The Secret of the Nagas


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The Secret of the Nagas promptly takes off from the point where the story was stopped in The Immortals of Melluha. Sati, Shiva’s beloved wife, is attacked by one of the sinister Nagas. The novel begins with a fierce battle between Shiva and the Naga. As anyone would have guessed it, the Naga escapes, but not without giving Shiva enough reason to doubt the actual purpose of the Nagas.

Shiva is no longer the unsure nomad, but a confident man who completely realizes his responsibility. He’s now sure that the Chandravanshis are not evil, but people with different priorities. He has to avenge his friend Brahaspati’s murder, destroy evil and restore peace.

Shiva is happily married, Sati gives birth to a boy, Karthik; the uncomfortable romance between Anandmayi and Parvateshwar goes on blatantly, Ganesh is introduced and so is the facsimile character of Bappi Lahiri (yes, the ‘gold’en music director).

Along with all these interesting characters, Shiva’s journey into the world of Nagas and their kingdom begins. Now, the Nagas are all humans with physical abnormalities and have been abandoned by their own families. Their own place, Panchvati, is a guarded secret. Shiva soon realizes that the Nagas are not so serpentine and looks can be deceptive after all. However, there is a secret to be found.

Just like The Immortals of Melluha, this too has a few flaws. For example, after having listened to innumerable stories on Ganesha, Amish’s version doesn’t make much sense. Maybe to portray that character in a different manner was Amish’s intention, but one cannot connect with it.

Although the battle scenes are intricately explained, I couldn’t understand why Shiva had to “pirouette” all the time. Characters are “flabbergasted” whenever someone “whispers” something. It seems like the author simply loves to use these words again and again. If this is not it, the narrative gets too subjective sometimes. Instead of making the reader form his own opinion on the characters, setting, etc., the author himself thrusts his opinions on them, thereby making it too conspicuous. (“The buildings were superbly built”.) And what’s with the obsession with exclamation marks, I wonder. Sometimes there are two exclamation marks for the same phrase.

Nevertheless, the story gets interesting with each chapter. That’s the only savior. A subtle twist here and there, the pace with which the story moves forward and fine battle sequences make the novel strike a chord with the reader. But the (forced) twist that comes with the queen of Nagas is rather silly. It seemed like Amish desperately wanted to give a twist. But if these things can be overlooked, it’s definitely a good read.

All in all, it’s just a mediocre book. It doesn’t live up to the hype it has created. The idea is great, the imagination is marvelous, but everything is poorly executed. With all the action in a wonderland, there is so much scope to make it a compelling read. Unfortunately it’s presented in an ordinary way. It moves with rattling pace, though, and maybe that saves the day. At least it can be finished soon.

The novel again stops at a very interesting point, thereby infusing enough curiosity towards the final installment, The Oath of Vayuputras. I sincerely hope the author comes up with a rather amusing way to tell the story.

The Secret of the Nagas: The second book of the Shiva Trilogy

My Rating: 2/5

Publisher: Westland

Pages: 384


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Immortals of Meluha


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It’s been quite a while since I wanted to read this. Thanks to BlogAdda, I could finally do it. Everything related to the book – the impressive jacket, Lord Shiva as the central character, treating him as a mortal with flesh and blood – makes anyone eager to read it. Needless to say, I was one of them.

The novel sets the pace right from the first page. The protagonist, Shiva, is introduced in the very first sentence. By the end of the first chapter, you are already hooked beyond means. The story moves with a tremendous pace, the battle scenes are breathtakingly explained and ends with what feels like a tap on the head.

It is 1900 B.C. And Shiva is the chief of Gunas, a mountain tribe, which is always at loggerheads with another tribe, Prakritis. Nandi, a captain who is sent by King Daksha of Melluha, invites Shiva and his tribe to join them, promising that their land is much better than every other land in India. Fed up of Prakritis and their obstinacy, Shiva agrees to go to Melluha, the land of Suryavanshis.

On his arrival, Shiva and his tribe are given Somras, a sort of elixir, to decontaminate them. Shiva’s frost-bitten toe is fixed, his dislocated shoulder is fixed, and mainly, his throat turns blue in colour, making him the Neelkanth. Everyone is stunned. Reason: a legend that everybody believed in, has come true. Neelkanth, the lord who is not from Sapt Sindhu, will come and restore peace in Melluha by destroying the evil; the evil being the Chandravanshis in Swadeep.

He is soon taken to the King and introduced. The legend is explained to him. He is supposed to complete Lord Ram’s unfinished task. Although he doesn’t believe in any of this, he nevertheless goes with the flow.

The story from this point onwards goes on smoothly, with Shiva falling in love with Sati – the daughter of King Daksha, terrorists attacking Melluha and Shiva standing up to the people, marrying Sati, and up to the point where many innocent people get killed in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Mount Mandar. Finally, the war between Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis is on.

Imagination is one of the most important aspects for a writer. And Amish certainly deserves a round of applause for coming up with something very innovative. Imagining Shiva as an ordinary man with extraordinary physical and mental strength becoming God through his Karma, is splendid.

However, the novel is not without a few flaws. One of the major drawbacks is characterization. Although Shiva is the central character, I couldn’t care much about him and the legend that surrounds him. Characterization, I believe, is the backbone of a story. You neither feel sad when he is vulnerable nor feel happy when he battles the wrongdoers. None of the characters make an impact.

Some sequences are too filmy and flimsy. Till the end of the novel Shiva is praised and complimented by almost everyone, and every time he either blushes or shows too much modesty. The obvious is always spoken. Subtlety is what is missing. None of the characters miss the opportunity to praise him. They laugh at every PJ he cracks. They say “Brilliant” for everything he says. Creating gravity is fine, but where it should have been shown, it’s brazenly told. OK, he is The Neelkanth. We get that. But it seems like the author is forcing the reader to consider it seriously. This continues throughout the novel.

Thirdly, the dialogues. Listening to the dialogues, or perhaps reading them, I felt like I was reading the story of Shiva set in the present day. Apart from “My lord”, the rest all almost seem like college lingo. This is the reason it doesn’t transport the reader to 1900 B.C. The ambience of that time, that generation is not felt.

Although the novel doesn’t live up to the hype it has created, it’s still a good book written with love. Unfortunately, that love is too conspicuous. The narrative gets subjective, is what I mean.

There is, however, a subtle message in the story. The concluding chapter brings up many prominent questions. The answers, I believe, is left to us to figure out. It ends with a very interesting note. The subtle twist and the message in the end leave you yearning for more.

It’s certainly worth reading. It’s so much better than many other Indian novels that are hitting the market these days. Hope the sequel, The Secret of the Nagas, is as interesting as this one.

Immortals of Melluha: The first book of the Shiva Trilogy

My Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher: Westland

Pages: 397


This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

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