Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: "The Oath of the Vayuputras" by Amish Tripathi

A bare-chested man shooting an arrow, from a bow shaped like a snake. The man's face is hidden, but there is a blue glow at his neck. The background shows fire burning through a battlefield.
Segment: Fiction - Indian Mythology

Background: 3rd & last 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 (find review in my earlier posts) &
3/ The oath of the Vayuputras

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 real humans like us, 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 only after you have finished the first 2 books of the trilogy. This will help you to appreciate the plot & context better.

Verdict & Feel: Like most series, this book ties-up loose ends to the story by relating isolated events and is relatively fast paced compared to the first 2 books. Characters start falling in place making the story interesting and gripping. Characters of Ganesh & Kartik are nicely portrayed and symbolize different forces of life.

Felt some inconsistency in Shiva's character & his reasoning from the beginning of book vis. a vis. in the climax.

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.

A small mention of maha bharat in the end is enticing and pointing towards Amish's future writing endeavors.

Writing Style:
- the language is simple and writing style is straight forward. Story flows on a linear plane at a constant pace. Don't expect literary satisfaction (use of words / language / way of telling story) from the entire series. However, there is enough to be told in this book (unique subject !), 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.

Time: Took me about 4-6 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 oath of the Vayuputras - 6/10

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