Monday, December 5, 2011

My First Book Review: The Iron Tooth

When Blogadda selected me to review this book, I was super excited. Two reasons:
1. I love fiction and fantasy related stories
2. I've never reviewed a book.... EVER!

I mean there was this time during school where we had a reading period to read the books at the library and then talk about in in front of the class; which gave yours truly a shiver down the spine.
Before I start digressing, lets get down to brass tacks :

I am reviewing the book

*drumroll please*

"The Iron Tooth" authored by "Prithvin Rajendran"
First thought when I received the book through BlogAdda's program was 'Yipppeeeeee! a FREE book !' :P
Second thought: Its a signed copy from the Author himself. Another of the firsts!
And then saw the pretty cover of the book -

Very medieval, archaical feel to the whole book. A brave Knight in shining armour and a beautiful Princess...
I was elated at the thought of a perfectly weaved story of magical creatures and mysteries. Classified under children and teens category of books, its bound to be picked up and read; proof being two of my friend's nieces were intrigued and flipped through the book as it lay idle.

The beginning page of the book has inscribed symbols on it which works with the book's whole magical theme. The mystery of the symbols is revealed the latter pages of the book as the alphabets of Nivthrip a language that the Baks, elite soldiers who patrolled Faerum's castle understand and are communicated with. (While reading the book, I had an Eureka moment-If you noticed, Nivthrip is an anagram of the author's first name)

I felt the book's prologue captivates you right from the beginning. Starts with the girl's story of how she was thrown out of her home for being pregnant whilst unmarried. She seeks refuge from her mother's sister but not for long as an unruly mob demanded her to be dead. However, perturbed by the reactions all around, she leaves the country of Sumrak and eventually settles as the foot of the Mala mountains. She goes into labour and delivers: one baby and another a Troll !

Coming to the beginning chapters, it starts regarding the mighty King Dashtum and his Kingdom of Dashter. Dashtum marries a beautiful commoner Frisix and has a son Darum. After King Dashtum passes away, Darum falls in evil ways so much that so that he ignored the castle courtier Elinix's warnings and threw him out of the castle. Then the story talks about King Darum's daughter Princess Nova's foolishness. Too proud of her beauty, she rejects proposals for her marriage and insults and offends the powerful Emperor Faerum of Fallix for his mole. King Darum pleads to Emperor Faerum  for Princess Nova's forgiveness but is unsuccessful.

Next the story dives into the land of Fallix and Emperor Faerum's "alliance" with the Vampires and the Medusas which gives Faerum complete control over them.

Emperor Faerum summons the six spell-casters who have different magical powers from different lands forged into a trust called Trust of Seven. Philipisa from Espagnax, Henroya of Francaix, Ranfus of Italax, Schujake from Germagnax, Vajarka from Portugalax and Rekakov from Hoglandava. (Not really brilliant with the name creation: Italax for Italy, Philipisa for Philip).
The whole idea behind the trust was to put a curse on the Kingdom of Dashter by seeking the help of the immortal the Custodian of the First Light. The curse keeps Princess Nova isolated in her tower surrounded by Zombies and the Kingdom of Dashter bares a sea of gloom. Darum pleads for forgiveness from the Custodian of the First Light but commits suicide in vain.

Kingdom of Greatix is described further in the book. The author has drawn maps in the end pages to help visualize the Kingdoms and their neighbours which guides the reader. Grantum rules over Greatix which has twelve towns out of which story focuses on the town named Ballos. Author now focuses on the inhabitant of Ballos' Ushix's three sons namely Lasixx, Enwixx, and the youngest of them all Princix. The three brothers set out of Ballos to seek their fortune. On their path the the brothers come face to face with magical creatures, combat them with some magic and seek their fortune and Lasixx and Enwixx leave with their fortune. Princixx ventures forth and receives powerful and magical gifts : two wooden sticks, armoued plate and rusted helmet, a mace and a glove.The tale of the brothers' journey is perhaps a resemblance to a old  fable, a name I cannot recall at the moment.
Further in the story Princixx competes in a contest and completes the tasks by battling various magical creatures. I felt the description of the battle and the following are well written however it's an uncanny reminder me of Rowling's genius work in Goblet of Fire with the Trolls, Maze and the Sphinx's riddle.

The story continues with Princixx's journey with Hammil and Candelbre as the Group of Three meeting other magical creatures not mentioned till now - ogre, dwarf, owl, octopus, locust. The author also describes his real life event enveloped into the Chapter 12.

