Archive for the ‘Mythological Fiction’ Category

06
Oct

In the Name of God

Review of The Krishna Key;  Ashwin Sanghi; Westland 2012

– Shana Susan Ninan

In his third book, The Krishna Key Sanghi spins a thrilling chase in the present day, drawn from history and Indian mythology. The central character, Ravi Mohan Saini is a historian, who finds out that he’s been accused of murdering friend Anil Varshney. A young soul has been brainwashed to be believe that he’s Lord Vishnu’s Kalki avatar, and takes to cleanse the world by removing certain people.

Racing against time, Saini travels to Dwaraka and Vrindavan to uncover the truth. Three more of his friends are under attack, and he’s gotta find a treasure that ties all the way back to Krishna’s times. A ‘key’ that will unlock the secret. He has to bring together four pieces of the seal or the key that’s possessed by four different people, in order to solve the puzzle. The four are descendants ofKrishna’s Yadava tribes – Saini, Satvat, Varshney and Chhedi.

With the story of the epic Mahabharatha very much in the foreground, Sanghi takes us back several eras, weaving a plot that entices history-lovers and others alike.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (8 votes cast)
30
May

Saving the World, The Kalki Way

Review of The Wordkeepers; Jash Sen; Duckbill Books; Rs 225

– Shana Susan Ninan

The first book of a series, Jash Sen’s The Wordkeeper is an interesting read in the Young Readers mythology/ fantasy genre. The cover caught my attention right away – glossy dark photo of a shiny green eye.

You’ll find humans, superhumans, gods, demi-gods and yakshas as characters, and the story is set at the end of the Kaliyug. Anya Sharma is a happy go lucky young girl whose life suddenly takes a turn. From her house in Bangalore to the out of space residence of the Supremo, and forest dwellings, Sen takes us through many locations, introducing characters as the plot thickens. Anya the wordkeeper has to find the Kalki avatar, Bilal, a young boy from a far off village. Does she find him in time? Who helps her? More questions and quests follow…

Considering I was reading a similarly plotted novel alongside Sen’s book, the Kalki avatar-Krishna’s legacy plot was a little dragging for me. So was the easy and lucid reading. But for a pre-teen or an adolescent, this is a great read, especially if they’re into Indian Mythology with contemporary leanings. The fantasy and adventure elements are sketched out well.

The pace lags a bit in places, and the story could do with some tight editing. Hoping the next two books will keep up the momentum.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (7 votes cast)
28
Feb

The Oath of the Vayuputras: Fulfilled?

Review of The Oath of the Vayuputras; Amish Tripathi; Westland Books 2013; pp 565

– Tiya Mary Joshi

Having read The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas, I pre-ordered my copy of  the third book in The Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi just to complete the series. (The first book was fresh, hence read the second; and the second was waiting for the third book to support it.) So getting down to the book, the cover page definitely is catchy, unlike how I find its contents. The innumerable references to various myths, histories, geographies at the least affirm that the author has done his homework on these quite a bit trying to make it more engrossing (maybe?), but even these doesn’t give enough fuel for the reader to be completely engrossed in the book.

In The Oath of the Vayuputras, the author tells us what the story is going to be about after a buildup of characters and events in the previous ones. Like its predecessors, this book too has its share of explanations on whom and how the characters or stories have come into being. The book shows how excessive good was turning evil, the two being the flip-sides of a coin. It’s filled with its own share of staunch believers, non-believers, the highly moral ones, the opportunists and the familiar lot.

My first question after reading the book was why is it titled so. The Vayuputras don’t make an entry till late in the book, and then too of not much consequence other than giving Shiva the divine astra. If it was in reference to the Neelkanth alone (ignoring the plural in the title), then I have to ask, what oath are we talking about? The destruction of evil? It does seem as if the author was hard pressed to name the book in a hurry.

Three things I like about the book:

First is its detailing, and it is this very same detailing which is the book’s undoing. Too much of anything does no good, right? Second is that the author leaves nothing left as a mysterious magical power, he explains everything in relation to something the reader can relate to. For example, take the divine astras being explained through nuclear fission and fusion for instance. Third, he portrays the characters of the world, and not any unworldly people, with divine powers.

What disappoints me in this book:

More than 500 pages of text in which I find nothing commendable in terms of literary excellence, or a plot, or seamless flow of reading. The details do become a bit too much in the absence of a rock hard plot to complement it. For all the build-up created in the previous two books (the reader keeps on waiting for a good plot to come out), no justice is done to the storyline. It’s like a promise unfulfilled. This is a passable book – read it for only finishing the series.

* The reviewer Tiya, a shaken and not stirred mix… A Chartered Accountant by qualification, ex-Software consultant by earlier employment, Fashion Designer by interest, a baker by love of cakes, an ardent dog lover and an avid reader by hobby… Settled in Bangalore, she runs her own online boutique after having taken a break from her earlier employment. She has her own one-off moments when she will pen down a few lines of poetry and then leave it at that and just go pick up a book to read, mostly Tolkien… (Read that as diehard Tolkien fan)

So isn’t that just shaken and not stirred?

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Rating: 8.6/10 (9 votes cast)
15
Oct

Unmasking The Truths

Review of The Secret Of The Nagas; Amish Tripathi; Westland 2011; pp 396; Rs 295

– Shana Susan Ninan

Proceeding from where Amish Tripathi’s first book in the Shiva Trilogy, The Immortals Of Meluha paused, the chase continues in his The Secret Of The Nagas. The Naga who was responsible for the death of Shiva’s close friend Brahaspati, and who now follows Sati, doesn’t seem to give up. He does not kill Shiva or Sati when he gets the chance, but leaves them slightly wounded.

The couple plans to find the Naga, among trying to uncover many other mysteries. The Nagas’ capital across the Dandakaranya forests, Pachavati, is a guarded city, the location of which is unknown to the Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis. But Shiva has to reach there – to his aid comes Parashuram, one of the many new characters in the sequel.

Sati, too, is faced with many problems, the most painful of which is something that she cannot handle. The Mahadev is always by her side, not overbearing but just there. The two of them see how Kings and rulers change sides, attack innocents, plot and manipulate various events. Even Sati’s father, Daksha, is not too far behind in conspiracies.

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Rating: 7.8/10 (9 votes cast)
31
Aug

“Shiva is the most appealing God for the modern man.”

By Shana Susan Ninan

Amish Tripathi, author of The Immortals Of Meluha, is a lover of history and historical books. His other job – the bread-wining one – is as the National Head for Marketing and Product Management, IDBI Fortis Life Insurance. His debut novel was an instant hit and is a national bestseller now. This bubbly author speaks:

How does it feel to have just published your debut novel?

Shocked and surprised! I’d never written anything in my life. Except a try at poetry that was universally disliked by the few who read it. I was more into sports and singing in school and college. The only ‘creative’ thing I did was when I was the singer for our band, Baro C, in IIM-C. The English band was called Joka Bandstand, after one of the bus-stops near our Institute. Ours was called Baro C, after the bus plying on that route.

How did The Immortals Of Meluha take shape?

There’s an interesting story on how The Immortals Of Meluha came to be.

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Rating: 9.2/10 (12 votes cast)