Book Review: Going Underground by L. N. Denison

This book is un-put-down-able!

The Blurb:

The year is 2044. A decree is put into effect that brings about a new era—a revived holocaust against mixed-lineage humans. Being of non-pure blood, Jen Cole has been forced to live under the oppressive government’s radar.

Myron Cutter, Jen’s professed nemesis, one day requests an uneasy alliance with Jen to support conspiracy theorist and rabble-rouser, Oscar Saracen. Incarceration is only the beginning of Jen’s problems when she’s caught conspiring against the government, while Myron is sent to military training by his powerful father as punishment for his part in her deception.

Yet when Jen ends up in the same labour camp as Oscar Saracen, escape becomes palpable as serendipity reunites her with Myron, and hope looms on the horizon. As Jen uncovers treasonous plans, she heads underground—the only safe place for her now, and where she can continue her pursuit of the dark truths enveloping the world she once knew.

Packed with political turbulence and a chilling existence, Going Underground is a hauntingly thrilling journey of a troupe of misfits in a fight to win back their freedoms. December 31, 2046, would be a day to remember. The new Independence Day. But who will win the battle?

Excerpt:

The reason for Lavinia’s hatred towards Jen was unjustified. It wasn’t Jen’s fault that Lavinia had been chased out of her own village, or that she had been ostracised by her family for having a child out of wedlock. When it was brought to light that the father of the child was English, Lavinia was given two choices: she could face the consequences of her actions, or leave the serenity of her village. Lavinia preferred the latter to what was planned for her had she stayed.

Punishments for sinful acts were almost archaic in nature; the sin that Lavinia had committed was punishable by stoning. She preferred to take her chances onthe outside, living in filth and degradation, rather than facing the prospect of a painful death at the hands of people she had thought loved her.

Her brother drove Lavinia as far as North London and left her there with her luggage in one hand and two-year-old Jen in the other. After an agonising journey to the heart of London, they finally made their home under Waterloo Bridge, a temporary stopgap until Lavinia could find work and somewhere a little more suitable to live.

From the moment of their arrival, life would become one big struggle. As the war between England and Scotland escalated, so did the English government’s need to rid itself of the minority groups: namely, people such as Lavinia and the others under the bridge—non-pure bloods, as they were known. Social standing meant nothing, as the people under the bridge had proved. Each one had, at some point, been an integral part of society—at least two had been members.

Parliament before the witch-hunts began, forcing them into hiding. Lists of known non-pure bloods had been posted in all the patrol stations across the Southeast, and one by one they were rounded up and placed into labour camps. There were five such camps, all situated dangerously close to the main battle areas along the North-South divide. Lavinia could count herself lucky—nobody, apart from the people under the bridge, knew that she or Jen existed. So, for a while, they were safe from harm. Lavinia had to learn how not to be so Scottish, trying desperately hard to pick up the English dialect and rid herself of her broad accent. This was a necessity before she could even consider going to look for work. She practised every chance she had, and with anyone who would listen to her.

About The Author:

I’m 44 years of age and live in rural Kent, where I have been for the last 25 years. I have been writing this novel on and off for the past 15 years, I now have something that I can be proud of. It has been tweaked many times over, and it is now where I want it to be. I generally write for fun, poetry and short stories. It is something that I enjoy doing. I am currently writing a post-apocalyptic piece, called Cavers, which is penned for release the middle of next year. That is my ultimate goal.

The Review:

The scenario these days is strange, unforeseen and unheard of. Notwithstanding the proud proclamation of being civilized, developed and sophisticated, we still brood the hatred, repugnance and discrimination about class, creed, race. If we don’t put an end to this insanity, years apart we would be in ground zero, back to point one. Authoress tried to, say, foresee, what will happen after 29 years. The book is an adult fantasy.

The Reader’s Heart…

From now onwards, I would not say that I am not much into fantasy since I have been reading quite a lot of fantasy books lately and Going Underground nailed me. The story revolves around Myron and Jen. The ups and downs in their relation, right from the enemity, to friendship, fights and finally love is an undercurrent of the story. Due to the circumstances, they are dragged into the labor camps arranged by the government to put down the impure blood and the protestors. The cruelties in the camp will make anyone cringe with fear, pain, and repugnance. Finally the join hands with Oscar Saracen, and fight the double standards of the government. Will they succeed?

What I liked?

