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Shiva Trilogy (2013)

by Amish Tripathi(Favorite Author)
4.27 of 5 Votes: 4
HSN1800160 (ISBN13: HSN1800000160)
review 1: In the mythological – historical – adventure – fiction series, the transformation of Shiva from a tribesman to Neelkanth, the destroyer of evil is simply marvelous. All the characters have been crafted beautifully and its philosophy that 'people are not Evil but their belief are' really makes you introspect. For all those who like mythology like me you are in for a treat!( Even though the last book is not a page turner like the other two)
review 2: Warning: Contains spoilers for the series as a whole.I do not read books by Indian authors as a rule, no thank you. I belong to that small minority of book lovers who believe that authors like Chetan Bhagat and Ravinder Singh have done more harm to reading in India than good. Hence, it was not surprising to any
... more of my friends when I responded with derision and cynicism when they recommended Amish Tripathi's SHIVA trilogy over and over. One of them finally thrust a copy of the Immortals of Meluha at me and said, "Read! Your love for Indian mythology will win over your mental block toward Indian writers."Stuck on a train for six hours with nothing else to do, I did start reading the Immortals.... with trepidation. Three chapters in, I realised that I liked it. The story was gripping, well-paced and kept me engrossed. (The language, of course, left much to be desired, but I decided I could put up with crappy writing because I really wanted to know what happened next in the story).Within twenty four hours, I was done with the trilogy. Here I am, typing out this review for the sake of those like me who would otherwise blindside the books.The biggest winning point for Amish's trilogy is the plot. Even a reader who picks up the book with no prior knowledge of Indian mythology is bound to enjoy it for its rich characterisation and intertwined storylines. Indians who have grown up with household names like Nandi, Ganesh and Karthikeyan, who celebrate Shiva as a God are bound to get a kick out of Amish's creative altering of the story. Shiva's perspective is refreshingly sincere, making you immediately like this protagonist. He is not a God, he is very much man. What comes through, though, in every line of the tale, is Amish's near-fanboyish love and adoration of Shiva. And this adoration is addictive. Over time, the reader cannot help but fall in love with Shiva too; Shiva the marijuana-smoking Tibetan immigrant, this uncouth foreigner who cannot adapt to the stoic ways of the Meluhans, who is open with his affection and hugs without inhibition. You learn to like him, you learn to want him to win, you learn to celebrate with him and you learn to cry with him. Amish's greatest victory is the hero he erects in Shiva, without once having to make him a God. Another winner, for me, was the portrayal of the female characters. With a period novel set in ancient India, I expected the misogyny to shine through every chapter. Amish surprises there too. His premise of Meluha, the ideal society, portrays gender equality at its best. There are female warriors, the prime minister of the nation is a strong and capable woman, the heroine of the tale Sati has enough backbone to fell an elephant and repeatedly, Shiv's attraction to Sati is on grounds of her courage and self-sufficiency than beauty or other stereotypically feminine attributes. Reading between the lines, you get the social commentary that Amish intentionally leaves unsaid; social growth and progress requires equality between the sexes. A society built purely based on merit and not on caste, race or gender; this utopian ideal is examined with brutal honesty. The narrative is interspersed with philosophical questions and debates - what is life? What is good and what is evil? Can one exist without the other? When does good turn into evil? At no point in the narrative does it turn into a religious rant or preach session directed at the non-believer. The message, if any, is subtle. Shiva is cynical and pragmatic, and in a way, he is voicing questions that the reader cannot. Using the "Drink of the Gods", the "Somras" as a metaphor for "excessive good", Amish commentates on concepts like socialism, the will of the minority, poor governance, citizenry, leadership, duty and responsibility. The big turn-off was the language used. Amish would take you, the reader, on a plotline high only to be confronted by phrases like "Bloody hell!", "In the name of God what is this nonsense!", "Goddamnit!" and other such anachronistic blunders that leave you with feeling sour. Another major cristicism of the books is the ending - avid fans who followed the books from the beginning and who waited to buy the finale were disappointed by the rather tame and understated climax. However, I loved it because Amish avoided the cliched route. When Sati is killed, an enraged Shiva threatens to blow up a city using the potent nuclear missile-like Pashupati-astra in his grief-induced tempestuous anger. Until the last ten pages, the reader expects the cliched turnabout, waits for Shiva to talk himself out of his rage and fulfill his goal of destroying the Somras. You expect him to bury his sorrow, put on a brave face and play the hero. You expect him to rise above his human attachments, his love for Sati and see sense. You expect him to walk the righteous path that he, as the Neelkanth is espoused to do.Not Amish, though. Amish achieved his goal of portraying Shiva as human as possible, with human failings and emotional upheavals. Shiva is not God, as Amish set out to prove. Shiva is human, and at his weakest moment, with Sati gone, there is very litte distinguishing him from the villain, Brighu. Shiva's anger, grief and near-catatonic state fascinate and honestly, terrify the reader. Amish's climax is fitting because he kept Shiva's human baseness alive, because he showed that even great men can lose kindness and compassion in the face of enormous loss. At the end of this fascinating journey, like all good stories do, this one leaves you with mixed feelings. Read it for the plot and enjoy the ride. Har Har Mahadev! less
Reviews (see all)
Very interesting to read this modern take on Indian mythology.
The best story retellling that u ever read..
Will re-read over and over.
Great work.
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