The Spider Cave

Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

983) Anari by Ahmed Iqbal (Part 8 of 9)

Pages: 288

Date read: Feb 2017

Date published: 2013

Part 8 is here and I read it. Sad to say this but the story declines. This part had a lot of action and that’s about it. The story does not progress at all. It is mainly about Rafeeq’s cousin Rabia. And it is full of action, if you’re a fan of action. Rafeeq has made enemies and they are attacking from left, right and centre and the whole part is spent them running around dealing with this attacks. Something tells me the next part, which will also be the last part, will be the same. There’s nothing much to be added on. Well, there is. Rafeeq could go in the politics and really make an impact on the society. We know in Pakistan if you want to do some good for the community, you get harassed. We get that. Now let’s just see if a person with so much money and power can actually do it. 

I’m gonna leave the next part till some time. I’m not abandoning it. I’m going to hopefully start ready Shikari by the same author. I did start it before but couldn’t get into it as it was a slow start but hey, I paid money for it and I’m gonna read it. 

978) Anari Part 5 of 9 by Ahmed Iqbal

image

Read: 2014 and 2015

I read this on and off. Doesn’t mean it is not interesting. I love this series. The tension between Rana and Rafeeq just keeps growing and from both sides there have been some bitterness.

We will see how things turn out.

977) The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three (Book 2 of 7)

Author: Stephen King
Date started: 30/11/15
Date Finished: 13/02/16
Read on Kindle Paperwhite
Size: 6134 locations

It took me a long time to read this. Not that it wasn’t interesting or anything but rather it was an inner struggle of kindle vs paperback. I am still getting used to reading on my Kindle Paperwhite so I had to read it in short bursts. Although, I have to say the last 12 percent I read in one go.

As you are/or not aware I am re reading The Dark Tower by Stephen King after 13 years and 13 years ago I was still learning English so I didn’t know what was going on in the book. I just kept reading for the sake of it and hoping I would understand it better. Thankfully that day had come and the Kindle vocabulary builder is so good and it helped me a lot. In this book alone I checked 80 words which I had not known the meaning of and now I am going to go through the flashcards to master them.

This book had a consistent pace which I loved. There were mini climaxes through the book and at some points it was dark and disturbing and King handled it well. You could just tell from the writing, it was more mature. The Gunslinger was just a brainstorm in my opinion, ideas scattering everywhere and thus the pace lacked and parts of it would get boring. Also there was too much back story in The Gunslinger which, for the reader, was not very appealing. King failed to create the hook to this series but as they say, read the Gunslinger one way or another and read 100 pages of The Drawing of the Three and if you still aren’t hooked then leave it. Otherwise look forward to being a tower junkie.

13 years ago the only thing I remembered in this book was whatever happens to Roland at the start of the book (keeping it spoiler free) and the air carriage encounter with Eddie. Basically Roland goes through three doors to different parts and periods of New York. Through the first door he meets Eddie Dean who is a junkie, an intelligent one at that. The second door he meets Odetta/Detta, two confused women living in one body and thirdly he meets Jack Mort who is a murdered. The three characters were interesting especially Odetta. She was my favourite. This is where you see the skill of Stephen King, how he handled such a complex character and when I say complex, I mean it that way.

I really loved the ending of The Gunslinger though. It was more satisfying answering a lot of questions and raising some too. The Drawing of the Three had good ending too but I preferred Book 1’s ending. Good book overall. Now that I’m starting to get used to Kindle, I’ll probably get to read more.

Next up is The Eyes of the Dragon.

973) The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Book 1 of 7 of The Dark Tower Series)

Read on Kindle

Size: 3384 locations

Things have advanced technology wise. The world has moved on, you can say and I am revisiting The Dark Tower. I remember when I first started reading The Gunslinger. It was 18th of December 2003 at midnight. I was listening to Radio and reading this with whatever understanding of English I had. I didn’t know English very well. I just kept reading it even if I don’t understand some of the sentence meanings. After rereading now, I found out that I have missed a lot of things.

This re read has been amazing. I did not have to fall in love with Roland all over again. I was already in love with him and he took me through the start of his journey and I enjoyed it. The first quarter of the book has a dark and perverse theme. Of magic and forbidden things. Talks of demons and supernatural.

The second quarter is about Jake and Roland. How they manage to continue the travel in pursuit of the man in black and the last quarter is when the man in black makes palaver with the gunslinger. Everything just makes so much sense and I will have a good time understanding and reading Roland’s back story in Wizard and Glass.

The only boring parts were Roland’s flashbacks. Although they were interesting, but they were dragging. Apart from that, this book is lovable if you are rereading. For the new readers, just hang in there and read these 300 pages with a bit of a salt. I assure you the awesomeness is going to start in The Drawing Of The Three. Which is up next.

