author’s version on different self-help topics along with knowledge shared by other esteemed personalities.


The book consists of topics such as Rejection, Self-belief, aspirations, Leadership, Investment, Health, Integrity, Ego, Discipline, Courage, Focus etc. Author has nicely narrated many topics in terms of his own life experiences, his friend’s examples or by sharing a life incident of a popular figure. Apart from this, every chapter consists of a section named “Life Nuggets” which has multiple one-liners or quotes related to the topic which further stems the concept and its importance in the minds of the readers. To ensure that readers doesn’t end up reading and forgetting the principles, author has also added an exercise lesson in the end which consists of few questions and also spaces for us to write our answers which helps us in understanding how to apply those concepts in our life.


As I was currently going through a tough phase in my job, I was able to relate with the chapter in which author nicely describes the difference between a boss and leader with multiple illustrations and explanations. I was also able to learn so much through Pareto principle which author has gone ahead and explained the same with multiple examples of 20:80 rule.


Paritosh has provided very great and relevant tips on how to maintain good health where he has written everything that can be executed at the ground level. His narrative and seriousness while writing that chapter helps us understand the cruciality and importance of keeping good health. His perspective on how good health gives us hope which is the biggest thing for anyone to move ahead with life helped me understand that it’s not only about fitness but a mindset as well.


I have always been very clear and open about one of the major concerns of ego in my attitude towards relationships. Author has compiled such quotes on Ego on a chapter dedicated to this issue that each of them were extremely effective and moved me much; ending me taking screenshot of the same for referring it as a daily reminder and shredding it as soon as possible.


In another chapter “Encouragement”, author shares words spoken by one of his acquaintances, Darrel, which speaks about Passion. That one paragraph is enough for anyone to understand why self-motivation is necessary. As mentioned above, author shares real life stories of personalities like Abraham Lincoln, Rowan Atkinson, Colonel Sanders, Michael Jackson etc. reading which makes the book more interesting as we get to know about such inspirational accounts which excites us to augment our own life.


Overall, Paritosh Sontakke’s first book is a perfect go-back book whenever you need motivation in life. It has caliber to bring a lost person back on the track. It is also a book that you can blindly gift to anyone. It is for people of all ages and background. I recommend the book to everyone. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.