Vampire Academy Series Review

Vampire Academy Series Review

Vampires are back in my world. I was done with vampires long back since too many bad experiences with them. My friend after swearing up and down that Richelle Mead’s vampiric world is almost believably real and couldn’t be put down, suggested me to read this series saying, my experience with vampires will drastically change after this series. 

Lets get started on how or whether it changed. 

Vampire Academy series

Author : Richelle Mead

Total books: Six (Vampire Academy,Frostbite,Shadow Kiss,Blood PromiseSpirit Bound,Last Sacrifice)

Genre : Young Adult, Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal 

Series rating : 3.5/5


The first book starts with the lead character Rose Hathaway and her best friend Princess Lissa Dragomir coming to St.Vladimir’s Academy, an educational institution for the nocturnals, after being on the run. It’s a place where the good vampires Moroi learn magic and half vampires Dhampirs are trained to be guardians to protect the moroi from Strigoi, the evil vampires . This book introduces us to the key characters, with loose twists and predictable action thrown in at the end. It is more of a base for the remaining books. 

From book 2 the plot thickens and from there it’s one hell of a roller coaster of action and emotions. Almost all the books ends in a cliffhanger which makes us anticipate the next one eagerly. Thankfully the series is complete otherwise would have lost my mind waiting for it. Mead’s writing is fast paced which suits the action packed storyline very well. 

The thing I liked about Mead’s lead protagonist Dhampir Rose is she isn’t whiny , sad or annoyingly selfless. She is snarky, sassy, sarcastic, slightly selfish and kicks some major ass. That made being inside her head that much more interesting. Her wit & humour was refreshing and enjoyable. Though Rose is the lead, the supporting characters have their own stories as well which adds to the intrigue. This is gonna make reading the spin off Bloodlines that much more interesting.

On the whole Vampire Academy series is a story about love, loyalty, friendship, betrayal with a kick ass heroine & interesting secondary characters in a well etched out action packed plot. A must read for those who crave adventure and thrill with a side package of romance. A Thumbs Up!  

(PS – It is so difficult to write a book review without revealing any spoilers! *wipes brow*) 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – The Magic Dims but the Legacy Continues

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – The Magic Dims but the Legacy Continues

Pages : 330

Author : J.K.Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Genre : Fantasy 

My Rating : 2.5/5

To begin with, I am so glad that the first book I’ll be reviewing is a book of the single most celebrated series of my era. Hogwarts is a huge part of our childhood. So It was natural that I had huge expectations from the eighth instalment of my favourite series. Even when I was hearing lots of negative reviews and complaints about it, my excitement for it couldn’t be deterred. 

I received the book only recently and I started reading it the instant I laid my hands on it and finished it in three hours straight. (What? I am an hardcore Potterhead, okay) 

I know by now pretty much every Potterhead in the world must’ve read the book but just in case this review contains some spoilers. 

Even though I knew that the book was written in script format, it felt odd and different reading it. But after a few pages I surprisingly got used to it. Mainly because of rowling’s fantastic & descriptive writing in the last seven books. The familiar scenes and settings of the wizarding world were easy for me to imagine. (Thank you Rowling) 

The book starts where the last one left off. Nineteen years later after the Great battle of Hogwarts. We meet the next generation of Hogwarts. Though the title reads ‘Harry Potter’ and the Cursed Child, it is centered around Harry’s son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpius.  

Though the focus was on the new generation, we do meet the Golden Trio. I liked that Hermoine is the Minister of Magic. A muggle born holding the highest office, ahh how the wizarding world has changed in the last 20 years! 

Albus and Scorpius meeting in the Hogwarts Express for the first time and going on to become the best of friends is remiscient to how Harry and Ron met. But that’s where the similarities end. Albus and Scorpius hold their own ground, have their own individual personalities. Thank you Merlin! I personally would have hated if Albus is shown as the Next Harry or Scorpius the Junior Malfoy. Where Harry Potter was hero worshipped and celebrated, Albus Potter is laughed and mocked at. Where Draco Malfoy was proud and popular, Scorpius is anything but. 

 In fact, the book largely focuses on Scorpius and Albus’s troubled relationship with their fathers. Albus and Harry’s more so. Harry, though having had a lot of father figures to look upto while growing up (Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, Hagrid, Arthur Weasley!) is shown as a confused and a clueless father. But only to Albus. James and lily are ‘supposedly’ the happier children though nothing much about them is mentioned. They are completely left out from the book.If you didn’t know any better, one would think Albus is an only child.  Would have been nice if they had thrown some light into Albus’s relationship with his siblings. Or Harry’s relationship with them. 

The Harry in this book sometimes seemed incompatible with the Harry in the previous seven books. I can’t imagine Harry ever saying something like “I sometimes wish you are not my son” or “The thing that scares me the most is being a dad to you” to his son. Or use his Ministry connections and threaten the deputy headmistress and his former professor Minerva Mcgonagall into agreeing to his demands. 

I also didn’t like how they had dealt with the character of Ron. He is more of a joke in this book than the key important character that we are accustomed with. 

