Warjuna – Book Review

What can I say about this book? This book totally surprised me. I judged the book by its title and thought it would be just another retelling of Mahabharat or The life of Arjuna. I was wrong. This is entirely different story. Author has borrowed a few characters and their characteristics from the Mahabharat epic. The rest is a story which you can imagine to take place 1000-1500 years back.

The central character of the story is Arjuna, Prince of a kingdom Wagharr somewhere in the North West of Bharat. It is a small kingdom that belongs to Kingdom of Avanti. But they are not obliged to pay taxes to Avanti as Wagharr supplies mercenaries and soldiers to Avanti. Wagharr is supposed to be protected by the Shield of Hanuman. On a tragic day, Kingdom of Wagharr is attacked by a mysterious enemy name Hayacree. While fighting against Hayacree, Arjuna was given the task to move women and children’s to a safe place. This journey outside his kingdom changes his destiny. Or maybe, walks him towards his destiny.

The Pros:
The story, writing, characterization is captivating and keeps you glued to the book. Arjuna goes through a transformation from first chapter to the last chapter. He is almost a different character at the end of the book. The descriptions of different states, their capitals, their palaces makes it easy to visualize. The are not many fight sequences in this book in spite of it being a warrior story. But there is a lot of strategy and politics. which I feel hold key to the kingdoms.The fantasy elements are very well blended and not overdone.

The Cons:
Names. I don’t understand why they have to be so difficult. The author wanted to differentiate the story from the epic but he went too far with the names. You can hardly remember characters going from one chapter to another. I had turn pages back to lookup for the role of characters to understand. Second is some characters are introduced very abruptly. They jump in front of you out of nowhere and they are supposed to be major players in the story. Kamsa and Draupadi for example. Lastly, There is a history of kingdoms which has been provided at the end. This should have been the first chapter to make it easy to understand the story. If you want to read this book, Go through this history first.

All in all, This is well written book and totally worth your time. The last chapter has enough suspense to make you wait for the next book in this series.

A Man Called Ove

“Sonja said once that to understand men like Ove and Rune, one had to understand from the very beginning that they were men caught in the wrong time. Men who only required a few simple things from life, she said. A roof over their heads, a quiet street, the right make of car, and a woman to be faithful to. A job where you had a proper function. A house where things broke at regular intervals, so you always had something to tinker with.”

I couldn’t start with anything else to review this book. This one paragraph pretty much sums up those two characters. Whatever they do in this book, good or bad, it’s because of this. One peculiar thing about Ove is that he never liked someone. He just disliked a little less. 

This book is a love story. A story about friends. A story about neighbors. A story about how simple things matter in life and how they shape up ones life. It’s a story about a man called Ove and his wife Sonja. Their love story forms the crux of this book. It spread in between the chapters and not continuous. Because of this, Every other chapter, I had to pause. Those words choked me and flooded my eyes. It breaks your heart. The very next chapter made me go ROFL. A roller-coaster ride which ends somewhere in the second last chapter. 

I tried to find flaws in this book. I couldn’t. Maybe because of the love story I overlooked them. Maybe it’s really well written. The characters in this book are weird and crazy. Ove will remind you of a Pixar movie “Up” and a TV show “Monk”. The Others easily stand out from the crowd. Their craziness, their foolishness, their stupidity, their love keeps you engrossed in the story. You wish that such characters were around you.

I wished there was more. More of Ove.