Kurukshetra ePUB ñ Paperback

Kurukshetra ePUB ñ Paperback Kurukshetra, the third and final installment in the Aryavarta Chronicles Trilogy by Krishna Udayasankar To put it in one word, it is marvelous However, as with anything, there is a but Now, there are a bunch of things that work in favour of the book and for these, credit must be given to the author Remember, this is her debut outing in fiction.First, the book assumes intelligence on part of the reader A lot of it On top of it, familiarity with the Mahabharata is not necessary, though it Kurukshetra, the third and final installment in the Aryavarta Chronicles Trilogy by Krishna Udayasankar To put it in one word, it is marvelous However, as with anything, there is a but Now, there are a bunch of things that work in favour of the book and for these, credit must be given to the author Remember, this is her debut outing in fiction.First, the book assumes intelligence on part of the reader A lot of it On top of it, familiarity with the Mahabharata is not necessary, though it would help Putting these two together is a noteworthy feat in itself So, no two plus two equals four kind of spoon feeding here The book assumes you can figure that out for yourself and rightly so So, as you are reading the book, your mind races to keep pace with the plot and the unfolding of events, which happen at a quick pace.That brings me to the next point the pace of the plot It s racy and hurtles through, and you as a reader are expected to keep pace If you don t, you can quickly fall off the train and not know where you landed That pace was very visible in the first installment Govinda, seemed to flag a bit in the second, Kaurava and the first hundred or so pages on the last, Kurukshetra All that moves aside once the battle of Kurukshetra starts and things start getting interesting again.The next thing that works the battle scenes of the Kurukshetra They are extremely well wrought, like a work of art The scenes literally unfold in front of your eyes and I was amazed that the author could fill over 200 pages with just the 18 days of battle, not once letting interest flag The description of the astras, battle formations, duels are beautifully explained, sans superhuman strength of the warriors and shorn of miracles The mastery of the warriors is simply a matter of skill and training and the destruction caused by the weapons, simply a mastery over the science of metal working and chemistry The battle scenes themselves are straight out of a well choreographed action movie capturing the valour, fear, tumult, screams and shrieks of war And the emotions of war.The highlight of the book is the way the emotions and motives of the protagonists are captured they are very human, with very human motives, desires and fears That, and their ideals Sometimes misplaced, other times misunderstood So, neither Syoddhan Duryodhana a clear villain nor Dharma Yudhishthir the clearly wronged There are shades of grey to all characters And white, and black and blue and green and pink So it is that the author weaves a rainbow of layers to the protagonists characters.But then, here is where I have a complaint While the characters are well wrought, there is a subtle inconsistency across the series Govinda Shauri Krishna is initially shown as scheming and manipulative initially but by the end, ends up as nearly divine The transition is not exactly gradual, though it doesn t jar But sitting back, one cannot but notice the inconsistency It almost seems that the author was overwhelmed by the divinity of the Krishna who uttered the Gita while at the same time, reconciles him to the scheming Krishna who suggested that Bhima attack Duryodhana s thigh though this episode is narrated differently There is also a very complex relationship that Govinda has with Panchali Draupadi that vacillates between the platonic, to the divine romance, to Panchali simply being a pawn in the hands of Govinda At times, we are not sure if it is Govinda who is the pawn in the hands of Panchali.The same happens with other characters too The first two books give the impression that Sanjaya is one of the key ringmasters in the plot, but in the third book, he is totally absent, making an unconvincing cameo appearance towards the end If there is one character who remains consistent throughout, it is Shikhandin and the importance accorded to him was a pleasant departure to weave a story that has this much reviled, possibly androgynous character as Govinda s bosom buddy and a key player in the events that shape Aryavarta, and a chest thumping masculine warrior matching Partha Arjuna and Ashwathama in skill, takes conviction and skill The author carries this beautifully He remains true to his knitting throughout the plot.The plot itself has enough twists and turns to put a jalebi to shame That is where the author credits the reader with intelligence This is not a dumbed down version of the Mahabharata It is neither a retelling nor a reinterpretation It is a re imagination and how The basic plot is of an old rivalry between the Firstborn led by the sage Dwaipayana, who dons the honorific title of Vyasa and the Firewrights led by Ghora Angirasa The Firstborn are given to protect the Divine Order, which in essence sets rules, systems of social and political hierarchy supposedly to maintain order in society