Book Review: The Blue Jade by Shobha Nihalani


Book Title: The Blue Jade
Author: Shobha Nihalani

Book Title:
The title of the book ‘The Blue Jade‘ is scintillating and interesting

Book Cover:
The cover image of the book is an interesting image with the story in a gist. Well, a reader must read the whole book to understand how the image is the gist. With a Blue Jade jewel, an abandoned building, a young woman’s face, and a compass kind instrumental impression, the cover image is quite interesting.

About the author:
For most of her life, Shobha Nihalani has lived in different parts of the world. But her heart has always been in India. Influenced by her cultural roots, her stories are peppered with unique Indian characters and vivid settings. She is the author of adventure and thriller novels: The Silent Monument, NINE trilogy, Unresolved – A psychological thriller and Trikon. She has also written two non-fiction books, a biography of a spiritual leader: Dada Vaswani – A Life in Spirituality, and A Gift from Above – Harini and Haresh’s Journey in Adoption. Shobha lives in Hong Kong with her family, and she’s in the midst of plotting another wild story.

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About the book:

Intertwining history with mystery, Blue Jade is a captivating story about historical artifacts falling into the wrong hands. Neelam, starting her career as an art curator, discovers a precious relic hidden inside a statue of Mirabai, the legendary Rajasthani princess-saint. The relic turns out to be the most sought-after blue jade pendant, long declared lost.

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Neelam must complete her family’s unfinished mission of returning the jade safely to the Indian monument where it belongs. But this is no simple task – Neelam must outrun a deadly ring of smugglers who are after the prized blue jade. As she travels through India, she trails the fabled journey of Mirabai, in a mystical link of history and present day.

The Blue Jade is a thrilling adventure in the murky world of black market art set against the historical backdrop of the legendary princess-saint Mirabai.

My review:
I remember I have heard author Shobha’s name in the year 2014 during the Annual Hyderabad Book Festival. I happen to visit one of the setup stores in the book exhibition and had a glance at the books there. A book with an interesting cover in blue color with some story in the cover itself took my attention. This happens to the second book in Nine Trilogy by Shobha – Nine, Vengeance of Warrior.  It was a thrilling experience as I am a fan of thriller and mystery genre with some historical aspect and well a fan of Indian writing. It was after Shiva Trilogy and The Krishna Key by other Indian authors, I have found this Nine Trilogy extremely captivating.  Since then I have been following her articles, interviews in various sites and of course her books. Shobha has been very consistent in her really interesting plots. Her book Unresolved blew my mind off. I was traveling from Hyderabad to Kochi in Flight and also it happens to be one of the few Kindle books I bought. My flight was an awesome one. The psychological aspects of the book are extremely fantastic.

It has been a while that I have read her other books. Fortunately, I have landed up with a chance to read and review ‘ The Blue Jade ‘. Oh! What a great experience I had from reading this book. Initially, it reminded me of an old Hindi movie Suryavanshi where an excavation of lost palace happens and also an English Tv series Relic Hunter. The mere mention of the word artifacts made me remember these two.

Coming to the book, ‘ The Blue Jade ‘, it is the story of a young woman Neelam who is an art curator and finds a very rare statue of Mira Bai in her home incidentally. She finds a Blue Jade pendant and a map inside the statue when she accidentally breaks it. As the statue is her grandmother’s possession she feels no harm in owning the crystal. Her senses get confused when her parents ask her to conceal the fact about the crystal after she discloses it.

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After a while, things get really interesting.  Her parents get killed. She travels to India as she lives in Hong Kong, someone keeps a watch on her and she is not aware. Her quest in returning the Blue Jade back involves a great number of thrilling sequences, twists and unexpected incidents. She gets herself into a chain of deadly smugglers and with her intelligence and courage, she dodges all the traps hence unearths the mysteries.

With a great art of storytelling, author Shobha has yet again thrilled her readers with an out and out entertainer. Nowhere in the book, the story loses its grip or the pace. The book can be read by readers of any age as it has suitable content. The book can be recommended to readers who like mystery and thriller genres.

What I like:

1. The storyline which starts as a simple thing gets bigger as the story progresses
2. Neelam’s valor during the quest is quite interesting
3. The doubt that arises in a reader’s mind if this is the person who is responsible is very entertaining.
4. The famous disciple of Lord Krishna, Mira Bai’s story intertwined in the quest is interesting and informative.
5. The emotional quotient in the book is well maintained with no unwanted drama
6. The name Neelam is exactly the same in Sanskrit\Telugu or other Indian languages that means Blue Jade and thus it perfectly syncs in the book. Kudos to the author’s wits.
7. From just reading the author made her readers even roam around the roads of Vrindavan and Ahmedabad.
8. The story described at Rajasthan stands out to me as I really enjoyed that part.
9. Though the story starts a bit slow, it gains a sudden momentum and thus it becomes a perfect thriller.
10. Neelam becoming the relic hunter is very novel unlike a female protagonist shown just as a glamour doll.

What I didn’t like:
There is nothing to be disliked.

The characters are sketched with great depth and strength. The characteristics displayed by the characters in the story and especially at the times of thrill is dynamic and intriguing.

With a good amount of twists layered in the story, the narration is very engaging and absolutely entertaining.

Language & Grammar:
Impressive language with rich vocabulary is often found in Author Shobha’s books. Like in her other book, the same standards of the English language with good grammatical elements are found in this book.

My Final Verdict:
A book of a quest with thrills and chills

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Reviewed by Swapna Peri

This book review first appeared in Storizen Magazine April 2020 Issue