Authoress has adapted a tight narrative style, which keep up with the storyline. With the right meter of words and imagery, authoress succeeded in engaging the readers till the end of the book. Not even for a second we feel that what we read is fiction. The story has been pulled off with utmost conviction. Lately, I was quite disturbed about an unnecessary surge of erotica in almost all the story with a tinge of romance. But, Going Undeground proves that erotica is not needed to convey the depth of a relation. Thank You Layla for showing a platonic love and a fact that she showed it as that happens in 2044 proves that there are still chances for pure love in future as well. The atrocities in the labor camp remined me of what I read about the way fighters were treated during freedom struggle, emergency, world war and situations alike.

Characters are all crafted well, with required importance to each character at each point of time.

What I disliked?

Even if with a tinge of reality that happened in the past, the cruelties in the labor camp became over the top towards the end, which made the readers tired of the sufferings of the protagonists. Yes, this has happened earlier but it is difficult to even read through.

Why should one read this book?

Do you think that the cast, creed, and race discrimination would surface and engulf us in the future? Do you think that Science would bite us back like a Frankenstein Monster? Do you feel a surge of adrenaline seeing the political double standards? Moreover, Do you love Adult Fantasy? Then you should read this.

Rating:
Blurb: 4/5
Description: 4/5
Writing Style: 4/5
Editing: 3/5
Excerpt: 4/5
Book Cover: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Book Details:
Title: Going Underground
Author: L. N. Denison
Type: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Createspace
Language: English
Pages: 390
Year of Publication: 2015
Price: 0.99 $
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Stars… For this exciting work of fantasy, I would give four stars. Thank you Layla for making me a lover of Adult Fantasy.

Going Underground is an exciting read. It made me a lover of Adult Fantasy. A ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Book! Recommended to all. No second thoughts!

The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a four-star rating on Goodreads and Amazon as I felt nothing less or more than that would be fair.

Book Review: Humbling And Humility by Rian Nejar

This book shakes the prejudices through a grave, touching, and harmonious background story

Buy on Amazon: Paperback | Paperback

The Blurb:

“Humbling and Humility” is an intense, detailed narrative of an Indian-American father and husband’s struggle with betrayal by his spouse and its consequences upon himself and his children.

Including a critical view of state intervention into domestic discord in families in America, the narrative explores this father’s attempts to mitigate harm and accommodate disruptive life changes in non-violent ways, both in his family and in other families in similar predicaments.

In raw and honest discussions, with no pretense of holding back, the author delves into culture and gender differences, and the many challenges immigrants face in America.

Excerpt:
The wagon rolled out of 4th Ave., and I was grateful to see some sunlight through the tiny window. We stopped at a holding facility in another part of the metropolis, where a young, stocky fellow, no more than a year or two above twenty, with a large black patch of what seemed like dead skin on the underside of one of his forearms, joined me in my side of the dog wagon.

He seemed chatty, and given my brief exposure to sunlight, I conversed with him permanent black skin patch through MRSA gathered from unclothed contact with surfaces inside many jail cells he’d been in. MRSA is a bacterial strain highly resistant to treatment. It is quite common in the holding cells and incarceration facilities of the state. He was hospitalized by the state due to the severity of his bacterial infection. They’d managed to stop it, but not before the starkly visible damage. He seemed dismissive of it, but I wasn’t so sure that I would, at my age that was twice his, survive such bacterial infection.

As we were led into the civic center in Dilbut that housed the courts, through back doors into a holding area, I saw the same cop who’d mocked my request for toiletries at the 4th Ave. intake line. This Hispanic member of law enforcement– from his name, Carillo– seemed to enjoy playing sadistically with the emotions of those in the state’s unrelenting grip, presumed innocent or not. His face had all the refinement of a Halloween mask. It was a face not even a mother could love.
who’d mocked my request for toiletries at the 4th Ave. intake line. This Hispanic member of law enforcement– from his name, Carillo– seemed to enjoy playing sadistically with the emotions of those in the state’s unrelenting grip, presumed innocent or not. His face had all the refinement of a Halloween mask. It was a face not even a mother could love.

In time, an officer came in to inform us that a female judge had put in an appearance, and the sadistic cop changed his slant to discussing how she’d been making bail release determinations. It’s rather redundant to indicate that he worked at raising our hopes, with claims that the judge had, just the past week, let many in arraignment leave without bail, right from the courtroom, on their own recognizance. It is also not hard to now see why those arrested and subjugated by law enforcement refer to them as pigs, which I hardly think stands for ‘people in government service,’ though you may again be forgiven for such a gentle assumption.

