Top positive review
The best thriller book convenient for both- beginners and bibliophile
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 31 March 2021
As people following my reading journey must be aware that I have slowed my reading process this year because I want to spend time with every book I read so that it stays for a lifetime with me. But there are few books which makes you break your resolve and finish them in a single or as less sittings as possible. This happened with me yesterday with Akash Verma’s latest book named “Only the Good Die Young” which has been released recently by Penguin publication in around 280 pages. There are few authors who win your heart right with their first book itself and Akash is someone I really look forward to read whenever he comes with a new book. This time I was doubly excited as this book is a sequel of “You Never Know” which I had read in October last year and gone crazy with the story. This time, author has just done wonders which again made me get up all night and only sleep after reading the very last line of the book. Such is a magic of Akash Verma’s book/s!
The 1st book was complete in itself but the way author took ahead the story makes you believe in each and every scene mentioned right from the 1st chapter. This time again the story is narrated in first voice of all the three main characters- Dhruv, Anuradha and Sid; wherever needed author has narrated in the 3rd voice too. All of this has been done so naturally and cleverly that you don’t feel that there’s anything fictional in it. You relate with all the three characters and even the others who are playing a kind of supportive characters here in this book such as Aman, Ash, Anna, Ram, Shalini etc. It is not easy to make you aware of what each character is going through in their minds when the focus is mainly on protagonists but Akash manages to do it very well. The party scene where all the characters play Truth and Dare is defined so beautifully that you will feel you are watching all these characters in front of you and know them very well.
Writing thriller is the most difficult art for an author, I believe, as you have to decide it very well how you want to take your story ahead – on the 5th gear right from the 1st page itself or gradually accelerate or keep on changing the pace throughout the book in order to win the attention of the reader. Akash has excelled this art very well as he takes it very comfortably at the 4th gear and keeps shifting little bit here and there that you are at comfort as well as enjoying the adventure in your ride. I like how the book talks about office politics, family lives, new crushes, old-reunions, multiple affairs, marketing meetings etc. but yet doesn’t stop the flow of the story even once. Author knows it very well how to write a perfect page-turner where a reader is not getting bored with these sub-plots or overwhelmed with too many twists and turns. I have very rarely read such thrillers where the story is paced at a convenient speed yet keeps you on your toes due to the shift the characters are going through due to unnatural happenings in their life – which is already scary due to their grey or black past.
I liked how author convinces you with the way the killer is executing his task with the technology being used in Hollywood movies as generally, using any of those ways used in movies to define your stories in a book, doesn’t work out but here, it has been very nicely presented. Even the pre-climax and the climax is written so wonderfully that you can’t deny of how things end for the characters. Not to be ashamed of but I really almost ended up crying in the end. When a love story is also being included with all the thrills and killings happening around, the romantic human in us get involved with the tale of love before getting associated with anything else. And when it is discussed with such extremity, depth and sacrifices of characters for each other, it really makes you happy but at the same time, extremely emotional and broken too. Akash really knows how to touch the nerves of his readers who expect the love story to be as impactful as the thrilling part of the book.
Talking about the last point, I must say, it is not easy to present a societal taboo or a thing considered as a sin in a different perspective. 1st of all, there is a big fear if the audience will accept this representation or not. Secondly, how you write and define this in each of your words when you speak of it makes you extra-conscious while drafting the story. This is a very big mental fight for an author to represent something-coined-as-wrong as an okay-stuff for a character. As represented in the 1st part of this book, the extra-marital affair has been presented so very well in this part too that it might confuse many who are reading if this is a right step for a married or committed partner or not. I have heard many such tales hence going through this was something which made me realize and relate with what author wanted to convey. I hope all the readers get the message behind why author has taken a bit side of it and why it isn’t always wrong.
Okay, one more point – writing a story in parts can make a reader’s life hell if both the books are kept very closely integrated without any touchpoints in the latest part which discusses about what happened earlier with these characters. Akash has written this book in a way that you can read it as an independent book itself. This is not very easy to execute but I think there’s nothing impossible for Verma when it comes to writing.
Now talking about the drawbacks which this book doesn’t make you find many. I must say because Sid had come back in this book in a psychotic manner, I wanted more of him to be written which would have given us more insights on how such characters think who now wants to take only revenge and nothing in spite of knowing that they have themselves been wrong in the past. I felt author just didn’t cover him as much as he could have. Other than this, there is nothing I felt that this book missed.
I give this book 4.75 stars out of 5. I don’t know how long it has been since I rated any book as high as this much but this one really deserves to be in the list of one of the best books I have read in this decade or my whole reading journey. Highly Recommended!