June 4th, 2016

Me

Book Critique 2016 – 03/05/2016: The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy - Book I)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: If you like reading the darker-side of any mythology, it’s a definite pick. The famous mythology made humanoid casting light on all the society evils giving the entire story a new point of view.

The Immortals of Meluha is the first book in the Shiva Trilogy written by Amish Tripathi and published in February of 2010. The plot is set in the land of Meluha and revolves around the people of Meluha, their king Daksha, Shiva - Chief of Guna Tribe and the fight of Meluhans against the Chandravanshis and the Nagas.



Shiva, Chief of the Guna tribe is invited by King Dakhsa - ruler of Meluha - to aid them in their fight against the Chandravanshis from the neighboring land Swadweep and the Nagas and also in trying to save their primary river Saraswati - their life force. During their visit Shiva's tribe falls sick. However when Ayurvati - Chief of Medicine of the Meluhans - gives the medicine to Shiva his throat turns blue while the rest heal. Per the legend the Meluhans believe that a warrior with a blue neck will be their savior. Seeing Shiva's neck turn blue they declare him as Neelakanth - their savior. Thus starts the interesting journey for Shiva in the land of Meluha and beyond.

During his stay at Devagiri, capital of Meluha, he meets Sati - daughter of King Daksha - and falls for her. But his advances are rejected by Sati because she is a Vikarma - an untouchable due to sins of her past lives. He also meets Brahaspati - Chief inventor of the Meluhans - and forges a friendship for life. Through whom he finds out the legendary Somras which is manufactured using the water of Saraswati. Somras is the actual life source for the Meluhans and hence the panic around the decreasing levels of Saraswati River. In the midst of all this the Meluhans are attacked by the Nagas. Now it lands up on Shiva's shoulder to gather the forces, working along-side Devagiri Chief Minister Kanakhla and the Head of Meluhan Army, Parvateshwar - to fight the Nagas and the Chandravanshis.

Will Shiva and Sati get married? Who are these Nagas? Why are they outcasted? Will River Saraswati be saved? What is the motive behind the Chadravanshis to keep attacking the Meluhans always? Now that Shiva is Neelakantha, what is his destiny? Will he accept it? Author Amish has cleverly used the actual mythology to weave within the humanoid characters and simultaneously bringing into light the society evils and human weaknesses - Vikarma (abolishing someone because of the so called sins of past life), Nagas (outcasted because of deformities), Somras (a medicinal drink that could have been used for more better use).

A well written book that I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. Different from the normal kind of books I read so it took a little time to get into it. But once I got in, I couldn’t put the book down. Enjoy the read.
Me

Book Critique 2016 – 03/06/2016: The Secret of the Nagas (Shiva Trilogy - Book II)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For the review on all three books, Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: If you like reading the darker-side of any mythology, it’s a definite pick. The famous mythology made humanoid casting light on all the society evils giving the entire story a new point of view.

The Secret of the Nagas was the second book the in the Shiva Trilogy written by Amish Tripathi and published in August of 2011. The story of Shiva and Sati, the truth behind the Nagas and the Chandravanshis continues in this book.



Shiva who was declared as Neelakantha in the first book, because of Somras turning his neck blue, wages a counter-attack against the Chandravanshis when they had attacked the Meluhans. In the subsequent ending Shiva comes to know of a shocking truth. Both the Meluans and Chandravanshis have been waiting for the Neelakanth to save them from each other. Shiva also learns his destiny while visiting Ayodhya, capital of Chandravanshis land Swadweep. The first book had ended with Shiva running to the aid of Sati when a Naga had stood much closer to her.

Shiva thinks that this Naga had killed his friend Brahaspati in the first war. But the Naga escapes leaving some coins with odd engravings. The clues lead them (Shiva, Sati, General Parvateshwar, his associates Nandi and Veerbhadra, Ayurvati the doctor, and Bhagirath and Anandamayi, the prince and princess of Ayodhya) to Kashi where they meet the Brangha community to find more about the Nagas. While there Parvateshwar gets injured gravely. But Divodas - chief of Brangha community administers a herb that heals him immediately - a herb that grows only in Panchavati. And Branghas have been allied with Nagas trading the herb for being saved from mortal plague. Shiva decides to travel to Branga to learn more about the medicine for which he needed special ships that would take six months to make. In that six months Sati gives birth to Kartik, her son with Shiva.