Overall Review:
The Chapters are smaller than usual to my liking but one can flip through them easily. What I found was the storytelling initially lacks smooth flow. What bound the chapters was the italicized raw poetic verses, however, some chapters were full of them which wasn't really necessary. The archaic English is used in the initial chapters for communication between the characters but suddenly disappears in the further chapters. The plot is okayish with the use of maps and abundance of characters, some unwanted.
Overall I think if the targeted readers love the whole idea of a story woven with Fantasy and Magic then they're bound to like it, albeit with some patient reading, if not give it a clear miss.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

C.I.D 101

"Ab jail mein baithke chakki pisoo"
"Dayaa, darwaaza todd do"

You think I've lost my marbles? Well, not completely...only that I am talking about C.I.D, Indian Telly's home grown C.S.I for over 10 years
To introduce you to the world of Crime and Punishment.. I'll let my friend, writer Adaalat and C.I.D. superfan Ani do the talking er... blogging in this post (I hope my dear readers miss me :P)

"Television today is abuzz with reality shows like swayamvars, (Big)bossing over fellow colleagues to gain quick and cheap publicity in order to revive fading careers and daily soaps having disputes over “jaydaad” so that real beta gets control of the property while the “sautela” beta gets kicked in the backside. And yes, if you want to laugh out loud then you have comedy shows on the platter as well – comedy artistes cracking jokes on celebs or on the judges themselves – most of the time the jokes being too embarrassing to hear in front of mummy and papa. The daily soaps depict women who are at the extreme edge of being wicked and go to the maximum extent possible to be cruel to those who come in their “career” goal of being the most influential member of the clan. They just know to dress well even in their homes and are at their best even when going to bed….wow…as i wonder, is this the reality?

Now again coming back to the main issue – crime is being depicted in the most comical way in our television world. This can be to some extent funny and to some people it’s totally absurd and doesn’t impress them at all. There are TV shows that come and go like the monsoon. However, there are some shows that have come to stay – not just on the television but in the minds of the people and they have such a huge impact that you will find people who have grown up watching these kind of shows. No wonder, CID on Sony is one hell of a show I have grown up watching right since my school days.

The entire concept based on a fact that the police does not exist at all and all the criminal cases are handled by the CID – a centralized way of handling the cases. Well, the team comprises ACP Pradyuman, Sr. Insp. Abhijeet, Sr. Insp. Daya (Slapmaster Daya), Insp. Fredricks, Insp. Vivek, Insp. Kajal, Insp. Sachin and Insp. Poorvi. Not to forget the Einstein of the entire team – Dr. Salunkhe – the greatest forensic scientist on the face of the planet (jo laash se bhi sawal jawab kar sakta hai) and his assistant Dr. Tarika. These people operate from their head office which is a huge building in Mumbai just for the above people – efficient fixed asset utilization as I call it. If anyone is familiar with the location, the location is none other than the area in front of Inorbit mall Malad!!
The team is responsible for handling any emergency and they come to the rescue of the citizens when they receive a call from a person in distress or a vigilant citizen (all they have to say is “mai CID ko phone karta hoon” ) and here they come in their trusted Qualis vehicle which they have been using through these years. Their entry is a typical one with a screeching noise of the brakes (screeeeeech!!!!) and they come out of the vehicle one after the other!!

The show catches on your attention right from the beginning with ACP having his typical style of inquiring the suspects with his thumb, index finger and middle finger rotating clockwise and anticlockwise at great speed (ye khoon kiya to kiya kisne???) People are still puzzled that he is still ACP all these years…but let me tell you one thing – if you really want to enjoy the show, then switch off your conventional way of thinking and JUST WATCH!!! The case usually begins with the CID team enjoying in the CID bureau cracking jokes on Fredricks or talking about some funny incident until they receive a call from someone. The team looks out for some evidences at the crime scene and they take it all to the forensic lab where Dr. Salunkhe is all set to give all a mystical experience of his knowledge of science and technology. The computers in his lab are faster than most supercomputers IBM has made and are so efficient that they can work without an operating system. The computers can regenerate original faces from tonsured ones within seconds and the CID database is always updated with the photograph, fingerprints and criminal history of each and every “mujrim” in town who is the probable murderer. 

