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 you....you 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
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"....so 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)