BOOK REVIEW: VIKRAMADITYA VEERGATHA BOOK 1 THE GUARDIANS OF THE HALAHALA

Book: Vikramaditya Veergatha Book 1 The Guardians of the Halahala

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Author: Shatrujeet Nath

Genre: Mythological Fiction

Published by: Jaico Books

Number of pages: 408 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy to read and review this book as I enjoy reading mythology, especially Hindu mythology.

The story begins with the Churning of the Ocean by the devas and the asuras. A stone is discovered which is believed to contain the Elixir. However, it turns out to contain the HalaHala, a poison that could destroy all of Creation. It is decided to take the poison to Shiva, the Omniscient One, as he is the only force capable of destroying the HalaHala.

The story moves forward in time to the reign of Vikramaditya who is just about to perform a “rajasuya yajna”. The Hunas who had been vanquished resurface with the warning that they intend to take back all of Sindhuvarta.

Vikramaditya is visited by a ‘sadhu’ who turns out to be none other than Lord Shiva, the Omniscient One. He is entrusted by the Lord with a dagger that contains a portion of the HalaHala and is asked to safeguard it.

Naturally the devas and the asuras come to know that Vikramaditya is in possession of the dagger and both sides want it. Vikramaditya, his Council of Nine and the capital of Ujjayini have to suffer various attacks by the devas and asuras respectively. The question is how long will they be able to withstand these attacks? The threat of the Hunas is still lurking on the horizon.

The characters in the story are very well depicted and the author brings the story to an ending that leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the sequel. Do read the book if you enjoy reading mythology. I recommend ‘The Guardians of the HalaHala’ to readers as enjoyable, interesting and informative.

BOOK REVIEW: ASHOK AND THE NINE UNKNOWN

Book: Ashok and the Nine Unknown

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Author: Anshul Dupare

Genre: Mythology, Fiction, Historical fiction

Published by: Rupa Publications

Number of pages: 224 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Emperor Ashok of the Maurya dynasty of course is one of the greatest kings in Indian history.

The story begins just after the end of the war of Kalinga. Ashok is on the battlefield feeling very guilty about the death and destruction caused by him, when he comes across a mortally wounded Kalingan soldier who has lost both his arms and an eye. The soldier curses Ashok and falls into the river.

Ashok is a changed man after the war and makes sincere attempts to improve the welfare of his people. The wounded soldier Amartya is rescued and revived by his brother Vatsal.

After meeting Ashok, Amartya leaves for Mayong, a strange land of magic.

Ashok decides to form a secret society and entrusts his chief minister Radhagupta with the task of finding nine experts in different fields.

In Mayong, Amartya has completely recovered from his injuries and has now gained a lot of knowledge about the secrets of Mayong. The magical Mayong comes under attack by unscrupulous people who want to learn the secrets of Mayong. They attack the city with dragons but the people of Mayong try their best to overcome them.

In addition to the secret society formed by Ashok, there is yet another secret society that has a hidden agenda.

What is the connection between Ashok and the lost city of Atlantis? What secrets does the Sphinx of Egypt hold? What is the connection between Ashok and Amartya? These are just some of the questions raised by the end of the story.

I believe that the author is planning to take the story forward in a sequel. I for one, am awaiting the sequel in order to get the answers to the questions raised. “Ashok and the Nine Unknown”, is a story that will certainly appeal to readers.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: VANARA THE LEGEND OF BAALI, SUGREEVA AND TARA

Book: Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara

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Author: Anand Neelakantan

Genre: Mythological Fiction

Published by: Penguin Books

Number of pages: 309 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy to read and review this book as I enjoy reading mythology, especially Hindu mythology. Also, it made a refreshing change from the recent novels that I have read.

Before I started reading the book, I realised that I did not know much about Baali or Sugreeva beyond what stories I had read based on the Ramayana. I knew practically nothing about Tara.

The book begins with a detailed introduction by the author who shares various stories about the births of Baali and Sugreeva. The author also explains how myths and stories have evolved over generations.

The story begins with Baali and Sugreeva, the two brothers being raised in the ashram of Sage Gautama. As the brothers belong to the tribe of the Vanaras or the Vana Naras, they are shunned as monkeys and made to do the menial work of the ashram.

Sugreeva witnesses Ahalya, the wife of Sage Gautama, committing adultery with Lord Indra, which sparks off a series of incidents that force the brothers to run away from the ashram and seek refuge in the forest.

The brothers wish to reunite with their tribe, the Vana Naras but are not easily accepted by the tribe. It is only the eunuch Riksarajas, who takes in the brothers and becomes an adoptive father to them. He takes them to Mahabali, the Asura emperor to study.

Meanwhile, an interesting love triangle starts between the brothers and Tara, the beautiful daughter of Sushena, the Vaidya of the Vana Naras. This tension between the three of them continues throughout the story.

Baali with the help of Sugreeva and Tara establishes the city of Kishkinda and attempts to restore the pride of the Vana Naras.

The circumstances that lead to the rift between the brothers which results in Sugreeva seeking out Rama and Lakshmana and Baali’s death, are extremely fascinating to read.

The characters in the story are portrayed wonderfully: Baali as the alpha male, Sugreeva as the younger brother with a sly streak, Tara who is an extremely capable woman and even Hanuman, Ravana, Rama and Lakshmana.

Do read the book if you enjoy reading mythology. I recommend ‘Vanara-The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara’ to readers as enjoyable, interesting and informative.