Category Archives: Writer’s Melon

My Father Is a Hero – A Review

My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik

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The story

Vaibhav Kulkarni is a single father to a bright young daughter, Nisha. She is ten-years-old, an ace student, a star singer and also helpful, smart and thoughtful.

Then on the day of her birthday something happens that changes her. She loses interest in everything – school, studies, music, friends. Despite Vaibhav’s repeated attempts to unravel the mystery behind Nisha’s listlessness as also his attempts to cheer her, things continue to spiral downwards.

In a desperate attempt to find his daughter’s happiness Vaibhav goes all out to fulfil her dearest dream.

What I thought

To begin with I loved the cover, though the girl looks much younger than a-ten-year old and that bag doesn’t look like it could belong to a ten-year-old either, but I will ignore that. I do love books on relationships and a father-daughter connect is a wonderful peg. That was what made me reach out for this one.

However, that was the only good thing about the book. My biggest grouse was that the entire father-daughter relationship revolved around ‘sacrifice’. Every incident and every conversation steers around and focusses again and again on how much Vaibhav is sacrificing for his daughter, how his life revolves around Nisha and her achievements.

That got really tiresome. Sacrifice is such an overrated virtue, anyway, specially when such a big deal is made of it. I kept looking for the fun in their relationship and warmth and tenderness. All I found was more sacrifice and duty and responsibility. It bothered me that there seemed very little happiness in the Kulkarni household.

What’s worse Nisha seems terribly aware of all that her father was doing for her. Despite all her virtues she didn’t endear herself to me.  She’s much too good. Not only does she top each exam, she also wins the music competition every year. She manages her assignments on her own, goes for music classes on her own then waits dutifully for her father to pick her up. Despite never having been abroad she manages to negotiate the streets and find her way all on her own.

Where do they make children like Nisha?

There’s nothing of a ten-year-old in her. She mothers her father. She makes him blush when she tells him of her teacher’s crush on him. And yet she cannot tell him what she truly wants. Sample this: Vaibhav asks her, ‘Nisha did you want this party to be organised in the farmhouse?’ She chose her words carefully in order that they revealed nothing about what she wanted. ‘It was not my idea.’ And conveniently enough Vaibhav can’t see through her response. That irked me – the fact that there was no true closeness between the father and daughter.

The climax did a little to lift the story but seemed contrived and unreal. I am almost sorry to say I didn’t enjoy the book. The idea it began with had been so wonderful.

Last thought: Sadly enough, this could be given a miss.

PS: Do ten-year-olds colour their hair? And call their classmates ‘hot’? With two ten-year-olds in my house, I sure hope not.

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Writers Melon in return for an honest and unbiased review.

The Devil’s Prayer – A Review

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias

I picked up this book because it promised to be a thriller with a dose of history and religion – a mix I have come to enjoy since I got hooked onto read Dan Brown’s books. It doesn’t disappoint.

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But first

The story…

The Devil’s Prayer opens with the suicide of Sister Benedictine before thousands of revellers. It is revealed that six years ago she had disappeared from her home to become a nun. News of her suicide reaches her family in Australia. Her daughters, Siobhan and Jess, and her mother Edith are devastated. 23-year-old Siobhan is most affected. In search of closure she decides to go to the monastery in Spain where her mum Denise had lived as Sister Benedectine.

She is surprised at the less than hospitable welcome she receives. Despite being advised to go back she stays long enough to find her mum’s confession. As she starts reading it she is intrigued and then shocked. Even as she is going through the confession she realises that she is being followed by some extremist monks. With no clue what the monks want from her Siobhan makes her roller-coaster way across Europe to reach the sanctuary of home.

At the end of the confession her mum entrusts Siobhan with a task which, if not completed, could destroy the world.

What I liked

It is hard to categorise this book. All I will say is that it is an interesting melange of history and religion with some super natural element thrown in for good measure. There is also a revenge saga that forms a large part of the story.

It is most definitely a fast paced thriller and keeps you at hooked. There is enough intrigue and plenty of twists and turns through the narrative to keep you turning the pages. As you follow Denise’s confession along with Siobhan you are by turns surprised, saddened and shocked. Without adding spoilers all I’ll say is that Denise’s desperation and her unhappy compromise were well written. Finally the deal she strikes and the deception come as a surprise.

I loved the way the plot integrated the super-natural into Denise’s story.

What I didn’t like

The violence in the book is brutal and gory. I couldn’t read through some of it and ended up skipping the worst parts. Also, the religious explanations get complicated at places and I lost the plot in bits.

I found some of the characters very stereotypical but they were side characters so one could let them be.

Then there’s the supernatural element which might not cut water with many readers. Some of it is improbable and requires you to stretch your imagination but then that’s what the super-natural is supposed to do. Personally, I liked it.

The worst thing about the book, however, was that it ended just at the most compelling part. There simply HAS to be a sequel.

My verdict: Go for it.

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Writers Melon in return for an honest and unbiased review.