518) Anari Part 4 of 9 by Ahmed Iqbal

271 pages

Read 30 and 31/8/2013

image

Rafeeq and Raja are very busy planning and plotting to free Dr Shehnaaz. They end up kidnapping Rana’s daughter (Gul) who was coming from London. Gul after knowing how cruel her father is decides to tell the court everything about her father’s crimes. Dr Shehnaaz comes back but Gul gets shot down (supposedly by her father). The welfare project inches forward a little bit but Faryal leaves and Noor Jahan is in trouble.

I had already read these episodes from suspense digest but it’s good to refresh the mind. Noor Jahan is an interesting character and I am looking forward to her.

516) Anari Part 3 of 9 by Ahmed Iqbal

Date I Read: 26/8/13 to 29/8/13

271 pages

image

As usual the plot thickens as Rafeeq gets himself involved and then as a result new enemies born. Well the old enemy just gets more wild. I’m talking about Rana.

I really enjoyed this part. It was pretty fast paced and lots of thing happen. Firstly Rafeeq gets blackmailed left right and centre because of his Uncle’s (sufi chacha) but he dies and that finishes. Then a lot happens regarding Shami Badshah. The whole Ghulam Muhammed and Shahab ud Deen story line gets solved.

Things get ugly between Faryal and Rafeeq and the reason is this one woman. Enter, Noor Jahan. She invites Rafeeq to spend nights with her and in return she gives him tips on what’s happening with his enemies.

And one person gets kidnapped and the struggle continues but problems come out of problems.

I’m starting to hate Faryal now too. She is way too possessive. The story shows and shines some light on the daaku (thieves) and ‘jarga’ system which still happens to be in place.

Rating would be 4 out of 5. It just keeps getting better.

509) Anari Part 2 of 9 by Ahmed Iqbal

272 Digest Pages

Date I Read: August 2013

Language: Urdu

image

The story of Rafeeq continues in part 2 where he has to face a lot of problems. As they say, more money more problems. And now he has a handful of both. Rafeeq’s lost ancestors had a grand castle and some land which luckily was transferred to Rafeeq as the last owner passed away. And now Rafeeq has to handle the huge task of handling all this and above all in the country of Pakistan where living is hell (well as described by the author after reading this).

In this part the story advanced really well. Iqbal put the foot on the accelerator and I have to praise him for one particular thing. He did not derail the story at all. He did not stretch the side stories too far so that the original storyline gets wiped out from the reader’s mind. Instead he kept the story in mind and increased the pace. Its true, the main storyline, you would think is how Rafeeq manages to run a whole castle and the land with it but there are problems with it and this part deals with those as well as the construction of the castle (or call it a haweli, like a mini castle).

Three main things happens in this part. One is a plot against Rafeeq by Sultan who is his enemy because of Faryal (Rafeeq’s lover now). Sultan is after Faryal because they were engaged and then Faryal did a runner and came to Rafeeq after seeing the film which Sultan directed (heroine was Faryal) flopped. Second is the emotional story of Kasoo and this opens up the main rivalry between Rana Rajab and Rafeeq. Kasoo is a servant of Rana and something happens which made Kasoo come to Rafeeq and now Rana wants him back accusing him of treason. Rafeeq, of course, do not want to give Kasoo back because he knows that Rana being cruel as he is will bury Kasoo alive. Third is a tragedy which I won’t spoil and it is very sad. The whole tone of the book changes to sad, emotional and sombre and the author handles it very well.

All the characters seem real. My favourite is Raja, a journalist and a crime reporter who has connections to the top dogs. Half of Rafeeq’s work gets done because of him. The character development is amazing in this part. I agree part 1 was a set up and there was a lot of history which I enjoyed reading too but there wasn’t much character development so the story was lacking. But in this part, the author pushed the characters through a lot and it developed them good.

I guess the main theme of this part in particular was bribery and how common it is in our culture in Pakistan. People don’t even think twice before bribing someone. You can get everything done if you show the money. You can buy a police officer or a judge. Whatever you want. It is sad to say but it is true. And people depend on each other so people are forced to take bribes and get involved. In this story there is a lot of ruthlessness involved particularly the tribal area and the nawabs who are very ruthless and backward and they would stoop to any level to get something done.

Rafeeq as a character is amazing. He is a regular guy and he is forced to work with the corrupt system. He is not a hero. Sometimes you see him struggling with things, frustrated even. And you feel for him. It is so real. I really like this aspect about it.

I can’t see anything negative about this part. Everything is in order and the story is set up for more action.

The author handles the relationships with ease. There are some ‘happy’ moments where we see the work get done in the Haweli and the security and everything. Everyone is happy and interacting with each other well. Then problems arrive and they just have to deal with it.

I would rate it 4 out of 10. Excited to read more.

