This trilogy by Amish Tripathi (@amisht) was a fascinating read. I bought the first book out of curiosity. I had seen a video of Amish’s talk in the India today Conclave. I was impressed. He seemed a very well-read person. He was quoting the Upanishads, the Vedas, several mythological texts. I chugged through the first book on 2 rail journeys, both of which I did not sleep a wink. I could not put the book down. I came back from the trip and ordered the other two right away, and finished them the following weekend.
My reviews (of restaurants, books, products) are typically my random thoughts bulleted down in no particular order, and this shall be no different.
- The familiarity with the character names made me relate to the plot. Shiva, and Brihaspathi, and Sati, and Nandi. All very well known characters in Hindu mythology.
- The settings was also well done. He comes down from Tibet and down the Gangetic plains. Some well known landmarks like Varanasi etc make it very realistic.
- The overall plot is the good-vs-evil rivalry. However, one particular thing that strikes out is when he learns about what the previous Rudra used to say – “What we call evil, may just be that, they are different from the good guys.” And maybe even the Asuras were just different. And since we can never stand people different from us, we call them evil. And we try to convert them to our ways, or, in other words, make them “good”.
- I liked the way he describes the contrasts between the way of life between the rigid Suryavanshis and the carefree Chandravanshis.
- The portrayal of Nagas as being gory to look at, but golden at heart – seemed a bit cliche. But it was well fitted into the plot.
- Several stories are nicely borrowed from Hindu mythology (such as Parasurama beheading his mother).
- I liked the segue between the books. Not abrupt. Not too TV-serial-like. You could very well finish a book and read the next book a month later. (I dare you to, though!).
- Some of the stuff is based on actual archeological research findings like the existence of an underwater water stream source in the path of the Saraswati river.
- The action fight sequences are the right level of gore – not too gory, but not flitting either.
- I would have liked it if the war sequences were described more in detail – I loved LOTR for this.
- Some of the scenes are just beautifully described – like Shiva sitting on a ledge in the High himalayas and gazing at the never ending scenery in front of him.
- There are some folk who have objected to Shiva smoking a Chillum, but hey, this is fiction. And there is nothing wrong in making him a cool God.
- In the interest of not spoiling the ending for those who have not read the book, let me just say that, I did not expect this ending. (Which perhaps was Amish’s intention anyway).
- Overall, this is my first Indian Mythological fiction. I loved it. I think I will read some more (when I get the time, that is).
(Image courtesy: hinduism.about.com)