Thursday, 15 September 2016

03:02 by Mainak Dhar: a review

Woah! That is my first reaction after reading the book. Not that I don’t have any other expression to give but because of the fact that this is the best reaction that would express what I am feeling. Usually, I let any book I read sink in before I write a review because that gives me time to clear my head around my first reaction and how I read the whole book but for this book, I couldn’t let that happen for that would ruin what the book did to me. So as soon as I finished the book (which, by the way, I finished in 5 hours and that too including 1 hour of lunch in between because I am a slow eater!) I sat to write the review. Mainak Dhar’s 03:02 is a wonderful book much beyond what it promises to deliver.

According to the blurb- At 03:02 on a Sunday morning, the world as we knew it came to an end. Mumbai suddenly went black- no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. It was as if someone had turned off the master switch of our civilization, turning us back hundreds of years overnight. We learned that it was not just Mumbai, but much of the world that had been impacted. We also learned that it was no accident. A deadly enemy was behind it. An enemy that was now in our midst, seeking to conquer us and destroy our way of life. This is how our war for freedom began. A war that was to be wagged not on the borders or by the Army, but in our homes and streets, with us as the soldiers. This is our story.

 I am grinning as I admit this but it is you who I can admit this to, right? The thing is, I have fallen in love with the cover. The first and the foremost reason of getting this book was the cover. I have a soft spot for black and this cover had me at first glance. The second reason has to be the fact that it is a thriller and the blurb of the book. The whole idea of what is happening or what might happen made me pick this book up. When I held the book in my hands, the different elements of the cover made me more intrigued.

For me, as an extensive reader, now a day, it is tough to find a movie or story that does not seem predictable to me and so this story was a fresh change. Somewhere in the back of the mind even if you have something about the plot, the writing engrosses you so much that you tend to forget that and get absorbed by what the author wants to describe. Another confession coming up! While reading this book, I was so absorbed that my surroundings got hazed out. So when I finally got up, I could almost feel the things happening in the book happening around me.

While having my lunch, I thought about the people in the book. What would happen if such a blackout ever happens to us? As I type this, I still feel spooky. Such is the effect of the book on me. To those who think I am exaggerating, read the book to know. I would wait for your take on it. Now, coming to the characters of the story. I usually have the habit for falling in love with a character by the end of the book but this time I didn’t fall in love with any. No! Before you think that the characters were bad, let me break your thoughts here. I loved the characters and all of them. I rooted for them, urged them on, and cried for them throughout the book. As I have already mentioned, I felt that I was myself there in the scene.

This also gives an idea of how well the author has narrated the book. The twists, turns, emotions are there in every page of the book. As a reader I can say this much that if you are reading this book at a stretch and you take a break, you would be itching to get back to the book. If I have to speak about my favourites of the book it has to be of course Aditya from whose point of view the book has been written. The General, Akif and even Nitesh. The book has its high points and they make you stick to the book. Low points? I don’t think there were many. Oh wait, there weren’t any.

Speaking of the cons of the book, grammar wise and narration wise there weren’t any. But I would like to speak of one complain I have with the book. Even though I totally understand that a love story makes any book all the more relatable but this book had so much going on that was a love story really important? I also understand that the author wanted to concentrate more on the story rather than their love story but since the love story was introduced, couldn’t be there something stronger there? I felt (and that is completely my opinion) that the woman in consideration here lost a solid character after the love story blossomed.

Apart from that, the book kept me at the edge of my seat and is undoubtedly one of the best I have read this year. I never thought I will cry through a thriller book but I did. Through the story, the author has tried to bring in a wonderful moral and message to the readers and I am sure he has successfully put that thought across. The spark lies within each one of us, after all. The real danger mentioned in the book? I am not giving spoilers! For me, this book is a 4.75 out of 5 and I look forward to read more and more from the author. Oh! By the way, even though this doesn’t make much sense or is nowhere related to the book but I am listening to the title track of the film Mirzya on repeat mode as I write this review down (which I have been hooked onto for some unknown reasons) and I have no clue why I can even imagine Aadi as Mirzya.

PS- I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as a part of the Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

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