Book Review : The Guardians of the Halahala

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: Goodreads

Image Courtesy: Goodreads

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

Review: 

Confessions first: I don’t like fantasy, hence I don’t read fantasy. Not really ashamed, but I haven’t even read Harry Potter, though I liked the movies and would read the series (soon). Mythology fares a notch better, as I haven’t read much there, just a stray okayish novels by Indian writers. Now when these two genres are blended and mythology is not drab or boring – comes The Vikramaditya Trilogy.

The first chunk of memory that Vikramaditya evokes is that of the television series ‘Vikram aur Betaal.’ Though sloppily made, it was our first exposure to this mytho-historical king in childhood. Decades later, Vikramaditya comes back in written, with a lot of resolve, spunk and war. The book begins promisingly with Vikramaditya happily ruling Avanti and a small ripple is created by a pack of Huna soldiers who seem to be on the verge of return. The readers are gradually acquainted with the king and his kins, his navaratna or nine councillors, the queens and their apathy towards each other.

For the uninitiated, Halahala is the poison that was churned from the oceans, expecting Amrit instead. It was deemed to be so potent that it could destroy the three universes and who better than the destroyer himself to consume the poison and save everyone. Continue reading

Book Review : Ramayana – Shattered Dreams

Blurb View: 

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Shattered Dreams is the sequel to the national bestseller, Rise of the Sun Prince, in the new spiritual and motivational series Ramayana – The Game of Life. Twelve joyful years have passed in Ayodhya since the wedding of Rama and Sita at the end of Book 1.

Now, in Shattered Dreams, Shubha Vilas narrates the riveting drama of Rama’s exile. Through tales of Rama’s unwavering and enigmatic persona, the book teaches us how to handle reversals positively; through Bharata’s actions, it teaches us to handle temptation; and through Sita’s courage, to explore beyond our comfort zone. This complicated family drama provides deep insights on how human relationships work and how they fail.

With Valmiki’s Ramayana as its guiding light, Shattered Dreams deftly entwines poetic beauty from the Kamba Ramayana and Ramacharitramanas, as well as folk philosophy from the Loka Pramana tales, to demonstrate how the ancient epic holds immediate relevance to modern life. Experience the ancient saga of the Ramayana like never before.

Review: 

Ramayan and Mahabharat have been the flavours of quite a few seasons now. While some of them focus on re-telling the epics, either picking a character and exploring their perspective or choosing an episode to elaborate and fictionalise. Here comes a new genre of narrating the epics – to add spiritual and philosophical explanations of their actions and thoughts. Quite innovative and introspective it turns out to be.

Since we’re all familiar with the basic storyline of Ramayan, it doesn’t matter that I haven’t read the prequel of this book – Ramayana – Rise of the Sun Prince. Shattered Dreams – Book 2 deals with the coronation and exile of Ram. The format of the book is very unique with the story divided into nine chapters and each page carrying footnotes with insights on the happenings. I’d say the notes are much more interesting than the story itself (which we all know by heart) and could have constituted the entire book.

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