Thursday, August 14, 2014

Asterix the Gaul (First volume in Asterix and Obelix series)

Written by: Rene Goscinny
Illustrated by: Albert Uderzo

The first of the famous Asterix and Obelix series is written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. It kicks off with a brief history about the rebellious Gaulish village and its chief occupants.

Asterix - The warrior Gaul with superhuman powers thanks to a magical Gaulish potion.
Getafix - An old ancient wizard with a lot of cunning and sarcasm who brews the potion to make the entire village stand against Caesar's regime. Getafix though old and obstinate, is equally clever and cunning and he can get out of any tough situation with the sleight of his mind.
Obelix - The trusted friend of Asterix who looks like a boar and likes wild boars. When not involved in adventures with this best friend, he works as a Menhir deliverer at the village.

Along with these characters, readers would also come across Vitalstatistix - the village chief, Cacafonix - the village bard, Fulliautomatix - the village blacksmith and Julius Caesar - the villain to the entire village!

In the first volume, 'Asterix the Gaul', Caeser's centurion Crismus Bonus implants a spy in the Gaulish village to learn about their inhuman strength. When he finds out that the reason for Romans' defeat is a magic potion, he kidnaps the wizard Getafix. Torture, death threat and bribe does not convince Getafix to churn the magic potion for Romans, and soon Asterix joins the party to rescue Getafix.
What follows is a flurry of rib tickling humor, as Asterix and Getafix use their strength, obstinacy, wit and charm to escape the Roman soldiers.

Rene's narration and Uderzo's illustrations are individually brilliant, and each go hand in hand to create a masterpiece. It is no wonder that Asterix is not forgotten even after five decades.

Obelix is pretty much obscure in this series, he makes a mark in few strips carrying huge stones or eating huge chunks of boars. The narration and character development becomes better with each series, but the first volume has enough magic to catch you hook line and sinker!

With Cheers to Gauls, there's more to come!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Dan Brown's most popular hero Robert Langdon wakes up at a hospital in Florence with no memory and with a tampered copy of Botticell's 'Map to Hell'. 

The plot has all the usual elements you would expect out of a Dan Brown Novel. 24 hour deadlines, unsuspected antagonists and Robert Langdon racing in and out of various monumental buildings.

Inferno has Langdon jump through hoops to find out the source of an unknown plague that will change the world we know. With very little information and no recent memories, the hero valiantly ploughs through the unknown with almost no help or support. It is amazing how Dan Brown manages to plant clues in Florentine architectures which makes for a very interesting read. The world of symbols, associations and imagery unfolds slowly to Robert as he seeks the answers he so desperately wants.

After a soaring start, the novel plunges halfway as though the author lost interest in writing. Dialogues are just as witty, there are brilliant nuggets of information, but the novel fails to shine as a whole unit. The reader is just loaded with facts after facts on Florence and the story simply fails to move on. Robert Langdon undergoes that tiresome journey without any light at the end of the tunnel. The author is being unreasonably whimsical by changing heroes to villains and back to being heroes and it is plainly ridiculous to even bother why. The climax doesn't give any sense of completion, nor does it give any closure to the people involved in the story. 

Inferno had the premise of an excellent plot, the most suitable hero already tailored for the plot, highly intellectual background for supporting the plot, but failed with a weak and defensive writing with no end purpose in any sense.
The author should have stuck to his guns with this one!