The Firewrights are essentially scientists who have harnessed the secrets of nature These secrets were initially used for the benefit of humanity, such as implements of agriculture etc., but soon, turned into instruments of war Naturally, the kings of the realm outdo each other to procure these weapons of destruction that can give them power Greed, fear and insecurities set in To ensure that such great power does not fall into hands that do not know restraint, there is a grand cleansing of the Firewrights called the Great Scourge that decimates the Firewrights and their knowledge Bhishma Devavrata Bhishma is at the forefront leading the cleansing, with able assistance from Dwaipayana Vyasa Some firewrights survive and carry on their agenda in secret Govinda is one of them Much plots, sub plots and twists and turns later, it boils down to a grand confrontation between the armies and allies of Syoddhan striving to protect the Divine Order and the armies and allies of Dharma who is but an instrument in the hands of Govinda, striving to tear down the Divine Order to establish, in simple terms, a true democracy That is the essence of the plot.The plot only has a vague resemblance to the original Mahabharata the key events from the Mahabharata are taken and re imagined with the plot of the Firstborn and Firewrights woven around it With this structure, the author explains with sound reason and rationale many of the events of the Mahabharata that otherwise seem beyond reason And the explanations fit in extremely well, convincingly Coming back to the third book Kurukshetra, it can be divided into two parts One part is the action packed page turner of the 18 days of war The other part is the exposition of the Firstborn Firewright philosophy, the essence of the Gita and to some extent, the meaning of existence itself The first part Kurukshetra war nestles cozily in the middle of the book The first 100 or so pages set out the conflicts and the principles of the two warring groups, as well as their motives and insecurities This makes the book flag in those parts The last 100 or so pages, with some pages in between, are actually the true achievement of the book In this, the author captures the essence of the Gita, the divinity of Krishna remember, in this book he is NOT a god, just a human being, very much mortal , dvaita advaita, maya, atman and narayana This part may not appeal to many indeed, many may not even be able to appreciate this, but the book scores a out of the park hit with this That also makes the book subject to comparisons, primarily with the immensely popular Meluha series by Amish Tripathi and Anand Neelakantan s Ajaya Asura In all these, as well as the Aryavarta series, the overall plot is the same While in Meluha it was Suryavanshis versus Chandravanshis where neither are clearly black white or good evil, it was the class struggle for equality in Ajaya where there is a clear good evil So it is with Aryavarta Chronicles Firstborn versus Firewright, where neither is clearly good or evil But the comparison ends there The language is good though simple, the prose has a poetic quality to it A minor niggle is on the proofreading there are several spelling errors, missed out words, grammatical errors hopefully these will be taken care of in the next print run.The book packs in a lot many key characters, many events and incidents, many twists turns plots and sub plots, many philosophies To pack in so much into three paperbacks, retaining the page turner quality for a good part is no mean achievement Looking back, that could also be the book s undoing because in this age of ready to consume in all walks of life where the attention span is notthan 144 characters or a 10 second ad spot, not too many may appreciate a book that is not a open read forget kind of metro read But if you are not looking for adolescent romances nothing against them or rich girl poor boy plots nothing against them either , go for this series But only if you are willing to ride a whirlwind and enjoy being tossed and turned around For a series which began with a lot of potential, Krishna Udayasankar s Aryabarta Chronicles ended with a whimper Udayasankar still remains a good writer but her confusion regarding the direction in which she wanted her retelling to head ultimately spoiled the second and third book Kurukshetra , as the name suggests, largely focuses on the war Almost half the book is dedicated to the war while the other focuses on the politics and turmoil which led to it Predictably, Udayasankar builds up For a series which began with a lot of potential, Krishna Udayasankar s Aryabarta Chronicles ended with a whimper Udayasankar still remains a good writer but her confusion regarding the direction in which she wanted her retelling to head ultimately spoiled the second and third book Kurukshetra , as the name suggests, largely focuses on the war Almost half the book is dedicated to the war while the other focuses on the politics and turmoil which led to it Predictably, Udayasankar builds up the character of Abhimanyu, playing the emotional card to highlight his tragic death Some of the best parts about this series have always come when Udayasankar uses her own re interpretation to remove the divine traits of a character Her reinterpretation of Ghatotkacha and rakshashas was enjoyable though