Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: Black Jack By Rani Manicka

Hi there my paranormally distracted readers! 
My second distraction today comes from a mind-blowing story by Rani Manicka. Black Jack was all I needed for the hot summer nights on the porch last week and it made me contemplate for several nights  looking at the stars after I was done with it.
 I was honored to provide a review for this book and you can read all about what I think of it at the end of this post. First, let's get to know Black Jack and its author. Don't forget to earn your entries in the Giveaway! Enjoy!

Title: Black Jack
Author:  Rani Manicka
Published:  June 7th, 2013
Word Count:  80,000
Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy

Synopsis: A story about suffering, betrayal, love and hope.
At seven she became another missing child statistic. Seven years later her life is a strange, lonely existence. Her memories are not her own and her special powers have been harnessed for the sole use of her owners. To the people who guard her 24 hours a day she is known as Dakota, but they also know she is dangerous, so dangerous that she must never think for herself.
Fourteen-year-old Black dreams of another life. Hidden away in his bedroom with only his mother and a television for stimulation, each day mirrors the last.
When Black is visited by an inter-dimensional being it becomes a pivotal moment. A door to another world opens and changes Blacks life forever. Soon Black is propelled on a collision course with a powerful ancient secret society.
To save mankind, he must play… the Devil’s game…

But what are they really after and how far will they go to get what they want.  With deceit and betrayal all around… JUST WHO CAN HE TRUST?

Rani Manicka is an International best-selling novelist and the author of three previous books. Her works have been translated in 26 languages. Black Jack is her fourth and latest novel. A provocative, unforgettable tale that questions the beliefs that lie at the very heart of humankind.

About the Author:

Rani Manicka was born in Malaysia and spent her childhood on a long white, beach in the company of natural storytellers. But when she was six, she was stuffed into a uniform and banished to school. In protest, she quickly mastered the art of reading novels during class. Though, she had never dreamed of writing herself, a chance encounter with a woman scorned in an Italian restaurant inspired her first plot.

Her first novel The Rice Mother, Infused with her own Sri Lankan family history, is a vividly imaginative story about the frailties of human nature and the terrible consequences of war. It won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003. Her subsequent novel, Touching Earth is a dark and compelling tale of love, betrayal and addiction. The Japanese Lover, set in Malaya during the Japanese occupation is an absorbing tale of the intense passion between captor and captured. Rani's books have been translated into 26 languages. She lives with the two great loves of her life; Rick and their beautiful son/dog, Ty.

Rani Manicka's latest novel BLACK JACK is out NOW.

Last night was fuzzy in his memory. He remembered going to a club, a special place where they played kings and queens in the back rooms. He didn’t know why he still felt the need to frequent such seedy places, but it was only there amongst the most degenerate of humans that he felt he could be himself. In places like that there was no need to pretend and hide. All was filth, and so was he.

He walked silently into their bathroom. When they had been on their honeymoon his wife had seen this design in a ladies’ toilet in Richmond, England. And she had never forgotten it. Ten years ago when they had moved into this house she had recreated it. An English design. Blue patterns on white, like china. Pretty. He switched on the lights and stepped up to the mirror and blinked, his eyes still unused to the sudden brightness. Someone had written on his bathroom mirror with pink lipstick.

His jaw dropped as he read the message that was scrawled across the mirror in bold handwriting. His first reaction was one of fear. That someone had entered his bedroom while he had slept and written on his mirror. Then the expression in his eyes changed to one of disbelief. Below the mirror, lying without its lid, was the lipstick used. He picked it up slowly and looked at the blunted edge. And tried to remember. How? When? He looked again at the words.

No doubt about it. The handwriting was his. He sat on the broad, wooden toilet seat
an English antique specially flown in. He turned toward the mirror and looked at his own shocked face behind the writing. He had no memory of writing the words. He closed his eyes and thought hard about the night before. But it remained elusive. Shadows. And it occurred to him that this was not the first time there were gaps in his memory.

There was only one explanation and that one was totally unacceptable.

Black Jack is a book I will never regret having read, spotlighted and, of course, reviewed. A fan of metaphysical and conspiracy theories myself, I found in Rani Manicka’s book a literary version of various major considerations reflecting elements and approaches in the layman’s effort to provide answers to the big questions about our world.
 But let me be more precise:

What I liked about Black Jack:

  • The beginning of the story is strong which, for me, is always one of the most important assets in a good story.
  • The story. It is original with just as many science fiction and metaphysical elements as needed and with tension building page by page in a way that the reader becomes hooked chapter by chapter.     
  •         The way Rani included information from the research she has obviously done on many different theories regarding extraterrestrial beings, manipulation of the public opinion and conspiracy theories to create the background of her story. The references in the back pages intrigue the readers into starting their own research on the topics the writer has touched ever so smoothly. She succeeded in making it more realistic and might make you wonder: what if....?
  •  The rich vocabulary and the way she skillfully altered her style according to the POV she chose to speak through.
  •    The use of surprisingly short but meaningful quotations as chapter headings; I was drawn into reading those wonderful words again and again and try to decipher them before going on with the chapter.

What I would change:
There is nothing I would really change in Black Jack but if I should find a" weak" point I’d go like this: perhaps I would limit the metaphysical/spiritual elements that might confuse the novice readers of the genre as too much information and from many different fields is already included in this story. That being said, I should also mention that the book stands as a metaphysical story at its heart according to the writer.

The strongest point:
In the first chapters I was shocked by the intensity of the scenes that, for people who are really sensitive when it comes to children, may touch the border of revulsion. It was not long before I realized that this was exactly the feeling the writer was aiming at in order to adeptly involve the reader into her story. I have to admit that the effect of the description of events and characters was totally successful.

I would recommend it to those who love paranormal, metaphysical and science fiction stories as well as to fans of conspiracy theories.

My rating: 5/5 hearts!

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
·         5 ebook copies of Black Jack.
Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep being distracted by reading,

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