While Shiva embarks the journey to Branga, Sati stays back at Kashi help the King. A group of lions attack the King, so Sati and her soldiers fight against them. When they reach a point of losing a group of Nagas headed by a woman and a man help them in killing all the lions. Sati is shocked to learn that the woman was her twin sister Kali and the man was her son, Ganesha, from her first husband. Her father Daksha had denounced them because they were born with deformities - Kali with an extra pair of functioning hands and Ganesha with the face that looks like an elephant. Devastated she takes them back to Kashi and waits for the return of Shiva.

Thus follows the second leg of Shiva's journey that started when he first left his tribe to Meluha. Will Shiva find the recipe for the medicine? Will he accept Ganesha since he had killed his best friend? Who is Parasurama - the man who lives a secluded life in Branga? Why is Daksha so against the deformed folks called Nagas? What other crimes had Daksha committed? What will Shiva and Sati find when they travel to Dandak Forest to the Naga capital? What is the greatest secret of Nagas?

All of it can be found filed in the pages with immortal words, if I may say. Another episode that I could not put it down until I finish it. Brilliantly written by Amish pulling all the pieces together and still keeping the essence of the actual mythology in it. I always wondered if the so called mythological Gods were humans in reality so many eons ago but with special powers. Hence they became Gods. Amish's book brings my thought to life and that simply tickled me to continue the read. Hope you get tickled too and pick this book as your next one.
Me

Book Critique 2016 – 03/07/2016: The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy - Book III)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For the review on all three books, Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: If you like reading the darker-side of any mythology, it’s a definite pick. The famous mythology made humanoid casting light on all the society evils giving the entire story a new point of view.

The Oath of the Vayuputras is the conclusion of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi published in February of 2013. This was the book that I loved the most in the trilogy. The characterization of Sati and Shiva is superior and makes you wonder if that was the reason why they became immortal as gods in reality. And what a perfect book to review on the day we celebrate Shivaratri - festival honoring Lord Shiva. Happy Shivratri everyone.



The Secret of Nagas ends with Shiva finding out that his friend Brahaspati is indeed alive and that Somras is not a healing liquid but infact causes ill effects on people of India. More so the process of making Somras is evil - using the waters of River Saraswati causing it to deplete; throwing the waste into Tsangpo River which eventually flows into Brahmaputra River in Branga territory causing their plague and ultimately causing birth defects resulting in the Nagas.

Knowing this Shiva travels to the hidden city of Ujjain and meet the chief of Vasudev pandits, Gopal. Through him he comes to know that Vayuputra Council - an ancient tribe left by previous Mahadev Lord Rudra - trains a member of their tribe as the Neelkanth whenever "evil" rises. Shiva realized that his uncle Manobhu was the member of this council and he was trained as Neelkanth from the beginning. After pondering a lot, Shiva comes to a conclusion that Meluha is the center of Somras manufacturing thus causing so many evils around. He implores to the people of Meluha not use Somras. When unheeded, he declares holy war against Meluha.

He is joined by Branga, Vaishali and Kashi kingdoms thus getting him the aid of the Nagas, the Brangas and the Vasudev elephant corps to attack Meluha. His sons Kartik and Ganesha simultaneously attack Ayodhya. Parvateshwar returns to Meluha as he believes that he need to be loyal to his country and Anandamayi joins him too. Sati attends a peace treaty with her father King Daksha but is attacked by the Egyptian assassins. Thus continues the war that Shiva wages on the Meluha in order to save the country from being harmed further.

What is the fate of each of these warriors at the end? Who had orchestrated the sequences starting from Shiva being trained as Neelakanth? Will the sacrifices of Shiva, Sati, Kali, Ganesh and Kartik open the eyes of everyone around? Will Shiva use the most dangerous astras (weapons of mass destruction)? Do they all end up becoming what we treat them now as - gods? Who learns a lesson and who fails? A tale that one has to read to know the answers.

The strength of Sati amazed me in this tale. All along she had been portrayed as soft with a tenacious heart but this part shows the side of her as a warrior with a strong soul. As for Shiva, one gets to see that he is a powerful leader, a strategist and a true soul-mate to Sati. Again Amish has spun the words around the different incidents and tied the characters well together. His usage of language was also much better in this part. I can't seem to erase the visions I had in front of my eyes while reading this book. The imprint went deep onto the bones for me.

I recommend that you read all three to get the plot, characters and the reasons for why they make decisions that they made. Nicely concluded by tying it up in a neat bow to the mythology we know. Definite pick!