not entirely unexpected Udayasankar doesn t quite have the skills to make her battle scenes intriguing and the author herself seems to be aware about this The first few chapters of the battle seem hurried and she even skips first few days of the war, fast forwarding to the seventh day It is unfair to expect a detailed account of the war in a 400 page book but when the primary subject matter deals with Kurukshetra, it wouldn t have hurt to dedicate a fewchapters to the initial stages of the war Her discussion about battle strategies remains vague, at best, and there s too much of the shadow of the TV serial when she talks about arrows cancelling out each other Firewrights which was a clever inclusion in the series so far has now become her ultimate fallback tactic Whenever Udayasankar doesn t want to go deep into the mechanism of a weapon, she conveniently uses the but it is Firewright technology theory Credit where it s due, Udayasankar does exceed herself in some of the Kurukshetra scenes especially the one with slaying of Jayadrath or Ghatotkacha episode.And then there are the philosophical discourses They slow down the narrative and often seem completely out of place I had to skip a few paras to avoid the same thing being said over and over again And why must there always be a long motivational monologue from the primary character before the battle starts Udayasankar also tries to insert an extra twist in Govinda s tale in the last 2 chapters but it feels as if these two chapters belong to a different story and doesn t gel with the ending If I compare this with the Meluha series, Krishna Udayasankar is a significantly better writer than Amish Tripathy I know, that s not saying much But Amish was clear in his mind about his plot and how it will end Udayasankar on the other hand fails to keep the reader hooked and muddles up her plot 18 days was what it took to redraw the entire landscape of ancient India according to Mahabharata A never before seen danse macabre was played out on the killing fields of Kurukshetra and the world was never the same again These 18 days have inspired countless artists and writers over the ages and provided fuel for their creative fires In the discourse of the Gita before the war, Krishna tells ArjunaNow I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds 18 days later you realize how much of fore 18 days was what it took to redraw the entire landscape of ancient India according to Mahabharata A never before seen danse macabre was played out on the killing fields of Kurukshetra and the world was never the same again These 18 days have inspired countless artists and writers over the ages and provided fuel for their creative fires In the discourse of the Gita before the war, Krishna tells ArjunaNow I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds 18 days later you realize how much of foresight Krishna would had while telling the Pandava prince these words Reflect a bit on the Kurukshetra war and look beyond the grandiloquent images, action and larger than life characters while beneath all this lies a war fought in the name of three of the most sought after things power, real estate and a woman A series of incidents centred around these three escalated to finally result in a cataclysmic war that left the survivors with ashes in their mouth In the third and concluding part of her series, Krishna Udayasankar attempts her hand at recreating the Kurukshetra war and its aftermath To me this was amusing in a lesser measure and frustrating in greater part The best parts first Udayasankar s Aryavarta chronicles capture the characters of the Mahabharata with a great degree of complexity Over the last three books she has laid down the groundwork for the characters and their intentions which all comes to a finale here While it does not capture all of the wide range of emotions these characters carry, these books do not have a blue eyed gaze at the Pandavas, the Kauravas or the other supporting characters They are portrayed as men and women of flesh and blood and not as gods and demi gods The third book is also relatively the best of the series in terms of the language employed Udayasankar writes in language which is neither too archaic nor too hip although she has the habit of overwriting at certain points which doesharm than good This is all that I could think of.If there is one thing that pissed me off about this series, then it is the rambling In the midst of action, the characters begin talking about moral, philosophical and strategic nuances which can sometimes extend for three orpages at a stretch The funny thing is that once they come back from the conversation, the earlier thread is nowhere to be seen Long and pointless conversations on the aspects of right and wrong only served to confuse me further and served no other purpose Next, in a book that is about the granddaddy of all epic wars the reader expects a heavy focus on how the war was fought What I got instead was the author skipping over a lot of topics, conveniently explaining off others and in general only serving a half plate of the offering For instance, the first seven days of the war with Bhishma as the general are only hinted at until the time Shikhandi faces off with the aging patriarch and the times of Drona s generalship also fares no better in terms of the storytelling