Disclaimer: Forced review. The real one will happen later.
Ok. I hate Blogadda for doing this to me. It is like giving me a nice cup of steaming hot coffee and then asking me to gulp it down in one minute and tell them how it tasted. I burnt my tongue. Yeah.
I know, when I signed up for this Book Reviews thingy, I know that I agreed to the terms and conditions and that I must keep my word and finish the review within 7 days of receiving the book. But I think it is unfair to both the reader and the author if you have Blogadda breathing down your neck and nagging you with reminders (bordering threats: ‘ you won’t be selected next time’ ) asking you to review the book. I have half a mind to send a cheque for Rs.350 and tell them to go to hell and let me read and enjoy this book at my own pace. Being a Mahabarata junkie, this book is exactly what the doctor prescribed to help me get out of my reader’s block. But because of all that Blogadda pestering, I picked it up with the same resentment I used to pick up my civics text book a day before the social studies exam, and said to myself ‘Let’s get this damn thing done with’
Maybe because it is the third of the Trilogy and my OCD kept telling me that I should have read the first two books first, I found it a bit difficult to comfortably settle into the book. And then, I found it difficult to relate to familiar characters with new names and worse, characters with surnames. Sanjaya Galvwhatever, Govinda Shauri, Partha, Pritha… It bugged me like anything. And don’t even get me started on the yog names like Dron and Dhrishtaydymn. Call him Drona in English ya. And then things like Secret Keepers and Firewrights and such felt very fantasy fiction types and it didn’t make things any better for me. Ok. But these are just the small things. Not important. After awhile, it got better and the pace picked up.
I loved the Abhimanyu-Uttara part, it was so, for the lack of a more descriptive word, cute ( and I mean cute in a good way). It makes me want to read a book solely from Abhimanyu’s point of view now. So was the role of Shikandin, a refreshing change after the recent Shikandhi book. Someone had recently coined the word Amished for this current trend of books that dumb down mythology. Thankfully, this book is totally the opposite of Amished. It makes you think and look at the epic through a totally different set of eyes. While the war is not exactly my favourite part of the Mahabarata, it has been an excellent read so far. No, I haven’t finished the book yet. What I’ve written so far are just a few thoughts based on what I’ve read until now. Maybe I’ll sit this weekend and finish it, maybe I won’t. This isn’t a book that can be read in one sitting or two. It is gripping, it is something that will keep you up all night. But I want to read it at my own pace, because this is the Mahabharata narrated in a way I’ve never read before. I don’t want to rush through it and skim past. I want to savour it and enjoy it. Bully me all you want, Blogadda. And I’m not applying for any more free phenyl from you after this.