THE VANISHING HALF.

Author: Brit Bennett.

Genre: Contemporary family drama, historical fiction.

Triggerwarnings: racism, domestic violence, colourism.

Rating: 4⭐

Teenage light skinned black identical twins, Desiree and Stella Vigne, elope from a small town called Mallard in Louisiana. But soon after, Stella just vanishes leaving behind nothing but a note for Desiree. Years later, Desiree returns to Mallard with her dark skinned daughter Jude, while Stella continues to live hidden as a white woman with her white husband and their daughter, Kennedy, abandoning her own family. Their lives reach a full circle when their respective daughters come face to face unintentionally threatening to unveil the lie on which Stella has built the foundation of her new life.

This is one of the best recommendations I have received. While the theme of the book is colourism, racism and domestic violence, it also highlights the prejudice of colorism within the community. It was disturbing and empowering at the same time. It shows how the colour of the skin determines a lot of aspects in the lives of the people. It talks about the extent to which black and coloured people are shunned, that they don’t mind losing their own identity in order to be accepted. Characterization by the skin colour is prominent in the story to emphasize on the affects of racism. It hovers on the idea of bigotry, ethnicity, regret and a life based on a compulsive lie.

This book is a non- linear, multi- generational story of the Vigne twins. The characters are dynamic, raw, and show their grey side of survival. I was able to get into the flow of its smooth narration easily. There is an audiobook on YouTube that you can check out.

THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY AND ANDREW: AMERICAN STONEHENGE.

Genre: Middle-grade adventure fantasy with illustrations.

Author: Mike Goldstein.

Andrew is not an ordinary dog. He is not only immortal but can also hear people’s thoughts. Born during the ancient Egypt almost 5000 yrs ago, Andrew has seen a lot. So in the present, when Jimmy, a nine year old boy adopts Andrew, their journey of thrilling escapades together begin. The moment they set eyes on each other, there is an instant connection.

Jimmy’s parents take them along on an exploration of a strange mysterious Stonehenge sighting similar to that in England. While on the way, they hear stories and together try to discover the mystery of the ancient structure. They meet strange people, decipher symbolic puzzles, protect each other from the unknown danger that only they can sense. Also, Andrew tells him fascinating stories from his past. His birth and various narrow escapes, his different companions over the time and their special bonds, his adventurous journey and the life lessons that make Andrew a wise dog. He teaches Jimmy a lot of things and guides him through his young ways.

The book seems to be a complete movie but I loved the way the author had articulated his thoughts and made this piece a worth read .

This book is brilliant. The story is gripping, full of adventure in every chapter, has easy comprehensive language and beautiful illustrations about the on going story. There is never a dull moment in the story that takes us back and forth to the important historical moments which Andrew has “witnessed”. I absolutely adored the concept and the authors vision. One of a kind with the potential to be an exciting series for the young readers, this book is a must read for every child who loves excitement and a series of colourful exploits.

EMPEROR OF SARAVAT.

Book 1: The King is dead.

Author: Manoj Shital Bhavnani

Genre: Fiction

After years of war and bloodbath, the Peninsula Continent of Saravat is finally tranquil. The five ancient counties of Saravat have signed a peace treaty and a promise to unite against the foreign invader. But what would they do if one of them turns hostile and shakes the quiet yet vigil calmness of the continent for their own ambitions? An ambition to become “The Emperor of Saravat.”

Vijendra, the king of Vajrapur, brutally kills King Giridhar of Simhasthala, their neighbouring kingdom while the crown prince Vikrant watches from afar in the battlefield. Vijendra puts forth terms in front of the now King Vikrant which puts him in a spot. Either ways he cannot escape the brunt of the decision.

Vikrant is considered a weakling for the choices he has made since childhood, an impression he carries even now. Unfazed, he takes a decision which makes his own people doubtful of his character. But is he really ‘a rabbit’ that they call him, or are they underestimating the Simhasthali King? Only time will tell!

The first book ‘The King is Dead’ of the series started with a bang, piqued my senses leaving me hungry for more. I devoured this book. Start to finish an intriguing tempo is maintained, with few interesting twists in the plot. 

A lot of thought is put into the structure of the series which will be unfolded in the coming books. Though all the characters show varied shades of grey, they are dynamic, relentless and passionate. The female characters play a very important role in this patriarchal drama and have not been shrugged of as a mere vessel. This is the story of power, strategies, lust, betrayal, revenge and redemption.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and am waiting for the next book in anticipation. Hoping to find the characters bloom to widen the plot and make it even more interesting.

“The battle is never over until the king is dead.
Though he hates to admit it, Vijendra’s words ring true.. the price must be paid. In blood.
Only one question remains.
Is he willing to pay it?”

The next book coming in 2023.

Book 1: The King is dead.

BOOK NAME: URBAN CHRONICLES II

Author: Nita Bajoria @bajorianita

Edition: Paperback.

#Targetreader: Adults, parents, guardians.

#Rating: 4 ⭐

Genre: Graphic short stories.

▪️About the book:

Urban Chronicles ll is the second book in the graphic short stories series. It has three stories that centres upon the perils of the children of urban lifestyle where parents though provide everything superficially, fail to understand the child’s psychology. It shows how parents try to over protect, over provide, over discipline and are over ambitious with their children and in that process fail to address the child’s psychological needs.

▪️ My opinion:

All the three stories have beautiful illustrations and narration is expressive. The first story slightly irked me as i felt as it justified kidnapping with no reprimand. The reason for which the young woman kidnapped a child was not acceptable. Having said that, the stories impart a wonderful message of compassion for urban parents towards their children in this fast paced, high tech, competitive world. My favourite story is ‘Three women in a boat’. It was warm and relatable. It depicts parental anxiety that is passed on to next generations. A must read graphic novel for all grown ups.

Bookname: Love Is Forever, If It’s True.

Author: Shahjad Khan.

Short story. (108 pages)


Raghav, a rich casanova, is scarred from his past. But when he falls in love with his college-mate Trisha, daughter of an orthodox middle class family, he decides to mend his ways. But soon he discovers a damning truth about her family which shatters his faith in love once again. Are they destined to be together or their love wasn’t true enough?

On the other hand, Trisha’s best friend Naisha has similar interests as Raghav’s. But when she meets Rohan, a simple boy from her college, she decides to settle down with him. But their love develops a deep crack when their faith in each other starts to dwindle.

This is a short college romance story of two couples and their journey of faith, love & heartbreak. Though the plot was good, I felt it needed editing. The narration was dry and it had a few grammatical and punctuation errors. It has drama but lacks conviction. It could be a warm story about unconditional love if it is spaced out and mildly modified

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