The death of some of the key characters are only in the background, the most notable being the deaths of Drona and Dushasana You only hear that they died and Udayasankar declines from giving us too many details of how it happened Then there is also the deus ex machina firewright technology The weapons employed during the war would have made a mere mortal wonder if they were of divine origin with the effects they produced This throws a challenge at the storyteller on how they want to explain the weapons Udayasankar takes the easier way out and has a wishy washy logic way by sayingbecause firewright technologywhich in no way is satisfactory Also, while the characters are complex enough their outlook on life and their mind sets speak differently None of the characters here have a mind set that stems from the Vedic period They all talk and think like individuals of the 20th century The external appearances of the characters are all in place but their core doesn t lie in the right place or the right time Also, the Mahabharata has a lot of focus on three women Kunti, Panchali and Gandhari who act as the loci from which the entire forest of stories spread out In Udayasankar s narrative there is only Draupadi and the others are mere shadows.As a series, I feel dissatisfied with this one The insanely long ramblings and the manifold diversions have driven me to the wall here Not recommended I m mostly torn between a 3.5 or a 4, so I ll round up.Finally the saga comes to an end I have to preface this review by saying that I m not as much in awe of this finale as I was of the first book, but it s still a good ending It s just that maybe I was expecting too much from it, so it left me a bit dissatisfied.The writing of the author continues to be enchanting and thrilling, keeping me hooked to the story, never wanting to let go Obviously as per the title of the finale, I was very inte I m mostly torn between a 3.5 or a 4, so I ll round up.Finally the saga comes to an end I have to preface this review by saying that I m not as much in awe of this finale as I was of the first book, but it s still a good ending It s just that maybe I was expecting too much from it, so it left me a bit dissatisfied.The writing of the author continues to be enchanting and thrilling, keeping me hooked to the story, never wanting to let go Obviously as per the title of the finale, I was very interested to know how the author would describe the Kurukshetra war and while whatever was shown was magnificent and gritty and gory, I was also disappointed by what was left out It s not easy to condense eighteen days of this epic battle into one part of the book, but I didn t particularly like that there was nothing of the first seven days at all Some other important duels or deaths also happened off page, which was pretty shocking to me In the original Mahabharata, the warriors on both sides fight with daivi astras, and while the point of this whole trilogy was to strip the epic of its divinity and attribute all the advancements to science and technology I think it became a bit difficult to stick to that premise during the war sequences and some of the astras used felt unrealistic And even though I can t pinpoint exactly, there were some threads and plot points that were left open without any resolution and I didn t expect that But on the whole, I think the author did a formidable job bringing the war to life, and especially showing us the devastation and carnage it resulted in As this is the book where we would get some version of the Bhagavad Gita, I was very eagerly waiting for those chapters I will not say I understood everything, but it was short and very compelling to hear the words of Govinda to Partha There are also many many discussions about destiny, reason and compassion, and how these three are just different ways in which the world can run However, the number of times these discussions took place was a lot in this book, and I can t say it was all easy to grasp I still completely bought into Govinda s complete belief in humanity and its incessant capacity to use knowledge to prosper and also his surety that a system that fails to protect those its meant to, deserves to be destroyed But what left me a bit disconcerted towards the end was that I couldn t really fathom if Govinda s dream became a reality And maybe that s the main source of dissatisfaction with this finale The characters continue to be the strength of this series It is so fascinating to see all these legendary people in a frail human light, with all their flaws Especially Dharma, whose belief in destiny never wavered despite innumerable horrors happening around him, or the fact that it was the common people who were fighting for their rights on his side At the end, I truly came to question if he deserved to be on the throne, even if it was as a representative of the people Panchali and Govinda continue to be amazing and formidable beings they are, fighting the system and wanting a better future for humanity Almost everything else played out as expected, but I can t help but appreciate the author for giving Shikhandin such an important piece in this story After everything that happened, I think he was the most admirable for me the brave and consummate warrior who fought for the common people and what was right Even though I was very upset