A short walk, and a climb up a spiral staircase, led us directly and surprisingly into a courtroom. There, we were all gathered in the jury section, some gloriously attired in overalls of white with wide black stripes, and all with handcuffs on. There was only the judge and two cops present in the room. She went through each person’s situation, setting bail at significant amounts for each and every one of us. Some she would not release at all, and had to resign themselves to going back to the holding facilities or to Waspoia’s tent camps.

About The Author:

Rian Nejar is a mid-60’s child from India. He trained and worked as an engineer in India, lived briefly in the Middle East, and arrived in America in the early 90’s. After a Master’s in electrical engineering in America, he worked as an academic instructor, engineer, entrepreneur, and technical writer over the two decades since. Humbling and Humility (HnH) is the first heartfelt written expression of his varied life experiences. He lives in the Southwest United States, and writes on the social and human condition.

The Review:

Humbling and humility is predominantly an account of author’s take on the eastern and western culture.

The reader’s heart

We have always been complaining that the system in India is dormant and takes forever to reach a decision but Humbling and humility tells us a different story; the repercussions of a fast action. In a context of the humiliation of Indian Diplomat Priyavani, author unravels a dirty world where the facilities to the convicts or presumed guilty are menial. Author shocks the reader with the stories of unhygienic cells, which carries bacterial infections to the inmates of the prison. The protagonist ends up in an intervention center as a result of a bogus complaint filed by his wife. In spite of the sufferings from his spouse, the protagonist is the one who is convicted due to the indiscretion of the legal system and bureaucracy. In an unrelenting effort to make sure that the wrongdoer is punished, innocent people are becoming scapegoats. Protagonist is a first generation immigrant from India, who is struggling to adjust himself in the western culture. The dilemma, pain and frustration of the protagonist is conveyed well to the readers. Surprisingly name of the protagonist or his spouse if not mentioned anywhere in the book; or I missed it. While trying to put to light the inconsistency of marital lives in Western culture, author has portrayed a well to do family of his friends John and Parvathy, which shows that it is not an impossible task to inculcate two cultures but as the protagonist’s counsellor in the intervention center says, the Pendulum keep on swaying and at a point where it stops, things will work out. Protagonist’s life takes a turn when more people enter his life.

What I liked?

The language and craft of the story is solid. It is more of a monologue of the protagonists but yes, there are conversations but in a lesser number. Nevertheless, readers would not be bored. Author is absorbed seamless into the protagonist that at some points, I kept on wondering if I am reading an autobiography. Author touched so many topics, which are matters of concern for the protagonist. Through the stories of people whom the protagonists meet at the intervention center, readers are subject to revelations of unexpected happenings in a system that is considered secured, perfect and spotless. Last but not the least, the book is an eye opener about the misuse of Domestic Violence prevention measures. The editing is also done with finesse.

“Punishment for something I’d done, I can accept, but a beating, just because you are angry, is not okay.”

“This pendulum was not only an unstable system; it was, in the hands of a ruthless and single-minded collection of authorities, a hammer of social injustice and repression.”

What I disliked?

While we are half way through the book, the pace drops a little bit but takes momentum once Giddu, Guddy and Monty come to picture. A wave of anti- female feeling could be felt but it could be the protagonist’s perspective. The book cover design is simple when compared to the gravity of the topic.

Why should one read this book?

To know the sugar coated, quasi-perfectionism of a system which we look up to, one should read this book.

******

Rating:
Blurb: 4/5
Description: 4.5/5
Writing Style: 5/5
Excerpt: 5/5
Book Cover: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Book Details:
Title: Humbling and Humility
Author: Rian Nejar
Genre: Fiction
Type: Paperback
Publisher: Anasim Books
Language: English
Pages: 310
Year of Publication: 2014
Price: 933 INR
Buy on Amazon: Paperback | Paperback
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Stars…

To this enlightening journey of words, I give a four-star rating.

“Humbling and Humility” is a sugar coated, quasi-perfectionism of a system which we look up to, one should read this book. A ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Book that will keep you hooked till the last page. Highly recommended for all. A must read. No second thoughts!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was given to me by author in exchange for an honest review. I am glad to read and review it. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced. I have given a four-star rating on Goodreads as I felt nothing less than that would be fair.

About the Reviewer: Rakhi was born in a small town in Kerala. Born and brought up as a quintessential small town girl, she had always been ambitious and goal-oriented. After her masters in Biotechnology and Business Administration, she joined as an HR recruiter in a consulting firm. Her eight-year-old love life blossomed into marriage in 2010 and she joined her husband's family business. Blessed with two children, she is a full time mother and an author. Her passion for literature made her the author of the poetry collection Un-assuaged- The blossoms of my imaginations. She started writing her blog Outset- Rakhi Jayashankar.