Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: "The Secret of the Nagas" by Amish Tripathi

Segment: Fiction - Indian Mythology

Background: 2nd book of the "Shiva Trilogy", which consists of:
1/ The immortals of Mehula (find review in my earlier posts)
2/ The secret of the Nagas &
3/ The oath of Vayuputras (expected to be released by Dec, 2012)

In Shiva Trilogy, Amish takes a unique approach of looking at "Shiv Puran" or so to say, our entire belief about Hindu Mythology. Whether Gods are super-humans mentioned only in mythological stories or they were humans, known as Gods today, because of the decisions they took and role they played in human history?

I would advise to pick this book up after you finish "The immortals of Mehula". This will help you to appreciate the plot & context better.

Verdict & Feel: A good read and apt sequel to "The immortals of Mehula". As it normally happens in book series, this 2nd book is more intriguing as the story moves at a much faster pace with the plot taking a firm & interesting shape leaving us wanting for more. Again, there is no escape from buying the next (& final) book of the trilogy (this time, I am looking forward to it, though..!!).

After the basic introduction of the concept of "duality" in his last book, Amish does a great job in explaining it in greater detail in this book along with delving deeper into complex phenomenons like "Good" & "Evil".

As I had very little knowledge of Shiv Puran, I feel enriched after reading these 2 books. I feel even more strongly that all Indian scriptures tell us about the same things, by personifying the forces at play in our mind & heart, weaved in grand larger-than-life stories. Ironically, we have become too rigid in our reading of scriptures / mythology to look beyond words and consider them as a read for spiritual flight only to be pursued after we have lived our real life.

Writing Style:
- the language is simple and writing style is straight forward. Story flows on a linear plane at a constant pace. However, there is enough to be told in this book, to keep the reader engaged.

- Amish's ability to go into details and create a visual of the scene in front of our eyes is phenomenal. I continue to believe that this is only a necessity of this series and Amish has more variety to offer in his future writings.

- the key concepts of duality, good, evil etc are explained in decent detail across the book, unlike "Immortals of Mehula" where the story doesn't unfold beyond pure fiction until last few pages.

Time: Took me about 4 days of average reading.

Other observations:
- Would like to emphasize at the cost of repetition (as mentioned in review of "The Immortals of Mehula" too) - the map of India in 1900 BC, provided inside front cover of the book is indispensable to understand the story better!

- Amish has put no efforts (no mention in the preface; absence of any disclaimer/s) to relate the plots, events, locations and names mentioned in the book to today's knowledge of the same in history or mythology. It looks like Amish is capturing the key historical / mythological people, events & understanding, using fiction as a way of narration. I really hope Amish relate the story to present day belief in the last book of the Trilogy.

My Rating: Shiva Trilogy - 7/10; The Secret of Nagas - 7/10

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