Book Review – A Thousand Times Over by Sudhanshu Bisen

athousandtimesover

I met the author of this book on Facebook a few months back, and he suggested this book to me. Since the publishers were Fingerprint, one of my favorite publishers, and the blurb planted seeds of intrigue in my mind immediately, I decided to give this book a go.

After I finished reading the first chapter, which is a dream, I was confused. If the dream was from the girl’s POV, how could the feelings of the boy be shown (the excitement between the legs, etc.)? That seemed like an error. But even after that, throughout the story, the author does do head hopping quite frequently. I can understand that the author has used the ‘Third Person Omniscient’ technique, wherein the narrator is the all-knowing entity, but this narration technique is not recommended nowadays as it tends to involve head hopping (multiple POV’s in a single scene), which makes the read confusing as the reader gets to know the thoughts of all characters in a scene instead of just a single narrator. Also, there are too many long blocks of telling in the narrative instead of showing, which again violates the show-don’t-tell rule. It requires a lot of hard work to weave small blocks of telling into a scene, which the author didn’t do consistently. But of course, these minor technical glitches can be forgiven as he is just a debut author. With experience, he will improve.

Although veiled by a sense of mystery, a good part of the story is an ordinary campus romance. The narration, though, is good enough to make you keep turning the pages. However, I didn’t like the way the boy, without even trying to be friends, directly proposes to the girl. It seemed too forced and unnatural. But once their friendship began, things settled down for good. Since I’m not quite good as far as prediction goes, almost all the plot twists were surprising to me. The language is very good; the sentences are quite poetic at places, and the overall editing is also tight, as expected from a Fingerprint book. However, it felt strange to spot a few spelling and punctuation errors here and there, a rarity in other Fingerprint books. At one place, ‘clam’ is written instead of ‘calm’, and I noticed a few punctuation errors, especially at the end of dialogues that are followed by an action. A period should be used instead of a comma in those cases. I think the blame falls on both the author and the editor. Also, the language sometimes bordered on casual (too many f-words and colloquial lingo) to flowery (sometimes overly complicated words pop up in an otherwise simple sentence, breaking the flow). But I am nitpicking here; overall the language is satisfactory.

Some quotes are very good, especially this one: ‘Isn’t love the best festival that life celebrates?’. I liked these occasional philosophical touches that the author flavors the story with.

The characterization of both the characters is quite good. The back stories are good, and their complex relationships with their families are written with a rare eloquence. Although the story could never pull my heartstrings enough to make me cry, I could feel for the characters throughout. Till the ending of the story, I was immersed in the story, the plot twists plunging me into a sea of intrigue. But alas, then came the ending, throwing me down a cliff of disappointment. It is really weird and unbelievable, throwing black ink over an otherwise well-weaved story. Although it is a fictional book, yet only if the story is a reflection of reality does it become more relatable to readers. In that aspect, the ending, in my humble opinion, totally fails.

Be that as it may, this book is still a good one time read. I would rate it 3.3 stars out of 5. The author is talented, and I’m sure that in his next book, he will give me lesser reasons to complain and snatch a better rating from me.

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