Friday, May 29, 2020

Unlocked - Book Review

The second book that I pick up as part of Blogchatter book review for the 2020 e-book carnival is another gem - 'Unlocked' by Sonia Dogra. She's been one of my favourite bloggers since the time I came back to blogging and now one of my favourite author's of the series too.

Book Intro - Cover And Title

Do you see a number of images of historically significant people in the back ground accompanied with barrels and footballs and submarines and yes whiskey bottles!! And to add to the suspense goes the title of the book as 'Unlocked'.

For all the suspense thriller book fans out there behold, for here comes a lyrical suspense thriller your way! And to top it all, the thrill is around something that you thought you were happy you mugged it all up when they were presented to you in those fat school textbooks and waded through the exams somehow... But wait... It need not be all washed off into history! For history is back ....and is back in such taste.... that this time you will gulp it all down with awe and even crave for more!!

Sneak Peek Into The Book

Genre - Again this time too I picked up a book in the genre of poetry but this one's unique. History in poetic verses is something I could never imagine was even possible. But here is a book which is bound to capture your attention and 'Unlock' those tales of history that you might have heard of (or should I say mugged up) and forgotten or will introduce you to a totally new discovery leaving you spellbound.

Characters & Theme - The book is divided into two parts.

Part one speaks of significant figures in history that of Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, Genghis Khan, Muhammad Ali, Cleopatra etc each entwined in verses of an intriguing tale to tell. Famous figures of history whose names must be imprinted in everyone's mind but did you know of the childhood of Hitler or the Sergeant credentials of Gandhi.... What's the tale behind Genghis Khan's gravestone or Muhammad Ali's lost gold medal....everyone knows about Cleopatra's beauty but what's with her nose!!

And the best part is when the book highlights the tales of the unsung heros and not to forget the bravery of the '(S)heros' (no not Rani Lakshmibai...and yes there are many other lady warriors who fought like a woman!). The poetic tales of those valiant few that the textbooks forgot or chose to forget to cover.

Part two of the book speaks of some epoch episodes in the history of time. Be it the story behind Radcliffe line or Kokura's luck or for that matter the bewildering tale of the sunk Titanic or the lost speech of Abraham Lincon....if this book was a game of Monopoly (did you know even this game has a story in history!) .... Let me assure would end it having amassed loads of wealth comprising of knowledge of historical times!!

Literary Sense - The author being a veteran in this field and having authored many books in the past.... this book is as rich in literature as it is in history. The literary usage in composition of poetic verses around historical facts is as commendable as is the research that must have gone behind in creating this masterpiece.

I personally loved the small prologues before every chapter. And the footnotes that the author has painstakingly put explaining every significant historical event making the life easy for the reader. Let me quote the book's introductory poem which perfectly summarizes the book.

"Well, I'm going to rummage my pockets
To look for some stories,
Tales about noses and mustaches
And those of unparallel bravery,
I'll talk of famous towers
A story you'll devour,
And of speeches and gunshots
War over football matches who
Would've thought
Also, some tales desolate and bereft
Of 'Harrowed Lines' and 'Quarantines',
And some unscrupulous 'Angels of Death'.
For isn't that what I'm supposed to be?
A vast chronicle of the good and the ugly.

All of this and a little bit more
I have for you so much in store. "

So, quoting the book again.... Whether "history is necessarily a result of accidents rather than social or economic forces or laws" or if "Somewhere between the wrinkled pages of history, lie untold tales of many a bravery" that " when history repeats itself and blatantly stares you in the face"....hope we learn something from that that had once passed or failed!

My Two Pence

Any book usually caters to a particular audience based on a certain age group but this is one such book that has the potential to impress a 12 year old upto 85 year olds equally. That's the potential it carries as this is a book in which you just don't marvel at the lyrical poetic verses but the book also leaves you with a whole lot of knowledge in History to cherish and chew upon. What more can you ask for! I wish history was as interesting during school days then probably today I wouldn't have to rake my brain to try and remember the names of all those famous people or the wars and the years in which they took place. After reading this book (thrice... Yes, I was that smitten!) now I know history can be made this interesting. This book should definitely be made available in a paper back edition to make it reach the kids and for their easy read while the adults can definitely enjoy the paper light e-book edition. My only humble request to the author is to add more historical poetic tales to the book..... ke dil abhie bhara nahi  :)! 

The link to download the book is here (free download for a limited period)

PS: The link to my own book 'Dots And Streaks' is here (free download for a limited period)

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Jyoti Jha said...

This is absolutely amazing! I loved your review as much as I loved Sonia's book 😊😊

Ira Mishra said...

Thanks so much for your good words Jyoti :)

Dashy said...

Sonia's series left me wanting for more. I too wish history was made this interesting from school. Lovely review.

Deepa Gopal said...

Lovely review Ira. Saw Tomichan's review too of Sonia's book. Downloaded both Sonia's and yours. Luckily, when we were in High School we had an AMAZING History teacher. She was the BEST!

Ira Mishra said...

Thanks so much Darshana... I know she's made history come up alive and kicking :)

Ira Mishra said...

Thanks so much for stopping by Deeps... Happy reading... Hope you find both our books a good enriching read... Will await your feedback :)

Saibal Barman said...

An interesting perspective you have unfolded in your review...that you have understood history is not a dull thing of remembering names and placesand odd manufactured events...there are hidden gems foe who seek for it in unbiased manner...I have already read her verses...loved it for its different form...history has made those further sweetened...thanks for taking pain of reviewing it as I understand such type of book presents lots of psychological pressure upon the reviewer...regards

Ira Mishra said...

Thanks so much Sir for downloading and reading Sonia's book... I have shared your comments with her and she was very thankful... As a child I think my introduction to history was limited to just cramming of hundreds of names, dates of events/wars etc...and yes I couldn't appreciate it much... Especially after social studies being the whole and sole reason for me losing my gold medal in Xth board exams by just 1% (6 marks).....For a long time after that I was happy that History was over! It's only much later that probably when pressure of cramming for exams went away I started appreciating history in it's true form... I hope the teachers and our education system can devise some better means for children to actually develop interest in subjects like history which are rich and enlightening... Hope atleast for my Son I find some better means... Sonia by her book is sure to achieve this to a large extent... Hope kids can appreciate History better after seeing it in this form as well 😊

Rahul Bhatia said...

Best wishes for your writing. May you attain all the glory.Will also try to read Sonia's book

Ira Mishra said...

Thanks so much for stopping by :)!Hope you enjoy reading both our books... Will await your feedback