I recently finished the Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi. The Shiva Trilogy impressed me a lot so expectations were high from this one too.
Expectation were met, but not on every count. Story telling being one of them.
The story of Shiva was totally new to me; hence I enjoyed the story telling a lot. Ramayan has been with me ever since I have started to make sense of this world, with my mother reading out the story from a Bengali graphic book. Then came the TV series and a full-fledged course book in Hindi in 6th standard which made sure I knew the main story sketch by heart. So, reading and reflecting upon a fictional take on this epic was not so easy. I thought the pace was a little slow and dialogues a tad too simple.
Highlights include the recurring debate of masculine and feminine way of living throughout the book (an important theme in the Shiva Trilogy too). The cross references have been constructed nicely and I was tempted to re-read Shiva Trilogy again to refresh my memory. A good parallel story on the ‘bonhomie’ between the two sages, Vashishta and Vishwamitra, was another plus point. On retrospect, the popular characters have always been the warriors from the two eipcs but the sages that appear in them seldom make it to the list. I t would be great if someone can suggest me some novels on Indian sages.
The author has again portrayed the female characters as strong, incredible and at par with the male ones. The Asura clan, too, have been shown through a different lens though I suggest the book Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan for anyone who needs a fresh and dramatically different story on Raavan. That book really impressed me with the author’s level of imagination and made me reflect upon the prevalent beliefs about the traditional Ramayan.
Next up is revisiting Mahabharat; the book is The Palace of Illusions 🙂 .