Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish

Book: The Oath of the Vayuputras

Author: Amish

No. of Pages: 575

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Westland Publications

Reading a trilogy as and when it gets published is painful … simply because of the waiting time in between. I prefer to read trilogies if I can buy the 3 parts together. Came across Meluha at a friend's place and read it. Liked it and realized it was a trilogy. Waited for the second one to come out and read that too … happy that the author did not disappoint.

The wait for the 3rd and final installment has been a long one and once the book got published, the reviews online and those from my close friend were not exactly exciting. So that created the dilemma of 'to read or not to read'. Not reading would like akin to leaving a book without completing it. On the other hand, reading may most possibly lead to disappointment.

Remember the dialogue from The Dark Knight – "you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villian"; well, a similar philosophy seemed to guide the climax of the trilogy; where the great Good is turning out to be the Great Evil. It is a difficult to digest at first but gradually it becomes clear. The first 100 odd pages of the book seemingly explain a lot about the Great Good and how it is slowly becoming the Great Evil and its effects on people and how things are tied together in cause-effect loops and counter-loops.

The 3rd episode of the trilogy is nothing but realization of the great evil and a war against it as well as the mastermind behind the forces against the Neelkantha. A very long and a very slow novel spanning 575 pages has very little happening across its pages and often I felt like giving it a 'speed read' treatment.

There is one reason the book appeared slower than it actually is … the era of the story and their travel means. Since the war is being fought across the country and in that era, travelling across the country took several months, so the war was also spread across years and any strategy would also be spread across years. A simple decision like putting up a notice across the country on the same day had to be implemented after a year for the simple reason of ensuring the message reached across the country and the army also travelled across the country in that time.

It was interesting to read about the war efforts and practical interpretation of the Astras; with the Brahmastra as Nuclear Bomb.

A few things were disturbing though. One – referring to the country as India again and again in the novel, a name that has originated only a couple of centuries ago when the British came to India and named the country so. Second is usage of language and idioms of the modern era; especially those inspired by the American lingo. Shiva using a word like 'crap' definitely did not go down with me … not because he is divine; but because crap is not a word we have used in India until recently. We have been introduced to this word by American movies and TV series in the past 2 decades. These glaring language slips make for uncomfortable reading and take away the charm of reading a period novel.
And yes ... What exactly was the 'oath of the Vayuputras' ??? I somehow missed it.
I also completely missed the point behind an entire chapter near the end of the book. The chapter was titled a Banyan Tree or something ... and it went way over my head. I am sure there was some subtle message which Amish wanted to convey ... which I completely missed.

I wish Amish had more 'story and plot twists' in the 575 pages rather than detailed description of war efforts and the routes taken across rivers and the war scene descriptions. Some of the war scenes and duels are described well and maked for interesting reading … BUT I would have still preferred this novel to be wrapped up in around 300-350 pages without losing the storyline. 

So what's the verdict? Can't really say I liked it, can't say I did not.

I had read the first 2 parts of the trilogy and reading the 3rd one was a compulsion otherwise it would be akin to leaving a novel mid-way; which I don't really do. If you have read the first 2 parts, you have to read this one too. If you haven't read the first 2 parts, I would readily recommend them to you and then you would have to read this too. So, either ways, you can't escape reading this one; whether one likes it or not.
Just FYI - This review is not part of any book review program nor was the copy received from author/publisher. This book was on my reading list and i got this book as a gift from a new friend and colleague. Thanks Pramod for the beautiful and thoughtful gift !!

1 comment:

  1. the "oath" as per my understanding was to maintain the continuum... keep producing neelkanth at time to time so that the good and the evil are balanced ... the vayuputras I would assume as a mid-society who cares for both vishnu believers and shiv believers (Hanuman was said to be part of Shiva, and bhakt of Vishnu).
    My key takeaway was that there is nothing as good or evil, it's how we use (or abuse) a concept a good becomes evil and vice-versa.
    Yes, I agree, this was little slower and dry compared to prev ones.