Thursday, December 12, 2013

Baramulla Bomber- Read At Your Own Risk



This book review by Trisha Ray is part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program

Plot- rating - 3/5



Quantum Physics meets Bible and Vedas in Background of Kashmir and Cricket

This super snazzy description paired with that sexy cover photo will pique the interest of even the least bookish. It’s the literary equivalent of a suspiciously colourful cocktail at a bar with questionable rep. You have no clue how it’ll taste, or if you’ll even live to see another day, but damn it, you’ll just have to die trying. That said, I must confess I went in with minimal expectations, given my previous experience with amateurish attempts at thrillers.

Baramulla Bomber is the author, Clark Prasad’s, very first novel. We follow the meteoric rise of Mansur Haider (the titular Baramulla Bomber) through to the ranks of the Indian national cricket team, in the backdrop of a joint terrorist plot involving both China and Pakistan; spanning Oslo, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kashmir, a little cove in Scotland and Islamabad; along with the underlying theme of ‘primordial sound (aka Om)’ and a bunch of people called the Guardians. Confused? Well take an aspirin, down an espresso and forge ahead.

First, the positives-The author irrefutably has an impressive repertoire of information. There aren’t many novels in the market that deal so extensively with Indian intelligence (no pun intended), and it’s a nice plus seeing our (surprisingly competent) security forces and government portrayed in a positive light. The plot has all the potential of being the sci-fi espionage thriller it promises to be, and a cast of consistently good-looking, tall and multi-talented characters. I was genuinely intrigued by the entire concept of primordial sound and its ability to both heal and annihilate. The entire book was littered with factoids about warfare (from border skirmishes with Pakistan and China to US’s invasion of Iraq) and religion which were enough to sustain my interest, despite the negatives. 




On the flip side, Prasad seems to use English like a third language. His sentence flow is rusty, his descriptions blasé (I can arguably blame the editor for this slip-up, but dang it Clark, you’re a fellow bookworm). After more than 300 pages, I came away with no lasting impressions of the characters, their minds and their motivations. The climax was a misnomer, and I couldn’t get how India’s [spoilers] ‘grand’ speech at the UN would convince an entire room full of politically-conscious, cutthroat nations to reject a bill [/spoilers].

The story takes a while to pick up any pace (somewhere around page 112), with sporadic jumps in time and setting. Clark Prasad has a lot to say, but he is clearly struggling with the constraints of a coherent plot. Let’s call him a diamond in the rough (since I’m feeling generous), because I can see him writing better stuff. Like that mythical breed of human called the optimist, I look forward to his second novel, in the hope that it won’t leave me feeling as irritated, and mildly disappointed, as this one. I guess I won’t need to wait too long, seeing as this is apparently a trilogy.

*sigh*

36 comments:

  1. When it comes to Indian novelists, one of the common flip sides in most reviews has been about the language :|. However it is always a pleasure to read an Indian Author.. adding it to my To Read list.

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    Replies
    1. The thing is that there are good Indian authors, brilliant ones. There is no excuse for iffy writing.

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  2. I personally liked the novel quite a bit despite the shortcomings you mentioned which I tend to agree with. As for the spoiler, that I guess is what is called "literary licence" to exaggerate a few things. My review has been put up at http://mahabore.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/baramulla-bomber-clark-prasad-book-review/

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    Replies
    1. To each their own :)
      P.S Liked your review. Very erudite.

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  3. Oh, and looks like this is going to be a trilogy, too? That's what it says on the cover.
    The cover is very similar to Ritu Lalit's Chakra, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rickie,
      Baramulla Bomber, was first released in July 2012, much before Chakra.
      Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Baramulla-Bomber-Science-Espionage-Thriller/dp/1478203293/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386858881&sr=8-1&keywords=baramulla+bomber

      And also a report was done with regards to the design: http://focut.blogspot.in/2013/03/baramulla-bomber-to-chakra.html

      The cover design for Baramulla Bomber was done by Damonza, and multiple designs share on FB early 2012 to take opinions.

      Regards
      Suraj Clark Prasad

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    2. Surprised to hear from the author himself!
      My best wishes for the book.

