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S. Ahmed (London, UK)

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A Singular Hostage
A Singular Hostage
by Thalassa Ali
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more..., 31 Mar. 2008
This review is from: A Singular Hostage (Paperback)
It was one of those books that made me feel hugely frustrated page after page. The plot is unique and unlike any other books i have read about India during the British Raj. Sufism, the old city of Lahore, Ranjit Singh's rule over the Punjab and the signing of the treaty that led to the disastrous first Afghan War are all the things I was hungry to learn more about. What a shame though that Ali's writing falls far below the mark such subjects of significance deserve.

My first language is Urdu and I find it impossible to believe that Mariana, the heroine can master the language to the point of fluent communication in just 3 months. That for me i suppose is the point where i start finding it increasingly hard to suspend my disbelief.

The prose comes out jerky and the descriptions of scenes and durbars uninspiring. The feelings the main characters develop for each other are never properly explored which leaves all relationships feeling wooden. There are no subplots in the story which just hurls from one palanquin ride to another without gathering much pace or reaching a proper climax.

Despite everything though, I am still looking forward to reading the sequel - probably because I am hoping that Ali would have gained a better understanding of her characters and made them speak, act and interact in ways that will make them feel more real and endearing. Fingers crossed!

Shadow of the Moon
Shadow of the Moon
by Kaye M. M.
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a tale!, 28 April 2006
This is a must-read for anyone who likes a deeply engaging story against a fascinating historical backdrop- British India and the days of the Indian Mutiny in this case. M.M.Kaye is undoubtedly a gifted author who has a way of creating beautiful imagery and invoking the sounds, smells and sights that transport the reader into the world of her characters. Everytime i have read this book, i have longed with almost a childish longing to go back in time to see the India of that day and meet Winter and Alex, the two main characters of the novel despite the fact that they actually go through a gruesome experience of war and bloodshed.

This novel has been a refuge many a times when I have wanted to escape and lose myself in another world. M.M Kaye does not leave any charcter or situation half-baked and even though sometimes some of the minor characters such as English Mama's come across as stereotyped, they are very very real and one cannot help but form a strong bond with them, suffer, laugh, cry and rejoice with them.

I love this book!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2015 4:42 PM BST

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