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Book Review: Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathy

Title: Shiva Trilogy (The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas, The Oath of the Vayuputras)
Author: Amish Tripathy
Paperback: 1. 436 pages, 2. 396 pages, 3. 565 pages
Publisher: Westland (April 1st 2010, August 12th 2011, February 27th 2013)
Genre: Indian Mythology
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On:
The Immortals of Meluha:Amazon | FlipKart
The Secrets of the Nagas: Amazon | FlipKart
The Oath of the Vayuputras: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)

1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation. The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Meluha a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils.
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge.
Is the rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva, really that hero? And does he want to be that hero at all? Drawn suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as by love, will Shiva lead the Suryavanshi vengeance and destroy evil?
Today, He is a God.
4000 years ago, He was just a man.
In a journey that will take him across the length and breadth of ancient India, Shiva searches for the truth in a land of deadly mysteries only to find that nothing is what it seems.
Only A God Can Stop It.
Shiva is gathering his forces. He reaches the Naga capital, Panchavati, and Evil is finally revealed. The Neelkanth prepares for a holy war against his true enemy, a man whose name instils dread in the fiercest of warriors.
Will he succeed? And what will be the real cost of battling Evil? To India? And to Shiva’s soul?

My Review:

Note: Thanks to the guys at MySmartPrice for offering me “The Oath of the Vayuputras” to review :)

Cover: All three covers have been beautifully designed with vibrant colours and textures.

Paper and font: The font was fine but I felt the paper and print quality kept varying through the books. I may have got a bad bind but my copy of the first book was a pain to hold up and read with one hand.

Readability, language: : Not a lot of big words that I didn’t already know, the books are quick reads even though they are big.

Why did I choose this book: I’ve been hearing a lot about the series and with my interest in mythology, there’s no way I’d have missed this series.

I have waited a long time to read this series. Yeah yeah I know book 1 and 2 were available but after seeing Che’s reaction to book 1, I decided to wait until 3 came out. I didn’t want to wait between books. That of course meant I heard a lot of opinions on the books and that did leave me a bit worried. Most people said the first book was good but two was a drag and three was quite a drag. With all that I heard I wondered if I would get to book three or would I give up midway.

Amish makes the premise that Shiva is a man and that there are no magical gods when writing his trilogy. The story starts off with Shiva coming to the plains from the banks of the Mansarovar to fulfil his destiny of ridding the world of evil. On drinking somras, the elixir of those times, his throat turns blue and people bow to the Neelkanth who has come to save them. Only the Neelkanth is reluctant to believe he is the saviour of the people and there starts the story of Shiva, who from a mere man becomes the Mahadev.

Evil is not a person, it is an idea or belief. This is something Shiva has to learn on his journey through the three books.

In “The Immortals of Meluha” Shiva meets the Meluhans who have found immortality. They are Suryavanshis who follow the path set out by Ram. They have order and discipline in their lives and believe in the betterment of the community rather than that of the individual. He fights the Chandravanshis who are the descendants of Ram too and have different beliefs and lifestyles to the Suryavanshis only to realise they aren’t evil.

This realisation leads him to the Nagas in “The Secret of the Nagas”. It’s in meeting them that he learns of Kali, the other half of his wife Sati and has to make peace with Ganesh, the other son of Sati. It is in this book that Karthik makes his appearance growing up faster than a normal boy. The Nagas take him to their city – Panchvati where Shiva again has to confront and revise his idea and understanding of evil.

 

“The Oath of the Vayuputras” is about Shiva’s confrontation with evil and his fighting the righteous fight. He teams up with the Vasudevs who are the guides of the Rudra avatar to take on evil and meets and understands the previous Mahadev Rudra through his tribe the Vayuputras who are sworn to support the Neelkanth in his war against evil. The book isn’t about whether Shiva will win, that’s a given but rather about how a man becomes so loveable that we still love, fear and worship him to this day.

The characters of the books are the ones we all grew up hearing about in our grandma’s stories – Shiva, Sati, Kali, Ganesh, Karthik…, they are all there in human believable form. Not gods but human beings like you and me who are flawed and yet loved. And there were some I’d never heard of before like Badhra, Shiva’s best friend, Krittika, Sati best friend, Parvateshwar the amy general after whom Sati is also called Parvati, among others. The characters are well sketched and memorable; each one of them.

Set in the Sapt Sindu or land of seven rivers the trilogy stays largely towards North India. Guess Amish’s next series will be on the South 😀 That said he has done a great job describing the terrain through the book. In my minds eye it was a movie playing out as I read the book. I could imagine the cities, the rivers and the wars so vividly through the book.

I enjoyed the trilogy and was hooked until the end. Didn’t like the last couple of lines though 😛 On one count I agree with all other reviews that the first book had pace but two and three are a drag. There is a lot of description rather than action. But I quite enjoyed that. One of the best parts of the book for me was the scientific reasoning behind all that magical technology of those times. It was interesting to read about the magic behind the divya astras, the bhramastra, and such (Amish has definitely done his research). I had seen too much magic in the Ramayan and Mahabharata on TV growing up.

I love stories and mythology is nothing but that, add to this the number of Gods we have in Hinduism and the two Epics and you have never ending stories. How can I not love Indian mythology. This trilogy is great if you like Indian mythology; well written it is an enjoyable read but be warned it does get draggy as you progress through the books.

Buy On:
The Immortals of Meluha:Amazon | FlipKart
The Secrets of the Nagas: Amazon | FlipKart
The Oath of the Vayuputras: Amazon | FlipKart

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