442) The Wheel of Time book 14: A Memory of Light

Author : Robert Jordan

Date (I read) : 5.7.13 to 18.7.13

Length : 909 Hardback page (I read most on e book although I have the hardback)

image

Finally finally finally after six years of reading I have completed this hell of a journey. Here it is, the final volume in this gigantic series which is called The Wheel of Time. The final volume is called A Memory of Light.

First of all, let me slap those guys who say ‘the final book is rushed’. It is not. Only the rushed bit I feel was the very ending. The epilogue. There should be a bit more to it. The rest of the novel was superb. I can’t even explain it.

The whole novel was a HUGE climax to the whole series. This is where the forces of Light strike the forces of Shadow. This is it. This book is the Tarmon Gai’don.

Probably the best book I have ever read. It carries emotion in little sacks which come right at you as you turn the pages and discover something new. Perrin and Mat shone through the entire book. Rand, Aviendha, Elayne and every single body was marvellous. Even Min, haha. Egwene was the star. She stole the show. She had my heart in tears.

Very carefully written, the battle scenes were perfect. You feel like the Light was losing then some hope then lose then hope. It was a rollercoaster. I really loved it.

About the ending, I think there should have been more words on it. I would love to read what would happen to certain characters and how would events roll out. I would definitely love to read more novels in the future of it. There is always some scope for it no matter what the author says.

Overall it was an amazing experience. Really touching and emotional. I would rate it 10 out of 10. I was blown away because it passed my any expectations. Every single theory, every piece, every character fitted in the jigsaw and made this story complete.

After six years, finally I feel there is no tugging.

441) The Wheel of Time book 13: Towers of Midnight

Author : Robert Jordan

Date (I read) : 5.6.13 to 5.7.13

Length : 941 paperback pages

image

Well, one step closer. Here we are. Just one more novel to go and it has been one hell of a journey. This novel is good but compare it to The Gathering Storm, it is somewhat lacking. Obviously the whole novel is a set up to the final novel, the final battle. I could not find fault in this novel except a little bit of dragging of Perrin’s storyline. Just the first half of it but it is all good in the second half where he kicks ass.

As we all know this novel is more about Perrin than anyone else. How he masters the wolf inside himself and how he slays his one enemy. But it doesn’t make you feel that way. It makes you feel that every character has done a little bit work here. Egwene makes a progress. Rand does something incredible which is my favourite moment of the novel. Galad gets a bit and I’m started to like him. Rodel Ituralde is the man I love in this novel. He seriously made me cry. And most of all how can we forget Mat, Thom and the other guy going to the tower to save Moiraine. The whole scene was emotional and intense.

It is a good novel overall. I really loved it. The good thing about this novel is everyone gets a bit and the characters develop as well as setting it up for the big finale. I said all the same things before too so I won’t bore you now.

I would rate this novel 8 out of 10.

440) The Wheel of Time book 12: The Gathering Storm

Author : Robert Jordan

Date (I read) : 25.5.13 to 5.6.13

Length : 825 paperback pages

Duration: read in 35 hours 28 minutes over 11 sessions.

image

I finished this marvellous novel pretty quick. Why? Because it was so damn good. Every page of it. I mean it and it will be fun reviewing. And this is going to be a spoiler free review.

Well first of all nice red colour. I loved it. I wish there was some art in it as those American ones have but I like the red colour. The start was a bit slow for me. Mostly the prologue. You know how it drags. Yes. Rodel does his work and all that.

But chapter 1, it goes interesting as we take a tour of the world travelling with the wind. Some people say the events roll out too fast. Well in my opinion, it wasn’t fast because Brandon had focused on two major characters and those are Rand and Egwene. And boy did he work on them. I say Brandon has put his heart writing this. I so much enjoyed it. Even more than Jordan. I know I shouldn’t say this because it is Jordan’s creation but Brandon did a wonderful job. I’m so glad it got in the right hands. I’ll talk about it shortly.

So the story revolves around Rand trying to gather the forces of the world under a banner and kill any Forsaken if he meet them midway. His main mission is to unite the nations so his struggle continues. Then something happens in the middle and he changes completely. He becomes this icy cold man with no emotion. Even Nynaeve dare not speak to him. This particular part in the book was amazing.

But the most interesting was Egwene. Egwene, who I love the most. She is my favourite character out of the whole series. Her struggle and her passion to get the White Tower whole is so amazing. The character development is just superb. You just feel for her and then feel amazed at how much she is putting in it. A couple of specific moments will always stick in my head and in my imagination and I love that. That is Brandon’s trick. He gets the images in your head.

Now let us talk about Brandon Sanderson and his writing. I haven’t read any of his other books. I really loved his writing style. You just want to dive deep into it and it grabs you, make its way in your imagination and form these images which will stay forever. It is like you are watching a movie. I have to say that every chapter was epic in this book. Every single one of them. Even smallest events were written like very powerful and epic. Something Jordan lacked, I have to say.

Anyways this was a fun and quick read and I would rate this book 8 out of 10.