Part 1 of the Shiva Trilogy from Amish Tripathi. One of the first books by an Indian author to be introduced by a viral video on youtube.
The story of The Immortals of Meluha is set in 1900BC and operates on the premise that Shiva was a mortal, a simple man whom legend turned into God.
Amish summarises his fundamental premises as:
"I believe that the Hindu gods were not mythical beings or a figment of a rich imagination.
I believe that they were creatures of flesh and blood, like you and me.
I believe that they achieved godhood through their karma, their deeds.
With these premises, an interesting read is assured."
While parts of the story are rooted in mythology and some parts are corraborated by history - like the description of town planning by the Meluhans - most parts are pure speculative fiction.
The story is very interesting and keeps you gripped. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot here, so let me try to avoid that while sketching out the basics.
The Suryavanshis are the descendants of Lord Ram who have created an extremely stable society based on strict rules and regulations. An ideal state except for a few rules that Shiva finds unfair. Shiva is a Tibetan immigrant, invited to Meluha (the land now known as the Indus Valley Civilisation) and slowly recognised as a saviour and deliverer from evil.
The evil being the Chandravanshis - who live on the opposite side of India in Swadweep between the Ganga and the Brahmaputra, that also holds Ayodhya - the birth place of Lord Ram.
At times the philosophy in the book sounds like it comes from the Matrix - "You don't earn a title after you have done your deeds... It doesn't matter what others think. It's about what you believe. Believe you are the Mahadev and you will be one"
But there are some statements that make you think and reflect and question previously held assumptions. Amish belives that the cry of Har Har Mahadev actually stems from the thought Har ek Mahadev - Each one of us, has it in us to be a Mahadev.
A lot has been said about the language in the book. While the setting is 1900BC, the language is 21st century AD, with Weapons of Mass Destruction and Departments of Immigration. At times it is difficult to reconcile the two. Amish in an interview said that he had a huge struggle with his editor/publisher about this issue. He wanted the dialogue to be more authentic and his publisher wanted it more modern.
I can empathise with the editor/publisher. The language makes this an easy book to read and will defintely increase sales. But purists searching for authenticity will be disappointed.
Personally I enjoyed the book. I can't wait for books 2 and 3. I have my suspicions, but will try and be patient. :)
He says Book 2 will only be out next year as his day job keeps him busy. Amish, chuck the day job, don't keep us in suspense for that long!
Should you read this book? Definitely. But if you hate cliff hangers (which is how this part ends) then you may be better off waiting for all the books to be released before starting on this.
As a teaser, the first Chapter is freely downloadable from [...].
Take a quick glance. If you are in the least bit interested in Mythology, I guarantee that you will be intrigued.
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.
I bought this book after much of the iridescent hype created around it as by the time i held this book in my hand, i knew more about the author than the book itself and i should say,the author has more than compensated in terms of his rendition by putting forth a formidable and a convincing plot....
The story uncannily portrays Shiva as this valiant warrior implicitly leaning towards Godly exemplification but also doesn't fail to reach out to a commoner's sojourn as it captures the lay man's mood from the point of Shiva himself who refuses to believe in his own superiority and slyly rebukes at the super humanly treatment he receives...
The author's writing style is on par with any other indigenous English classic I have read and I believe I am representing the larger mass in saying that this is one reading experience any period fiction lover shouldn't afford to miss.
I don't really want to comment about the validity of the story line or how much of an adaptation it is of the original scruples( if at all it is, i feel the story is completely fictional although it draws a lot of pertinent characteristics of legendary characters but characterizations stand for mere relational purposes), i found the story followed its own magical course unfailingly enticing the readers at every flutter of the eye.
Overall, I feel that the portrayal of Godly characters as humane and earthly is in itself an admirable concept and full points to the author for that... An enthralling book with affable story line and a midas touch from the author forks this book bang on target unerringly............
If you are looking for teen adult fictions or romance i would suggest this book Memories
This review is meant for more for international audiences.
This book is a fantasy based on ancient India's mythological culture. But it is a great way to learn about the antecedents of Indian culture. The characters and races depicted may be imaginary but there is strand of reality that runs in them and which can be found in modern India.
It is possible to learn about some of the rituals which are practiced even today in India. More importantly, this book has a spiritual base and this base is the living heart of India.
Many reviewers have commented on the literary aspect of the book and perhaps they are right. There simple typographical errors which a good editor would have easily fixed. For that alone, I am not giving 5 star rating.
The biggest achievement of the author is that he successfully shares his fascination of his idol, Lord Shiva (Mahadev) with his readers and gets them to be excited about the character.
My wife was eagerly waiting for the 3rd book of the trilogy! She inspired me to start reading from the beginning. The Kindle version of the book has too many typo errors. Its irritating sometimes. But, if I ignore those, 5 stars to the book overall. Someone please correct the typos. I did get an updated version after a few days, but still that updated version also has errors.