Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Other Side by Vivek Bannerjee and Faraz Kazi : A Review



BOOK TITLE: The Other Side

ISBN: 9789350880760

AUTHOR: Vivek Bannerjee and Faraz Kazi

GENRE: Paranormal

NUMBER OF PAGES: 320

FORMAT: Paperback

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The book was mailed to me as a part of Readers Cosmos Book Review program.

SUMMARY:

          "A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn't human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self."

          From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps and sleepless nights.

          'The Other Side' is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.

          Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!

REVIEW:

          The Other Side is a collection of thirteen short stories. We received this as a part of Readers’ Cosmos Review Program. Complete with the obsession over number thirteen, a spooky cover and a really scintillating book back summary, the book has all the essential elements of a spooky novel. The book starts with a prelude. The setting is mountainside and the two authors start sharing their own personal ‘ghost’ stories and therein start a germ of an idea. They start writing about a few stories, each progressing in its supernatural element.

          There are dead people haunting the place they lived as ghosts, paranormal sounds, and all the special effects. In one story, a honeymoon couple faces the worst experience of their life. There are tarot readers, spirit communicators, tantriks, and ghosts aplenty. In another story, a group of young men faces ghosts from the past. Yet another couple faces a mythical monster. There are adventure lovers who plan in detail only for the plan to go awry. Intervention from the paranormal forces compels the characters to lose their wits. There are your essential spirits who have died with unfulfilled desires, who try to live life again through the living.

          From the good, bad and ugly, the book has it all. It is a real spook-fest and guarantees a few ‘crescendo music’ moments especially if read in the night complete with BGM. But even in daylight, you can see the book is well written. All stories are similar and different in their own respects. There are certain points that are common, and there are the chilling moments. But this is because, as a whole, the aim of the story is to spook you. The authors have maintained writing equally in first person and third person narratives. And there is a seamless motion between pages. And they have also not resorted to the usual spooky locations to write the stories.

          There are ample native elements complete with vernacular words in the story. Though otherwise, the language is good and is also devoid of spelling and grammatical errors. The plot of each story and the characterisation is clean, relatable and does its job. The book overall is well written but does leave something to be desired for.  Where the book becomes a bit lacking is the repetitiveness of horror. The content of thirteen stories, though as varied as can be, are unfortunately slightly repetitive and remind us of old stories that our grannies told us to stop us from venturing out at night.

          This was one book that was hard to put down. Not only due to its interesting stories but also the natural curiosity of ‘what next’ that makes up the mind of every human and keeps feeding such supernatural occurrences. After all, the mind is the first storage place for such stories to manifest and it has the amazing power of drawing totally improbable threads to prove every story and memory are relatable. (Disclaimer: Not writing this because I am spooked. I have had my share of inexplicable experiences but nothing this horrendous. And my rational mind tells me there are explanations for every such event.)

WHAT I LIKED: The nice way the stories have been written, the prelude and the epilogue, language.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: One can only be as unique as our history and stories allow. Therefore there are unavoidable clich├ęs in the stories.

VERDICT: Go for it if you like your spook adventure books. If such stories tend to stay with you, give this one a thought. It can be realistic enough if you are easily scared. BOO!

RATING: 4.2

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

VIVEK BANNERJEE

          A paediatrician by profession, Vivek Banerjee is an author by accident. He lives in Saharanpur with his parents, obstetrician wife and two children. The pressures of his profession leave him with little leisure but he still finds time for his varied interests. An avid traveller, he has covered the length and breadth of the country in real life and the rest of the world in his imagination. A voracious reader, music lover, self-confessed geek and an amateur ornithologist, he would rather walk the road less travelled, given the time and opportunity. A Bengali by birth, he has grown up in various towns of North India and studied in many different schools and colleges. He started writing on Rediff blogs where he is known as Ben and went on to write his debut novel THE LONG ROAD.

          He has also been published by Westland in 'Chicken Soup for Indian Doctors Soul', Grapevine India in 'Shades of Love' and APK Publishers in 'Shades of Black'.

          He won an all India short story competition for his story 'The hunter’ which was published in 'Kaleidoscope' by Parlance publishers.

          An anthology of stories about the paranormal, 'The Other Side', co-authored with Faraaz Kazi is a recent offering.

          He is also a part of 'Carnival' by Litizen.com


FARAZ KAZI

          The winner of the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and also the recipient of the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing apart from being the first Indian author to win the coveted ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ title at the international Goodreads choice awards, Faraaz Kazi has been tagged as the 'Nicholas Sparks of India’ by many and is rated amongst the top male romance writers in the country.

          A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, India's first exclusive promotional agency for authors and artists that recently forayed into handling corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. Felicitated by numerous institutes, bodies and organizations alike, Kazi is a well-known name in the social media and literary fraternity. He is fondly referred to as 'The Young Marketer' and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.

          Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed 'Film Writers Association of India.' Truly Madly Deeply, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to have seven category nominations in the Goodreads annual readers' choice awards and is also the only Indian book in the 'Top 100 YA Global Fiction' list. Kazi is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love.


EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Paperback

PRICE: Rs. 150 for Paperback


"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"




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