Why I Loved ‘The Rule of Four’

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

“Published over 500 years ago, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is one of the most treasured and least understood books of early Western printing. Coded in seven languages, it is an intricate mathematical mystery and a tale of love and arcane brutality that has baffled scholars since 1499.”

The first time I read about it was when I came across an article about a novel that was based on interpreting the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Probably around 3-4 years ago. And, obviously, I found it interesting. I had read all of Dan Brown‘s books and was impressed by the writing style, the suspense, pretty much everything, in fact. And when I read about this book which seemed to be in the same genre – a perfect blend of suspense, mystery, secret codes, history and much more – I

immediately put it down in my to-read list. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason.

The book, basically, revolves around how two friends, about to graduate from Princeton, are on the verge of of solving the codes in the Hypnerotomachia and the sudden murder of a fellow researcher makes them realize they are in danger.

Well, I got to read the book recently. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the wait. Most reviews compare it positively to the Da Vinci Code, some say it is a mixture of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco. Personally, if you ask me, I’d say: a Dan Brown fan would like the book, definitely. But the Rule of Four is no Da Vinci Code. The latter was about secret codes, symbology, secret societies, religion with elements like suspense, murder, fast-paced action…you know what I’m talking about. If you notice, the Da Vinci Code does not dwell too much on emotional aspects, relationships and the like.

What I felt after reading the Rule of Four is that it is predominantly about friendship, love, family, emotions; about how the Hypnerotomachia affects the relationships of the protagonist. What the Da Vinci Code lacks in emotional aspects, the Rule of Four more than makes up for it. And I loved the book, especially because of that! The best part, I think, is that amidst all the emotions, the

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

suspense never takes a backseat. Which is kind of difficult to maintain when you’re trying to juggle quite a few genres in a single novel. Even though some reviews I found online criticized this ‘juggling of genres’ as ineffective, I found it interesting and, to be honest, distinct for a novel that is basically categorized as suspense/thriller. Or maybe, it’s just me and my perspective. I expected to find a pure mystery and got something with more depth and emotions than a mere thriller. So, while some might think it was overrated, I’d say: I LOVED it!

Here’s a passage from it that I absolutely loved:

“…that the present is simply a reflection of the future. Imagine that we spend our whole lives staring into a mirror with the future at our backs, seeing it only in the reflection of what is here and now. Some of us would begin to believe that we could see tomorrow better by turning around to look at it directly. But, those who did, without even realizing it, would’ve lost the key to the perspective they once had. For the one thing they would never be able to see in it was themselves. By turning their backs on the mirror, they would become the one element of the future their eyes could never find.”

If you’ve read the book, do let me know what you think. Did you like it? 

Taken Over By Laziness… :P

I know I’ve been really lazy and my recent posts sound like nonsense, more than ever  (this one will probably beat it!!). And I feel really bad about it. Trust me, I do. I haven’t been feeling all that great during the past couple of days. I did try to write something, to be honest. But I was completely blank, didn’t know what to write, couldn’t think of anything good enough to post. Today, I thought I should finally sit down and post something…just push myself to do it, or I would never get over my lazy phase. 😛 And here I am! Tadaaaa!

I’ve been sitting in front of the computer screen for almost an hour. And yet, this is all I was able to come up with. Must be a serious attack of writer’s block, I suppose. By the way, I finished the book I was reading – Flesh & Blood by Jonathan Kellerman. I read the outline on the back cover and I bought it because it seemed to have a lot of psychology in it. And I absolutely love psychology! Later, when I  googled the author, I found out that he is, in fact, a psychologist. Anyway, the book was a great read. It maintains the level of suspense right from the beginning till the end. I was really engrossed in it, never found it boring at any point. But for some reason, I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the way it ended. I don’t know what else I wanted, because there was nothing wrong or bad with its ending. Yet, somehow, I just didn’t feel complete after I finished it.

Anyway, I had a lazy weekend. Went out on a couple of days, loafed around, read a book, watched some movies, blah blah. Nothing new. And yes, I tried to get over the low I seem to be experiencing. I tried books, coffee, music, going out…the usual. I wouldn’t really say it worked, but yeah, I’m feeling a tiny bit better.

I’m planning to watch some of my all-time fav movies…I kinda have a feeling that could do the trick! Let’s see. 🙂 Do hang around, anyway. I’m sure I’ll come up with something better next time, and you wouldn’t want to miss it! 😛

 

Thrilled, Touched & Horrified OR What I Did Last Night :D

Yesternight, I realized something else I hate in people. I HATE it when people watch a movie and then come publicize (read: go around shouting) the twist/suspense in the movie, just so that they can spoil the experience for others who haven’t watched the movie yet or are planning to watch it soon. I hate it so much that I can’t even begin to tell you how much! And yesterday, it happened to me. Till now, I have had to go through this twice, but both the times, it wasn’t about a movie I was keen on watching. So, it didn’t matter if I knew the suspense beforehand. But last night,  a roommate of mine got this movie I had been longing to watch ( ‘Kahaani‘ – a Hindi movie starring Vidya Balan). She watched it and when she came to the room, she started saying something about the movie and I stopped her, I told her I wanted to watch it. Right away, she came and blurted out the suspense part to me! I got so irritated. Anyway, I kept quiet because I didn’t want us to have an issue just before leaving.

Anyhow, what I mean to emphasize here is the fact that I totally hate people who do this. I don’t know what they get from it but it’s one of the worst things they could do to someone who loves movies and the experience that each one offers. Like me. Well, it didn’t stop me from watching the movie anyway. I watched it, last night, with Merlin. And, inspite of knowing the twist, I LOVED it! So much that it failed to leave my mind… 🙂 Vidya Balan has done an amazing job… I guess she is the only person who could have done it; somehow, the other Bollywood actresses don’t really have the ‘guts’ (yes, you need guts to pull off a role like that) and the talent…atleast according to me. Well, Kahaani is a movie I’d highly recommend to everyone out there. Do try to watch it when you can! 🙂

After watching Kahaani, Merlin and I weren’t sleepy. So, we went on to watch this Malayalam movie that both of us LOVE. We had already seen it once (in fact, I had seen it twice) but wanted to watch it once more. So, that’s what we did. The movie I’m talking about  – Traffic (2011) – is one of the best Malayalam movies I’ve got to watch in the recent years. It moved me in ways I cannot explain; it touched me like no other Malayalam movie ever has. It is one movie that will always make it to my top 10 list; one movie that I could watch over and over again, and still be moved as much as I was when I saw it first. The background score is AMAZING (actually everything about he movie is!)…brilliantly woven into the plot and evokes a lot of emotions in me. It showcases excellence in almost every facet, be it acting, script, dialogues, music. Apart from all this, Traffic is thought-provoking, and always leaves me thinking of how we make mountains out of molehills when all we need to do is take it easy and live life. 🙂

After Traffic, Merlin and I watched Amusement, an American 2008 horror film. OK, I know we seem to be mixing up every genre. But we happened to be extremely ‘unsleepy’. 🙂 Though, unlike the awesome reviews for the previous 2 movies, I don’t have anything good to say about Amusement. I didn’t like it at all. Amusement sucked! I don’t know why they even made the movie, it made no sense to me. Like most horror movies I have come across, to be frank. That gives me an idea for another post. Meaning: more coming up on horror movies…SOON! 🙂

So…last night, we stayed up until almost 4:30am, watching 3 movies of 3 different languages & genres, back-to-back. One experience I might not get again! 🙂