WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
“Love is like getting intoxicated, you start with small doses. You like it, so you keep on doing it, telling yourself that you’ll be fine. You think you can handle it, but you know you are lying to yourself. You know it’ll harm you, it has, probably in the past, but you still go on getting high. Ultimately, it gives you a hangover, and let me tell you my friend; this hangover can be fatal.” ~ Shweta Grewal, Who Are You Stranger?
Thriller is one genre I can never really get enough of. I am always looking for reads which promise thrill and adventure. Some of the best thrillers I have read this year include Anthony Neil Smith’s The Cyclist, Smita Bhattacharya’s Dead To Them, Teresa Driscoll’s I am Watching You and Ashwin Sanghi’s Keepers of the Kalachakra. The list is quite long actually and I am still fishing for more.
Thus, with the same kind of enthusiasm which I reserve for thrillers, I sat down to read Who Are You Stranger? by Shweta Grewal. To know my thoughts about this book, please continue reading.
Readability, Quality, Styling
The first impression of any book is always its cover and blurb. Unfortunately for Who Are You Stranger? the cover and the blurb don’t do a good job of luring the reader. Neither the cover image nor the font is appealing enough. The blurb at the back is again vague and unenticing.
When it comes to the ease of reading, the book does score some points. The font size and style are good and so is the quality of the paper. All the other aspects that contribute to a book’s readability are also well taken care of.
What to expect?
As is already evident from the cover, Who Are You Stranger? is a thriller. The book is a short read which is the part one of a supposedly two-part series.
Readers can expect some good dose of romance and drama in the initial pages. However, once you go further in the story, the complexity of the plot will slowly start unravelling itself.
Since the book has both romance and thrill, it can loosely be called a romantic thriller, albeit a subtle one.
What is the story like?
Goonj is a young woman who, one day, decides to pack her bags and just leave. She has just been fired from her job and has no clue why. She tries calling her friends but they don’t pick her calls.
Dejected and disappointed, she decides to take a break. While on her break, she keeps reliving the very memories that she has run away from.
A friendly stranger called Aarav approaches her and before she knows, she is spending every moment of her vacation being around him. There is some undeniable chemistry between the two and soon, falling in love with this beautiful stranger comes as naturally as breathing to Goonj.
Things, however, take an unexpected turn when she confesses her love. Very soon she is caught up in a nightmare and has no clue how to get out of it. To know more, I suggest you read the book.
“This person standing in front of me is my salvation. He might as well be my damnation, but I’ll love to go to hell for him.”
How good are the characters?
The best part about Who Are You Stranger? is its characters. Goonj is such a relatable character. She is simple, naïve, confused and at the same time, she is sensitive and warm hearted. She is passionate and keeps her loved ones close. Her relationship with her dad is something to look forward to in this book.
Aarav too seems like an interesting character though I am pretty sure that there’s more to him than is revealed in this part. So far, his character has kept me baffled and I mean it as a complement. He seems to be caring but then there’s some other force that governs his actions. I am so looking forward to getting to know the real Aarav.
What about the author’s writing style?
The book starts on a very defining note. Goonj’s relationship with her dad and their easy camaraderie is established. Soon the story takes us into the next scene where Goonj meets up with this stranger.
A good part of the book is interesting and a good part of it lacks pace. Some parts seem stretched while the others seem rushed. The writing definitely looks promising and shows a lot of creativity. I like the way the book incorporates romance pretty well in this thriller.
How good is the climax?
Reading the climax of Who Are You Stranger? felt like being sucked into a tornado. The start was quite thrilling, the middle too maintained pace; albeit a slow one. But it was only in the end, that the tornado occurred.
Too many twists were thrown in an extremely confusing way and I was left baffled. The book ended without giving any answers and without giving any clues. This can be a good thing as well, but for me, it just did not work.
What I did not like?
I think the worst thing about the book was its poor editing. There were quite a few errors which needless to state, are always a spoiler.
Further, it seemed like the writing needed a bit more polishing. Perhaps, the experienced eyes of a professional editor would have done the job.
Shweta’s writing is decent, and it so happens that as you write more, your writing matures. I am pretty confident that given a bit of time and experience, Shweta’s writing will shine.
Another thing that I did not like was that there is no indication that the book is a part of a series. The cover and the blurb does not mention it at all and hence once you get to the end, it kind of becomes disappointing because that’s not what you expected. You expected a closure, a mega-unravelling of the mystery, but sadly that doesn’t happen.
What could have been better?
The book is a short read but still, a good part of it is spent in establishing the relationship of Goonj and Aarav.
Right until the end, there isn’t much mystery or thrill to speak of and the reader is kept wanting. Then quite unexpectedly a lot of events unfold and layers are developed which leaves the reader perplexed.
This hasty and abrupt switch from romance to a mystery is what could have been avoided. I would have loved it if this was done in a subtler and uniform way. Even after the end, I still didn’t have a clue as to who is who and in what general direction the story is headed. Surprises are always good but for me, the surprises in this book turned into confusion and shock.
In the end, the entire reading exercise boils down to this one aspect – is the book entertaining? Quite frankly, the book is interesting and even though it has certain issues, I remember always looking forward to the next page – page after page. Taking this into consideration, I would say that the book scores decently in the entertainment quotient.
Pick up the book if
Pick up the book if you enjoy short reads.
If you like a dash of romance in your thrillers, this book will be a good choice for you. It is one of those reads that work best when one isn’t a regular reader and picks up books only once in a while. If you are an avid reader, you might notice the subtle slipups in the narration and other elements.
In the end, it’s a good short read especially for those who enjoy easy reads and are just getting into reading.
Skip the book If
Skip the book if you cannot stand bad editing. You would also do well to refrain from the book if you don’t enjoy romantic thrillers. If you are looking for a great read, this book isn’t the one you should be picking but it does have a pretty decent story to tell. In the end, it’s totally your call.
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