Rating: 2.5/5

Well, another of those Hindu mythological fiction books which abound in the market these days and as like the most of them, this one too, is not upto the mark. This is differently written than the rest, where the story happens in a parallel universe with two parallel tracks running. The most I hate on this type of books is, they take the plot from Hinduism but the structure is heavily modelled upon Greek mythology, with the overall story, in this book, that of Ramayana. There is a quest as like Hercules labours, there is a Medusa and this book, seriously, goes into children section and can’t be classified as serious fiction. Did he consider Alice in Wonderland, did he consider Hobbit, some Greek story(I am able to see a quest, a sphinx, a Medusa, Oddesey’s cyclops and what not? I won’t give the details in the story outline, anyways), we don’t know, but the hints, all of them are available in abundance.

Come to the story. A history student is bombed with letters telling about the nearing end of his grandfather, about whom he never heard. After speaking with his grandfather, he is forced to embark on an adventure to kill a demon king modelled upon Ravana and save a woman. Along the way, he, his friend who accompanied him and his grandfather’s attendant catch up a few more people – a map maker, a sorcerer and a thief who is well versed in scriptures. It looks like he stole Shivaji’s Bhavani sword and this comes out after some time. First, they go to a village where they kill the tormenting demon, which is a tiger. The tiger, a cursed apsara, helps them to go to their next place, which is a cursed city and is the first line of defence for the capital city of the demon. To break the curse, they are teleported to some place where they go and answer a puzzle and get something to break the curse in response. After that, they go to some place to collect some celestial weapons where they come across some  demons whom they defeat more by tact than brawn. They get the weapons and get the directions for the next quest. They kill a goddess by converting her to a statue by showing her own reflection using a selfie(of all things!!) and then, go to the next place where they collect Rama’s bow, the Kodanda. They then are directed to the royal palace itself. First, they had to fight a water demon where it is revealed that two of his companions were reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya, Lord Vishnu’s gate keepers. While they were hunting for the balance of the things required to bring down the demon king, three of his friends were captured and one, executed. To save them, the two others enter the fort but are discovered. They easily overpower their assailants and in the meanwhile, they rescue one another person, he is the original suitor for the women they start to rescue. The commanders of the fortress, a father and son, are killed in some freak manner and the showdown, then moves to the royal palace. In the meanwhile, the demon king forces his marriage with the woman. The king comes out and is killed in a jiffy. Then, they understand he is not the king, but the second in command. Then, the king comes out. The king, it turns out, is the sorcerer who is their friend and is executed. Well, he too is killed, again, like a joke, but with the help of Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s mount and with that, followed by a marriage of the original suitor with the kidnapped lady and that phase of story ends.

Once all this is over and they are back to the regular world, the two incarnations reveal the full story and the protagonist, finally meet his family. Parallel to that, people in the real world, they get tensed as there is no information regarding the two friends. His professor tries to find out where he is, but it turns out that the place where the two went disappeared from the world 7000 years ago. His uncle, who is heading an archaeological mission to find the truth about Rama Setu is stuck in a cyclone and is about to call off his mission but at the last minute, is helped by the protagonist who states that the rocks at the bottom are not Rama Setu, but the stones below it are. It turns out to be true and the story, a success. It ends in a cryptic note over the search for Lord Krishna’s Sudarsana Chakra, meaning, setting the context for the next book in a sequel.

Where are the problems in the book? The story is clearly modelled upon Ramayana, but with a mishmash of some episodes of Greek Mythology(as mentioned above), some randon happenings of Ramayana and even Mahabharata. I have seen zero orignality in the story. Next is the writing maturity. Every other sentence ends in an exclamation mark. The characters are thrilled and amazed at everything. This means the author still needs to work upon honing his writing skills. Another striking thing is, where is the army? The demon king is the conquerer of the world. His palace was guarded by a paltry 2500 when the real war is being fought. The ease with which the soldiers and seasoned commanders are killed by these novices doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Come on, give some respect to the fact that the person killed is the second most person in the world. He just doesn’t fight a war like that. Even, the names are childish. Vinashakale and Vipareeta Buddhi are father and son, Drohakaal is the second in command, the name of the royal palace is Bhavan Dasavana and the kingdom, Trahimam. The protagonist is not a great warrior, he is just a college student working out in a gym. His warrior skills need not be that exaggerated. What is missing is maturity of the writing style, maturity of plot and overt visibility of influences. But, one thing. It’s a serious effort at writing and full marks for that.

Rating – Breakdown(sqrt(1*2*3/4))
Vocabulary                      4
Maturity of Plot             3
Maturity of Script         2
Discernable Influence 4