13 of 15 people found this review helpful
14 July, 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone with Indian roots.
This book is an exciting fictional take on Shiva and related mythological events and characters. Some parts of this book make you appreciate the richness and depth of the mythology one grows up with in India, but rarely ponders overs. Other parts challenge the conventional understanding of the myths and elements of ancient Indian culture.
Right of the bat, I will caution that the quality of writing is not great. The author makes Dan Brown look like a literary genius. The writing style is shallow and lacks expression and illustrative power. The characters feel a bit synthetic and contrived. The dialogue seems awkward, cliched and sometimes cheesy. Use of 'everyday Indian English' for the dialogue, allegedly to make ancient characters easy to identify with, is in fact distracting and annoying
However, what the author lacks in writing skills, he more than makes up with the breadth and ambition of the plot built around Shiva and his path to becoming a Mahadev. The author deftly mixes pure speculation with well known mythological events, documented cultural practices and historical facts. Underlying the plot are significant personal, cultural and political philosophical musings that this first book just begins to layout and explore. The plot also indirectly touches on controversial historical issues like the Aaryan invasion theory and origins of civilization. And even though Hindu mythology is inextricably intertwined with Hindu religious beliefs, this books steers clear of dogma and worship. It focuses more on Hindu philosophy than Hindu religious beliefs. All in all, a very satisfying and entertaining read regardless of one's religious inclinations.
Kudos to the author for what I hope will be a ground breaking book. A book that shows that Indian mythology is a woefully underutilized source of wit, wisdom, inspiration and philosophy. Of amazing characters and great drama. There isn't another culture, save perhaps, Greek, that has been blessed with such riches. It is high time we took this heritage off the shelf; stopped blindly worshipping it and started exploring and understanding it.
PS: You will have to get this book from India. It is not available in the US yet.