Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review : Book - The Immortals of Meluha

I had heard a lot about the ‘Shiva Trilogy’ by Amish Tripathi so when I knew I had a 30 hour journey ahead of me ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ was the first thing I laid my hands on. It’s decent size (around 400 pages) ensured that I would have enough to keep me occupied in between the movies, sleep and the flight transfers. But there was another challenge – would it hold my interest long enough for me to consider finishing it?

The book has a nice premise. It treats Siva not as a god but a normal person who over the three part series achieves enough greatness and respect through his actions to be considered a God. How well the author succeeds can only be determined by reading the entire series. The first part though manages somewhat to keep the promise.

The author combines excerpts from Indian history and mythology to weave a story that has Shiva as a tribal Tibetan leader who comes to Meluha as the ‘Neelkanth’ and helps them defeat their archrivals – the Chandravanshis of Swadeep. Although the story flows beautifully it is inundated with historical and mythological inaccuracies in my opinion. The author tries to put forth perhaps what is his vision of a perfect society bereft of the flaws of the caste system but at times it seems so impractical and ridiculous to be believed to be true. But as the author he has what is called creative liberty so we can give him that.

Sometimes the language and the conversations seem to be too modern and out of touch with time that the author has based his story out of. Maybe be it’s a ploy to attract young readers.

The climax is not a climax; it’s rather laid out as a milestone for the next part of the series so that might disappoint some of the readers. The entire book has a nice premise and setting but it’s not executed well enough to fulfill its promise.

I am really surprised how the book sold a million copies. It’s at best mediocre. Good marketing can sell a ‘Chennai Express’ to be a block buster hit and perhaps the same thing applies to this book as well. I read somewhere that the publishers had gone all out on marketing including a pre-release viral video on You Tube. It worked it seems.

Overall it’s a good one time read but am I tempted to order the next part. No though I might consider reading it if there is another long journey on the anvil or if I get one for free.

Verdict: 2/5

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