Archive for the ‘Quick Reviews’ Category

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Book : Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules Verne

Category : Classic , Science Fiction

Protagonist : Otto Lidenbrock

Summary of the book from Good Reads

As irascible scholar Professor Lidenbrock pores over a rare Icelandic tome, he discovers a scrap of parchment with cryptic writing tucked away between the ancient pages. And when his nephew, Axel, finally breaks the writing’s secret code, he learns of a hidden underground passageway that may lead deep into the center of the earth.

Despite Axel’s misgivings, he and the obsessed Lidenbrock travel to Iceland and, with a guide named Hans, set out on a perilous expedition in the course of which the trio will encounter an extraordinary new world of extinct yet living species, an underground sea, and gigantic, battling monsters.

Things I liked about this book:

This book was published in 1864 and the forward thinking Jules Verne conceptualised a plot that continues to enthrall readers of all age even to this day. It is a perfect balance of science and fiction . The fictionalization has been in everyplace accounted with facts that can at least partly explain the occurence. Writing this stuff in 1800 itself makes me wonder what kind of imagination Verne must have had.

The excitement is never-ending in this book. The well placed obstacles make it a fun reading as well as keep the story moving.

Most importantly, it was the book I read as a kid in form of Illustrated Classic. It was my first book in that series and has always remained a favourite. I really wanted to read the unabridged form but never got a chance until I landed up participating in the Classics Challenge 🙂

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This is the cover of my Illustrated Classic version of the book  [Googled for the image 🙂 ]

Things I disliked about the book : None

On my rating scale :4 out of 5

Challenges for which the book is listed : Classics Challenge 2009

Fill In The Gaps 100 Project

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Book: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Category : Science Fiction , Young Adult

Protagonists : Miranda

Summary of the book : When a meteor collision on the surface of the moon puts it in an orbit closer to earth, life on earth is never the same again. The shift in the moon’s orbit leads to catastrophic calamities on earth. Miranda,our narrator through her journal entries gives a peek into her life during that period starting from a time when everything was normal .A carefree  teenager  gets transformed into a struggler for survival against nature’s fury. Everyday brings forth new problems ,those of food shortage , health issues and depression. A story of how a single event can turn our life upside down , the unpreparedness and how will people cope with it forms the crux of this wonderfully written book.

Things I liked about this book:

The style of writing in form journal entries. Reading it in a different form would have just been like an account of what calamities occurred and who died and description of all that, thus making it a more difficult read. But this style  gives us a look in to this teenager’s mind .A mind full of doubts and questions. Doubt as to whether they will have a tomorrow or is this the last daylight . A mind that should have been preoccupied with high school gossip, boys, dresses .A mind which is now  forced to think of saving food so that they have enough for the days to come.Miranda’s transformation is seen as you reach her final entries.She is more mature , she more determined and most importantly she is more hopeful .Hopeful of a life in these difficult times.
Things I disliked about the book :

I can’t say I disliked anything  in it but it did scare me a little . I have always been scared of watching  movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon . Good thing about this book was that , it was  more about Miranda’s  survival rather than the meteor strike or the calamities. The collision was used as an instrument to tell us their story.

On my rating scale : 4.5 out of 5

I must thank Tricia for bringing this book to my notice by her wonderful review.

Challenges for which the book is listed : None

Source : Library

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Book: Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Category : Historical Fiction

Protagonists : Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (Mutny)

Summary of the book : from Good Reads

The sweeping story of a powerful Egyptian family, Nefertiti: A Novel tells the tale of two sisters, the first of whom is destined to rule as one of history’s most fascinating queens.

Beautiful Nefertiti and her sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised far from the court of their aunt, the Queen of Egypt. But when the Pharaoh of Egypt dies, their father’s power play makes Nefertiti wife to the new and impetuous king. It is hoped she will temper King Amunhotep’s desire to overturn Egypt’s religion, but the ambitious Nefertiti encourages Amunhotep’s outrageous plans instead, winning the adoration of the people while making powerful enemies at court. Younger yet more prudent, Mutnodjmet is her sister’s sole confidant, and only she knows to what lengths Nefertiti will go for a child to replace the son of Amunhotep’s first wife.

As King Amunhotep’s commands become more extravagant, he and Nefertiti ostracize the army, clergy, and Egypt’s most powerful allies. Then, when Mutnodjmet begins a dangerous affair with a general, she sees how tenuous her situation is at her own sister’s court. An epic story that resurrects ancient Egypt in vivid detail, Nefertiti: A Novel:

Things I liked about this book:

Michelle Moran’s imaginative narrative is the best  part of the book. It is also good that she choses Mutny and not Nefertiti herself to tell the tale. As a silent onlooker of the troubled times of Egypt she is  very believable character and a vivid describer of events that unfold.

Secondly , the sisters characters are very well written. The sharp contrast among them is the highlight of the book. One wants immortal fame , power , supremacy while all the younger one needs  is a quite life and someone to love.  The Other Boleyn Girl do I hearing you saying that? 🙂  If you liked that one you will love Nefertiti.

Thirdly , in a book with such strong female presence Moran hasn’t forgotten to give us an insight into the mind of the Pharoah Amunhotep. We see a monarch with complex mental make up in matters of state as well as his family.

Things I disliked about the book : None

On my rating scale : 5 out of 5

I have read selected books in Historical Fiction genre and I know if there one author whom I would like to read again ,it would be Michelle Moran. I have her other book The Heretic Queen on hold in the library.

Challenges for which the book is listed : None

Source : Personal Copy

Lots and lots  of reviews  are pending (last count 25 ) and I needed a way to  get the job done , so I thought of this method. I had seen this format being used by Jenners in a  meme . I modified it a little to suit my reviews and here’s the result.

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Book: Silas Marner by George Eliot

Category : Classic

Protagonist : Silas marner

Summary of the book : Silas Marner , a wrongly accused  weaver makes a new home for himself at Raveloe   and comes to acquire a small fortune which he guards very dearly. When he gets robbed of his treasure he feels that nothing good can ever happen in his life. Until a little girl with golden hair ends up on his door step. The girl whom he names Eppie becomes the centre of his life only to be brought face to face with a reality that  threatens to take Eppie out of his life.

Things I liked about this book:

The idyllic life of Raveloe and the daily musings of the inhabitants has been captured in a heart warming way by Eliot.

Silas’s love for his daughter Eppie and his transformation from a loner to an active member in the community.

Things I disliked about the book : Nothing in particular

On my rating scale :4.5 to 5

I wish I had read this book long time back as it was a pleasant change to read something with a slow pace and characters so real that you can actually imagine them going about their jobs in that fashion.

Challenges for which the book is listed : Classics Challenge 2009

Fill In The Gaps 100 Project