during Abhimanyu s horrifying death scene, it was actually the final scene between the closest friends Shikhandin and Asvatthama that brought tears to my eyes I will always remember this trilogy for letting to me get to know these unlikely and forgotten heroes Towards the end, I have to say that reading this trilogy has been an experience that I won t soon forget It has wowed me and impressed me and brought tears and joy and so muchIt is not without its flaws, but a Mahabharata reimagining is an ambitious task and I commend the author for attempting it and doing a good job As I ve been saying since I began this journey, if you are okay with a riveting reimagination of the epic which digresses a lot from the canon but still manages to capture its core essence, then you should definitely give this trilogy a try A few weeks back, I was in a discussion with author Krishna Udaysankar on BlogAdda s chat on mythological fiction In general, I am of the view that a lot of the happenings in our epics are left open to interpretation and it is always refreshing to see someone go down an untraveled path while exercising their creativity The author, in the discussion, mentioned that a lot of details differ in editions including critical editions, and we just assume that the popular version is the correct one A few weeks back, I was in a discussion with author Krishna Udaysankar on BlogAdda s chat on mythological fiction In general, I am of the view that a lot of the happenings in our epics are left open to interpretation and it is always refreshing to see someone go down an untraveled path while exercising their creativity The author, in the discussion, mentioned that a lot of details differ in editions including critical editions, and we just assume that the popular version is the correct one I could not have agreed with the author Ms Krishna on this , and this perhaps is where the Krishna Udaysankar s trilogy Aryavarta Chronicles stands out A retelling of the Mahabharatha standing in a very stable way in a very new realm, including a fictitious plot point that mostly works, Aryavarta Chronicles is a wonderful journey from start to finish The focus of this post will essentially be on the third book of the trilogy Kurukshetra, but there will be references to the first two books Govinda and Kauravas in a few places in the post.For the fact that Mahabharata got me back to reading, I am usually keen on reading any interpretation of the epic that shows up Upon hearing about the Aryavarta Chronicles and the author and her credentials, I must say my interest was piqued With BlogAdda having this third book for review, it was no brainer for me to apply and ensure that I had read the first two books before the third one I was tempted to try this one as a standalone, but a friend mentioned that flow and the understanding of the characters would be better if I read the first two books More on this a little later in the post I got the first two books, and it formed an integral part of my mornings for six days when I read it on the bus my first time with continued reading on the bus.Among the retellings of the epic Mahabharatha, I was most fascinated by two books for two different reasons the character analysis in Irawati Karwe s Yuganta The End of an Epoch and general theme of M.T Vasudevan Nair s Bhima Lone Warrior though I am tempted to add Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik to the list I can safely say that the Aryavarta Chronicles is going to feature in this list A portrayal of the lesser known characters in a very new dimension, Kurukshetra starts at where Kauravas ended a hint of the declaration of a war between the cousins While many a version have written about the epic and the war in great depth, Krishna adds in a premise featuring a section of people called the Firewrights and a Secret Keeper The reasons for many happenings in the epic are attributed to the Firewrights, and this includes the occurences of events including Dharma marrying Panchali and the empire expansion with the annexure of many a kingdom in Aryavarta described in detail in Book 2 Who are the Firewrights, what do they want, what is their ancestry and why is that the First borns are involved in the occurences along with the Firewrights These are all the questions that Krishna tries to pose in the first two books and answer them mostly satisfactorily in the Kurukshetra The fact that the Firewright theory stemmed from one of the first few people of the Kaurava family is indeed interesting and I quite liked how the author blended the happening in the last year of the exile of Dharma and his brothers to this There were many thing that had the book going great for me Firstly, the writing The author takes into account the intelligence of the reader and leaves quite a few things open for interpretation or for the reader to figure out himself In an age, when story telling can mean jotting down a screenplay lazily, Krishna makes a wonderful effort to introduce elements into the story which have meaning much later in the story, and it is up to the reader to connect those Secondly, there was no God like stature to any of the characters, including Govinda For example, the fact that the shaming of Panchali did not have a divine angle to it made you sympathize with the character a lotIn addition, Govinda is shown