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    3. Yep. Trilogies are all the rage.

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  4. I haven't read this one and after your review I feel disinclined to try it. In the past few months, I have read two good novels in the thriller genre by Indian authors, so I am feeling a bit more optimistic about them as well. And, what is with this trilogy business, seriously?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rachna,

      Svastik series was initially though to be a 5 book series, however as i expect the books to take time to write, have got them down to 3, and plan to take some of the stories, and sub-plots out. These additional stories and sub-plots will be free to download from the website - www.clarkprasad.com

      Baramulla Bomber Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqrRUPJqae8
      Sample Read: http://www.slideshare.net/ClarkPrasad/baramulla-bomber-preview-book-eka-of-svastik-trilogy

      Thanks
      Suraj Clark Prasad

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    2. I fully support your decision (ihopetheauthordoesn'tseethis)

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  5. Well,if the writers of a review can say 'There aren’t many novels in the market that deal so extensively with Indian intelligence (no pun intended)', I guess the Indian Intelligence Agencies have done a fairly good job of minding their own business perfecting the 'hiding in plain sight' concept, or have failed miserably by being too transparent in their private 'covert' dealing, which manifest as an 'extensive account of Indian intelligence, with of course, no intended puns. Also, adulations for the author who managed to convince the reader that it is so, even if it might not be.
    Though Indians do have a penchant to move the world with words, it is such clichés that stop me from reading such books where mere words save the world (Except Manga, Naruto, to be precise).
    Maybe I would read it if someone gave me the book, but after having read the pros and cons, I don't think I'll buy it to read it.

    Thank you for the short punch packed review :)

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Thanks for the comment. The first 50 pages of Baramulla Bomber: http://www.slideshare.net/ClarkPrasad/baramulla-bomber-preview-book-eka-of-svastik-trilogy

      Please do read this. Also do check out the following, related to the Svastik trilogy:
      UFO: http://www.slideshare.net/ClarkPrasad/shakgham-valley-incident

      regard
      Suraj Clark Prasad

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    2. You can have my copy :P
      I'd make a joke about the organs of the State but this is a family blog.
      P.S- Bless you for making an anime reference

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the review Trisha. I have a lot to learn, and hope that the second part will flow and appeal to all. It has been a learning and humbling experience over the last 4 years. Do read the following also: http://www.slideshare.net/ClarkPrasad/shakgham-valley-incident

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  7. It is a good thing that more writers are coming. But then they tend to make the plot a bit too bollywood-ish. Meh.

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    Replies
    1. True true. Though I've read some good stuff. Like Ashok K Banker.

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  8. When I was asked to review the book, I was truly intrigued by the title... One positive I think is that Indian Authors are trying something apart from College Campus Romance..

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    Replies
    1. The cover is way to sexy for the content :P Agreed. Anything is better than Chetan Bhagat

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  9. I haven't read the book. A crisp honest review Trisha.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Trisha, Nice review.
    I was smiling at places & was serious at some :)
    You sure are a great book-lover - "Well take an aspirin, down an espresso and forge ahead." :)
    Appreciate it! Cheers!

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  12. Sounds interesting and I guess like hindi movies our Indian novels also tend to be a little over the top.

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    Replies
    1. True true. But over-the-top can be fun. It takes special talent to manage that.

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  13. Though I haven't read the book..it seems to be an interesting read..adding it to my list..Nice review .

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  14. I enjoyed the post-mortem of Baramulla Bomber, not that it was needed.

    I don't know if you are aware of the Hindi pulp originating from Meerut, the kind being spewed by Om Prakash Sharma, Ved Prakash Sharma, Kumar Kashyap et al, where the maxim of "suspension of faculties of disbelief" is put to its hardest test. The book in question seems to have similar intents and origin.

    Looking forward to reading overviews of proper books.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Uma,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Please do see the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqrRUPJqae8
      Also the first 50 pages are available: http://www.slideshare.net/ClarkPrasad/baramulla-bomber-preview-book-eka-of-svastik-trilogy/1

      Do give it a try :)
      regards
      Suraj

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