Even the CIA or the NATO must not be having such a database. I suppose they must take a cue from CID!! Many times the death of a person occurs due to some poison (which mostly comes from snakes and spiders in Australia, Africa or Amazon basin) the names of the chemicals causing the death are also hilarious – like Venericoccium Diabasium, Tetraminta and many such authentic names that even Google does not return relevant results. Err…. sorry…did I say Google?? It’s not GOOGLE, its KOOGLE – a high tech search engine used in the CID lab to search virtually any information about any object or person on this planet. A face recognition technology machine can also match the skull with the actual photograph of the person to check if he is the same person or not – it’s a latest face detection technology which makes Nikon and Canon jealous. Oh Yes – how can I forget this? The team can zoom in to a blurred image captured by CCTV footage and obtain a clear picture of the gumnaam aadmi (ye to khooni hai!!!) So powerful is the zoom that it renders all the latest digital cameras useless.

The death can also occur due to some fishbone or “chuhe ka baal” stuck in the esophagus or due to some “zehreeli “gas whose chemical composition is not known to anyone – even Wikipedia. Only Salunkhe and his team possess the necessary competency to crack complex chemical compounds!!! I remember one case in which Salunkhe determines the brand of the nail polish found on the fingernails of a laash just by looking at it under a microscope!! According to Salunkhe, the chemical composition of the nail polish belonged to only one particular company. That’s the most hilarious way of recognizing a brand!!  I also remember one case where the murder was done using an electronic “makkhi” which was nothing but a great piece of innovation which would make Steve Jobs jealous. It was a honey bee like robot which can be operated by remote control. The “zeher” was injected with the help of a sting implanted in the robot. Isse khooni darwaja band hone ke bawajood khoon karke bhaag sakta hai!!! Aur kisiko kano kaan khabar tak nahi hogi!! The CID team also possesses a special spray which sprayed on any object having traces of blood on it; it shows a characteristic color on the object indicating that “is cheez par to khoon laga hua hai!!” And if you think that you will escape the long arm of the CID then you are wrong. You better be careful because the spray works even when the blood is wiped off from the object!!! Based on all these scientific evidences, and enquiring the suspects and eye witnesses, the team narrows down their search on an individual – mostly a close relative or friend of the deceased.

The team also has the capability of zeroing down to just one paanwala or a kirana shop amongst thousands present in the city in search of the suspect!! And there is something more to this – the kirana shop owner maintains a record of his customers and provides a pucca bill for every purchase made!! This enables the CID team to track down the suspect even if they just have an invoice of the purchased merchandise they come across while looking out for clues!!! The tasks involving heavy physical work is handled effortlessly by Daya – who is an expert in breaking doors of any apartment where the resident does not open the door purposely or there is no one in the house (probably a “laash” may be found in the apartment in such circumstances). ACP orders “Daya…darwaza tod do!!” and there you have Daya breaking the strongest of the doors by a push from his shoulders and the door gives way for the entire team!! If you watch it regularly, you will observe that the one who tends to give the maximum possible “gawaahi” and who is saddened the most by the death of the victim emerges “khooni” in the end!! The khooni usually tries to run in all possible directions until all the options are exhausted when he finds himself surrounded by the CID team. The final punch is delivered by Daya who slaps the khooni as hard as he can with a sound loud enough to put a diwali cracker to shame!! The murderer denies initially but confesses his crime ASAP when a tight slap from Daya lands on his cheek. “haan!!!  Maine hi uska khoon kiya hai!!!” The slap from Daya makes criminals confess automatically without the need of any narco analysis test. It directly transports the criminal from the place of getting caught to a chair in the CID bureau. I wish to recall an episode where the team went to Malaysia upon knowing the whereabouts of the murderer. The murderer was comfortably swimming in a pool of a 5 star hotel and he gets caught at the poolside. Daya slaps hard and the next scene is in CID bureau in Mumbai!!! The show ends with ACP sounding the final judgment - “ab jail me baithkar khoon ki planning karna faasi ka order aane tak”!!!

So entertaining is this journey that I can never stop laughing at the incidents shown in the show. Even though knowing that this is not possible in real life, it makes me laugh because I believe that there is a huge audience who watches such shows and get entertained. It is a huge stress buster - believe me and I see to it that I never miss a single episode.  Such shows not only depict the crime and criminals in a unique way but also they change the very perspective of the people about crime. We all have a hectic work schedule and we all are in search of a break. This show gives me just that.  There is no waste of time watching it because such shows are different from the rest – at least they don’t teach our children any antics which fading celebs perform on screen. Yes, the things are too funny to be true but the show takes me to a different level of imagination – as these things cannot be true in any situation. It’s not about conventional logic being used all the time. CID is all about the unconventional things that you cannot even think of. The things depicted are so absurd that it becomes a really good thing to watch!! So just sit back, relax with your tub of popcorn and enjoy one of the longest running shows in the history of Indian Television!!!"

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