Monday, August 20, 2012

Book (s) Review: The Mayan Trilogy by Steve Alten

The Mayan theme fascinated me. 2012 being predicted as the end of the world and this being 2012; I wanted to read more of Mayan related fiction. I saw the Mayan Prophecy at my dear friend Nikhil's home and grabbed it. After reading the Mayan Prophecy in May, I had ordered the other two books of the trilogy; reading them during July and August.

Each of the 3 novels span across 600+ pages and has a heady mix of mythology, time travel (time warps and worm holes), out-of-body experiences, history, technology, weapons of mass destruction, faith/cult/religion, global politics, past-present-future paradox, aliens, human evolution, fantasy and science fiction  

Mayan Prophecy begins with Michael, his background (parents, childhood and marriage), his schizophrenia and a new medical intern assigned to him culminating in Michael sacrificing himself and saving the world from total annihilation in 2012. The book introduces a lot of things and creates a mystery around them. A lot of questions are unanswered.

In Mayan Resurrection, the story shifts focus from Michael (who is lost in some parallel universe in a time warp or something) to his wife and his twin sons. The twins and another evil incarnate have a crucial role to play in human life sustenance and human evolution. The world is expected to go through another round of impending doom (this time pretty much certain end-of-the-world) and these 3 are supposed to play a role in survival of the species. Towards the end of the story, we also realize that the grand-children also make an appearance and are critical to the story / fate of the world / revolution / evolution etc … the child born from the union of one of Michael's son and evil incarnate lady.

Mayan Destiny is the culmination of the series with so many mysteries uncovered and the readers gets a much better understanding of what and how on so many things that have mystified them since Mayan Prophecy. The time warps, black holes and other cosmic entities become important to the history and geography of planet earth. The best part of the final episode of the trilogy is that halfway down the novel … the story ENDS ... and we are back to the point where the story BEGAN in Mayan Prophecy (the first of the trilogy).

The story kind of restarts with some new members added to the cast in an altered reality where the End of World events are to occur in 2012 (those which occurred in 2047 in the first half of the novel) and this time around there is help from the 'future (2047)'. It is a Déjà vu experience, reading the same story again with parts of it changed due to the new characters introduced.

There is strong characterization in each of the novels focusing on different shades of different characters. Each character has complex shades and they go through inner turmoil as well as external hardships; all through the story. Lives of key characters are full of trouble, pain, loneliness and they wish to break away from life as it is.

The most interesting character turns out to be Lilith (the so-called evil incarnate born on the same day as the twins who is a soul-mate for both and gets emotionally and physically involved with both brothers). There is a point in the story where she seems to have turned 'positive' and the son of Lilith and Jacob emerges as the evil incarnate. What is the truth though can be known only by reading, understanding and absorbing the entire trilogy.

The story moves a lot between past, present and future and also parts where the 3 of them or at least 2 of them converge. Time travel through wormholes and time warps enable the meeting of the different eras. There are a lot of mysteries and loose questions which burden the reader thro the story.

One drawback of the novels is that there are parts of the story (in book 1 and 2) which I personally felt acted as fillers or just to build up some sort of background. These were avoidable and would have made the novel slightly shorter.

With the time-travel twist and story shifting back to the starting point (in the third novel); it made for an interesting reading and kind of re-kindled the interest in the novel. Something difficult to sustain across 1800 pages …   

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