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The Shiva Trilogy, with The Immortals of Meluha, The Secrets of The Nagas and The Oath of The Vayuputras, made Amish India’s literary pop star. I quite enjoyed the trilogy, though amongst them I had my favourite too. But overall it quenched my thirst for mythological fiction. Rudra and Sati touched the souls of millions and their tribulations and joys made the readers reach out and connect. They were no longer gods who could only be found in temples. They became one of us and inspired many to follow the path of their hearts.
With Scion of Ikshvaku, I expected something similar. After all, Amish was bringing the legendary Ram back into our lives. I remembered the days when B.R.Chopra’s televised Ramayana had audiences glued to their television screens. Ashok Banker with his Ramayana series was hugely successful as well. I was intrigued how this series would be different from Banker’s.
A few pages down, I knew this book could not match up to Amish’s debut trilogy. Having read Banker’s series too, I wondered why Amish have to rewrite this saga? The attempt seems hurried, maybe to cash in on his current wave of popularity. The characters though well known seemed superficial and the plot (well we all know what the Ramayana is all about) moved too quickly to let me connect with the characters or flow with the story. It was difficult to digest that the model Raghuvanshi family came across as rude and manipulative and that Sita, with her street smartness, had no qualms about fretting and fuming in public. Where was the compassion, steadfast determination, righteousness, exemplary behaviour and the selfless love that is synonymous with Ramayana? Amish takes the liberty to revamp the image of Manthara and adds a few twists to the original narrative. Aimed at addressing a few current issues, whilst keeping the essence of Maryada Purshotam Ram intact, this attempt too makes the story look implausible and hackneyed.
The dialogues are colloquial and lack depth. While many talk about India being scientifically advanced in the ancient times, 3400 BCE with rotor blades on the Pushpak Vimaan, factories all over Sapt Sindhi and Vishwamitra with his missiles do not click!!!!!
The writing has relatively little character or style. A clichéd attempt with very little to offer a seasoned reader!!!!