as a selfish character for the most part and there is a reason to it , and this I guess makes the character a lotrelatable Thirdly, the main characters in this retelling included the characters that are mostly mentioned in the other versions to drive the story With Dhristadymna, Shikhandin, Ashwattama, Sanjaya, Vyasa Dwaipayana, and Suka, forming a major chunk of the characters on who the story is focused on, it is refreshing to see the author not adopting the safe route for the epic Even though a lot of the other characters including Pritha Kunthi , Gandhaari, and Dhritarashtra, do not get enough screen time in the book, it doesn t seem to affect the premise Twothings that I loved about the book were the innocent romance that Abhimanyu and Uttara had in the first part of the book including the days leading up to the war I would definitely love to read a short piece by the author solely focusing on these two characters One reason, she did not take Uttara s love for Abhimanyu granted and two, Abhimanyu s dignified and perhaps awkward behavior The second thing was that in the book and in the trilogy , a different side of Syoddhan is shown One, he is not shown on the arrogant and angry cousin of Dharma Two, his reason to declare a war of Dharma and his brothers is not for the kingdom as such I would love to dwell on this for longer, but it would mean posting spoilers A couple of things that did not work for me in the third book was the identity of the secret keeper and in general, the lack of emphasis of the Firewrights I was able to identify who the current secret keeper was in the first few pages of the book and perhaps that made me a little disappointed because I was waiting for the author to spring up a surprise and prove me wrong Firewrights have been an intergral part of this trilogy with a major part of the second book focusing on the happenings involving them Perhaps the author intended the third book to focus on the war , and considering that the war was a result of the action of Firewrights, it is justified A few minor typos, which do not matter in the larger scheme of things, could be corrected in the subsequent editions How does this book stand by itself and how is it as a part of the trilogy I can safely say that for an enhanced reading experience and better background of the characters, especially considering the characters the author focuses on, the book is better read a trilogy However, as a standalone too, the book is able to speak for itself, and the author provides sufficient background on a few of the key happenings the reader would need to know or remember from the first two book.Overall, with some good writing which wonderfully compliments the reader s intelligence, Kurukshetra and overall the Aryavarta Chronicles is a winner I would love to see how Krishna Udaysankar s next book turns out to be And the TV show on this trilogy This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers Participate now to get free books Kurukshetra is an eye opening version of the Mahabharata as a whole Amazingly imagerized,this narrative differentiates between the ideal way of life and our true lifestyle It tells us how god created us with a purpose and how we are exploiting our own selves by doubting our skills and the goodness of the people around us We refuse to see the potential within us and blame the cause of our failure over the ones who truly seek to gleam through our success stories It shows us that divinity could Kurukshetra is an eye opening version of the Mahabharata as a whole Amazingly imagerized,this narrative differentiates between the ideal way of life and our true lifestyle It tells us how god created us with a purpose and how we are exploiting our own selves by doubting our skills and the goodness of the people around us We refuse to see the potential within us and blame the cause of our failure over the ones who truly seek to gleam through our success stories It shows us that divinity could be no better than blasphemy if the inner self is not endured.The author very realistically describes each and every incident taking place during the great war showing that the character who has been evil to the world ever since was not actually bad at heart but situations made him such and wronged his character There was such a charm in the author s writing which literally left me open mouthed She brought life to the epic She gave a scientific explanation to each and every aspect of the war which I could not even imagine had a reason in beyond the fantasies as a mere example the astra weapons used.All in all I am completely awe struck by the author s writings especially the Aryavarta Chronicles which inspire us to bring an optimistic change in our lifestyle and have an opinion on social issues because our perspective matters a lot because it is a way to explore the inner self War is upon the realm, but is Aryavarta prepared for what will follow As a bitter struggle begins to gain control of the divided empire that was once Aryavarta, Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa of the Firstborn and the Secret Keeper of the Firewrights can only watch as their own blood, their kin, savage and kill on the fields of Kurukshetra Restraint and reason have deserted the rulers who once protected the land and they manipulate, scheme and kill with abandon for