Though they seemed to have messed up the old characters, the new ones seemed well placed to me though sometimes poorly written. Never thought I would say this but I actually liked a Malfoy more than a Potter. Scorpius Malfoy was delightful. His friendship with Albus is one of the highlights of the book. Though I wish we had more of Rose Granger Weasley. She is only shown bossing and reprimanding Albus. The new character Delphi though intriguing seems under explored. 

The tried and tested theme of time turners and alternative realities is explored some more taking the readers for a thrilling ride. The book even with its loose ends and loopholes, was a fast paced and an engaging read. Like the previous potter books, it couldn’t be put down. 

The Cursed child twists, turns and takes us down the memory lane in a literal way.  It has something for everyone. Though one can’t help wanting more. 

Read it to go back to Hogwarts , read it for a quick paced fun and thrill but without expecting any great character development or detailed well written plots and subplots. Like Dumbledore, I too agree perfection is elusive and unreachable.  

There is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human to breathe. ~ Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

What makes a book successful?

What makes a book successful?

Being someone who reads books as a passion, I have always wondered what makes a particular book successful? How does one determine whether the book/series is a hit or a flop?

 Is it based on the number of copies it sold or number of people who loved? 

How many times has it happened that you pick a supposed ‘bestseller’ and after finishing it you feel ‘Meh! So much hype over this’. And how many times have we picked or being gifted some unheard book  from an unknown author and  found it engaging & entertaining? Yes. Too many times to count.  

Sometimes a bestseller is nothing but fantastic marketing strategy. Some great books go unnoticed because it hadn’t been promoted well. Of course, some books have it all. Great plot, intriguing characters written in griping language and obviously it goes on to become a critically acclaimed bestseller. But such books are far and few these days. 

A good book isn’t proportional to the number of copies it sells. Often I have seen people have this misconception that if the author isn’t well known, the book must be mediocre. Or if it’s a famed author then the book surely is a bestseller. They forget that even celebrated authors were newbies once. The name of the author isn’t enough to make someone love a book.  

So what exactly makes someone go crazy over a book!? What prompts people to recommend it to others? 

According to me, a successful  book is the one that stays with you long after you have finished reading it. A book is a success if it compels you to think and muse about its characters even after the story has reached its conclusion. A successful book grips you with its plot, makes you feel with its characters. An author has written a bestseller if he/she makes the reader anticipate the next book in the series. 

So, the point of this post is, Never judge a book by its cover or the name & fame of the author or the number of copies it has sold. If the summary holds your attention, then grab it. Who knows, you might be in for a ride! 

(Pic credit- Google)

The turning point

The turning point

I tried not to be jealous. I tried feeling happy for them. I tried not to cry. I failed spectacularly. Watching my sister and my friends competing & enjoying themselves on the school playground was hard on the 9 year old me. I blinked back tears. Di was always so supportive. I should be feel happy for her. She will win, like she always does. I just wanted to enjoy too. It looked like fun. Or maybe I just wanted to belong. I couldn’t decide.

“Priya”! Someone shook me. I looked up to see the concerned face of my class-teacher.

“Are you alright?” she enquired.
“Yes ma’am, I am fine”. I muttered feebly.

“You come, sit with me in the staff room, I will let your sister know” she ordered politely.

I wanted to protest but decided it was for the best.

I limped back behind her, despondently.

After asking me to do my homework , she got busy with some papers.

It was eerily silent here. The whole school was busy conducting the annual sports event. Something I cant remember being a part of.

“I took part in there when I was really small, I couldn’t remember though. I didn’t win. I never win.” I blurted out, shattering the silence.  

She looked up sharply and I regretted my words. She will tell my parents now. This day was getting worse.
“Do you know why I teach English and Mrs. Hegde teaches maths? Because she is best at that and I  excel only in English. You cant play basketball like your sister but neither can she write essays and poems like you do. We cant be best at everything. We can only try..  ” 
She took a deep breath and continued . “You will take part, priya. Maybe next year. After you get better” she encouraged. “But for now, you should  do as your parents and teachers say.” she finished with a finality. 

While I was contemplating her previous words of wisdom, she stood up and started rummaging some shelves.

“Priya, do you read story books?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am I read tinkle.” I replied with a small smile.

She laughed and nodded.

“You take this and return it back in two weeks after Christmas holidays, okay?” She said, handing me an old book.

I took it hesitantly. It didn’t look colourful.

“Little women by Louisa may Alcott” I read out aloud.

“Yes, you read it and tell this story to your sister and your friends. I think only you will able to do it. ” she winked.

I smiled and soon followed her to the playground, my mind slightly confused and heart somewhat lighter.

That day changed my life. Little did I know My teacher’s words of wisdom will be what that will anchor me while I waged wars with my own health. A war I almost lost but eventually won.

That and my love for books.
Books. I live them. I breath them. They saved me. From my own demons. My love for books is popular both online and offline. Often I get asked about the first (proper) book I had ever read. And I tell them about the battered old copy of “Little Women” that opened gates of imagination for me.

We all have such turning points in our lives. A curve that changed the way we thought, lived or loved. This was one of mine. What is yours?