The Book of Koli by M R Carey

When the Ramparts trilogy was announced, I was beside myself with excitement! A full trilogy of MR Carey goodness. The description of the first book was mind-blowing - a full post-apocalyptic world where humans lived together in remote distant villages, hunted by moving trees and dangerous molesnakes, where the sun shining was an invitation for dangers myriad - and the people themselves are living within walled villages - scrapping together a measly living.  The Book of Koli is the first book in the Ramparts trilogy and is centred around the adventures of young Koli - a teenager boy who's way too curious for his own good and ends up stumbling on secrets - about his own village and the 'lost' world before them - that pushes him out on breathtaking adventures in the wild. It's a great premise, yes but once I was through with the book, it didn't leave me with that wonderful yearning that you get about great stories. M R Carey is a storyteller, past excellence - as he …

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

I adore Christina Henry's takes on the 'fairy-tales' - especially her dark doozy of an interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, the Peter Pan stories and the last one, Girl in Red about the red riding hood.  With TheGhost Tree, Christina takes a decidedly different approach to give us a creepy simmering tale of horror set in a sleepy small-town in the outskirts of Chicago. While it is a 'horror' story, it is also a story of coming-of-age, first loves, childhood friendships and the ties that define a family. It's a story that features witches, but not in any sense that you've probably seen or read before. Ghost Tree is actually a heart-warming tale of families trying to make ends meet, in this laid-back small town called Smiths Hollow - told from the point of view of a multitude of characters, all of them whom we feel we 'know' in an intimate manner. What makes Ghost Tree a winner, raising it notches above just a gore-fest horror story is the manner in…

Netflix Saturdays - C U Soon (Movie Review - Malayalam)

C U Soon, an experimentally shot movie by Mahesh Narayanan, produced by Fahadh and Friends company released exclusively on Prime on Sept 2nd - the stand-in for the usual Onam big-budget release ( Malik, the other Fahadh movie obviously being benched for a bigger release across theatres, once the normal returns of course!)  Shot like a virtual cyber-screen thriller, C U Soon is definitely paving the way for newer horizons in the way movies are made. A racy thriller, that unspools on as WhatsApp chats, Duo video calls and computer screen grabs - starring Fahadh Fazil, Rosshan Mathews and Dhanya Rajendran in pivotal roles. Apparently, the script idea came from Mahesh a while back and so Fahadh and gang decided to put in their weight behind, to bring this project to life during the COVID-19 times. And boy, aren't we glad. For the movie is a rousing middle-finger to the virus that has been a deterrent to the movie industry in general. We really hope, more such movies get made in the fut…

The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie

The reigning king of grim dark fantasy is back at it. And for a series that picks up decades after the First Law trilogy - the Age of Madness is truly rolling on in spectacular style. The "little hatred" has gone onto become full fledged conspiracy, betrayal and the spark is lit for a rebellion. The trouble with that it hardly lasts, ending too soon.And the trouble with this book, is that it ended too soon for me as well.  The Trouble With Peace, sequel to A Little Hatred, the second book in this new trilogy from Joe Abercrombie is even better than the first book and pushes ahead the overall narrative by a mile, brimming with tension and action - all coloured by the same shroud of grim hopelessness and underlined by that gut-punch of black humour that differentiates Abercrombie from others. We start the second book, right after the catastrophic reveals and twists of A Little Hatred. Peace reigns within the Union, but a brittle one at that. And reluctant new King o…

Harrow the Ninth (Locked Tomb # 2) by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth was an enigma - a wildly original science-fiction fantasy set in the dark depths of a galaxy far-far away that evolves from a garrulous teenage drama about a sullen orphan who loves swordplay and dirty magazines along with her childhood nemesis who whisks her away to this ghost-house at the edge of the universe - into a tense, thrilling locked-room mystery with enough dead bodies, gore and blood-letting along with a lot of skeletons locked up in the closet. That ending left me an emotional wreck. And so the second book that promised to continue on with that 'harrowing' journey was one of the most awaited books in the universe, this side of the galaxy. With Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir expands that bizarre wonderful universe, and am happy to say, this is a sequel befitting that mind-buster of a debut, and is even more twisted if you can believe it. No, seriously. It is brilliant and confounding and leaves you a bumbling, confused wreck. There are unreliable nar…

Netflix Saturdays : Muthoon (Malayalam Movie Review)

Muthoon means the Elder One, in the local dialects spoken on the islands of Lakshadweep. 
A gritty, coming-of-age story about a young boy's search for his older brother that leads him from the aquamarine blue-seas and sand-washed islands of Lakshadweep to the seedy underbelly of the dark streets of Mumbai, Muthoon is Geetu Mohandas' second directorial and it definitely hits home with its stark hard-hitting messages on gender fluidity and forbidden love. 

It 'premiered' on the OTT platforms - on Zee network yesterday and I decided to finally catch this movie as it had not released in the theatres outside Kerala, last year December. Right from the wide-angle opening shots of the sandy beaches and brilliant turquoise water that surrounds the stark island where three boys are playing out their childhood games, I knew I was in for something special here. 
Mulla is a young boy full of anger and rebellious angst who only wants to find out the truths about his older brother refer…

Every Sky a Grave by Jay Posey

Jay Posey's Legend of the Duskwalker series was a personal favourite. Even though I personally thought the first book trumped books two and three, Duskwalker was a great platform to establish Jay in genre fiction. A dystopian post-apocalyptic setting, enigmatic heroes, well-etched characters and kinetic action sequences. 
So when Every Sky a Grave was announced - ( with similarities to Mark Lawrence, for fans of Ann Leckie and Star Wars! Ha ha clever marketing there, eh.) and the wonderfully kind folks at Harper sent me an ARC, I was thrilled. 

I was dropped right into the middle of an action scene ( And we know Jay writes some phenomenally explosive sequences, maybe perhaps his experience in writing for the gaming industry!) - and that formed my first impressions of Elyth, a warrior-monk in the ways of the Deep Language, Advocate of the Voice and loyal to this organisation called The First House. I know, this was a bit overwhelming and I felt the same way. We are thrust into an int…