victory is all that matters At the heart of the storm stands Govinda Shauri, driven by fickle allies and failed kings, to the very brink of darkness Reforging the forsaken realm in the fire of his apocalyptic wrath, he is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of them all for the sake of one last hope that humanity will rise, that there will be revolution The spectacular, entrancing final episode of The Aryavarta Chronicles recreates the world of the Mahabharata with formidable power and imagination The entire play between characters, the presentation of the women, the love stories, the behaviour of both the good and the bad characters just does not ring true I have read some aspects of the Vedic period culture, and when I keep that in mind, this is elevated even further The story seems post modern in everything, but told in an ancient setting The behaviour, the norms of the society, all are instantly identifiable and recognizable as modern, right till the last character The interpretat The entire play between characters, the presentation of the women, the love stories, the behaviour of both the good and the bad characters just does not ring true I have read some aspects of the Vedic period culture, and when I keep that in mind, this is elevated even further The story seems post modern in everything, but told in an ancient setting The behaviour, the norms of the society, all are instantly identifiable and recognizable as modern, right till the last character The interpretation of ancient events is attempted from a modern time frame, not in the setting in which these happened The entire sequence of events just does not click But, if you can rise above these inconsistencies, then this is a really good piece of fiction The story is fast moving and told at a frenetic pace the plot is exciting and contrived, albeit inspired by The Mahabharat The characterisation is slightly minimalist, but that is only to be expected in a work of this scale and scope, spanning generations and dozens of characters And, the icing on the cake the level of complexity is far greater than most books in the fiction genre My rating zero stars as a retelling of The Mahabharat, and 5 stars as a work of pure fiction The secret to building a city, a citadel anything really, is to keep the foundations complex but the structures simple This is the quote from this book and Krishna Udayashankar did exactly that Following the epic Mahabharata, the author gave a whole new perspective to the story She forgot Gods, threw out magic and painted the Mahabharata in mundane human life There was no magic Everything was science Every action had meaning Even the irrelevance of certain characters in the original epic The secret to building a city, a citadel anything really, is to keep the foundations complex but the structures simple This is the quote from this book and Krishna Udayashankar did exactly that Following the epic Mahabharata, the author gave a whole new perspective to the story She forgot Gods, threw out magic and painted the Mahabharata in mundane human life There was no magic Everything was science Every action had meaning Even the irrelevance of certain characters in the original epic is beautifully handled here I liked the book for its detailing, its philosophical banter, its scientific explanation and finally its epic ending I admit that I found the book dragging at places But what kept me going was my curiosity As to how the author will handle certain instances in the original epic I was rarely disappointed She did justice to every characters, every instances and managed to bring through some political intrigue also She was never parsimonious in her imaginations She used to its full extent in the narrative Her telling is a refulgent retelling of the story Those who likes the epic will find this book enjoyable To put it in one word would be difficult but then the fact remains that a mytho historical fiction had never been dealt with such expertise and maturity and I doubt if it ever will be The Aryavarta Chronicles that began with Govinda proved to be something too far fetched an idea to carry on with and therefore gave rise to the doubt that the sequels will be disastrous in themselves But proving my doubts wrong, the author comes up with something that salive that anything mortal who can t To put it in one word would be difficult but then the fact remains that a mytho historical fiction had never been dealt with such expertise and maturity and I doubt if it ever will be The Aryavarta Chronicles that began with Govinda proved to be something too far fetched an idea to carry on with and therefore gave rise to the doubt that the sequels will be disastrous in themselves But proving my doubts wrong, the author comes up with something that salive that anything mortal who can think of Quoting Veda Vyasa from Brahmasutra Lokvattu leela kaivalyam ie God indulges in all temporal roles just to edify us humans and the author has proven so in her portrayal of Govinda.Mahabharat is a social treatise, a story of us all All of us are battling our respective Kurukshetra for the simple fight between right and wrong is a Kurukshetra So basically Mahabharata is nothing but the personified symbol of human life and the author has adeptly brought it forth

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